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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
May 1861


May 1
The Virginia State Convention adjourned until June 15.

Also, a Union meeting was held in Wetzel County.

May 2
A large "Southern flag, nine yards by fifteen," was erected at Red Sulphur Springs in Monroe County.

May 3
A Union meeting was held in Clarksburg at which Francis Pierpoint spoke for more than two hours. Following Pierpoint's speech, a series of resolutions supporting the Union were passed.

May 4
Union meetings were held at Kingwood (Preston County), Wheeling (Ohio County), and in Monongalia and Wayne counties.

Citizens in upper Kanawha County met at Clifton to form the Clifton Rangers for the defense of Virginia.

May 5

May 6
At a meeting held at the courthouse in Kanawha County, citizens approved resolutions in support of forming volunteer companies for defense.

A large Union gathering was held in Fairmont (Marion County) at which Ephraim B. Hall and John S. Burdette, delegates to the Virginia State Convention, spoke and during which a fight broke out between Unionist and secession men. Other Union meetings were held at Independence (Preston County) and Mason County.

May 7
A Union meeting was held in Marshall County.

May 8

May 9
On May 9, meetings were held in Hampshire and Jackson counties to select delegates for the convention in Wheeling.

Samuel Price, Allen Caperton and others addressed the citizens of Monroe County at the courthouse in Union.

May 10
The Rough and Ready Rifles, Capt. Britt, were sworn in in Ohio County.

Also, cattle and horses on the railroad were seized at Harpers Ferry by Gov. Letcher’s troops.

May 11
Wheeling citizens demonstrated for John Carlile, who gave a speech, and a Union meeting was held in Taylor County.

Men of the 76th Regiment in Monongalia County refused to muster under Gen. Burton Fairfax or Col. J. M. Heck, suspected secessionists.

Supporters of Virginia held a meeting at Skin Creek and organized a Home Guard company, a southern rights flag was raised at Chapmanville, and the volunteer cavalry company and Clifton Home Guard drilled in support of Virginia.

May 12

May 13
The First Wheeling Convention convened, and a flag raising was held in Wheeling. Another Union meeting was held in Tyler County.

The Greenbrier Rifles, led by Capt. Robert F. Dennis, left for Staunton.

At a meeting at Kanawha Courthouse, a resolution was passed requesting the county court to appropriate $10,000 to defend Virginia.

Pro-Union citizens in Berkeley County met in Martinsburg and nominated John Janney as a candidate for Congress.

May 14
John Carlile proposed creation of New Virginia at First Wheeling Convention.

May 15
The First Wheeling Convention voted the ordinance of secession unconstitutional, null, and void.

May 16
Spicer Patrick and other Kanawha County men issued a broadside calling on county voters to reject the Ordinance of Secession.

May 17

May 18
Union meetings were held in Wetzel and Monongalia counties.

May 19

May 20
State troops arriving at Clarksburg were met by Union militia and agreed to surrender their arms if the militia would not attack them.

A Mississippi regiment arrived in Harpers Ferry, adding to the Confederate troops already there.

The Fayette County Court appropriated $5,000 to outfit Confederate volunteers and provide aid to their families.

May 21

May 22
T. Bailey Brown of the Grafton Guard was killed at Fetterman.

The Central Committee appointed by the First Wheeling Convention issued a broadside addressing the people of North Western Virginia on the Ordinance of Secession and urging the people to send delegates to a convention in June to "secure the perpetuity of [Virginia's] Union with the United States."

May 23
The Ordinance of Secession was approved by the voters of Virginia.

Capt. Robert B. Moorman’s Cavalry corps left Lewisburg en route for Staunton to serve the Commonwealth of Virginia.

May 24
Union supporters destroyed the building and printing equipment of Parkersburg News, operated by secession supporter Charles Rhodes.

A Union meeting was held at Moundsville (Marshall County) at which resolutions urging the removal of certain B&O employees and the appointment of Union-supporting men were passed.

A Union flag raising ceremony was held in Hebron, Pleasants County,.

May 25
Two B&O bridges near Farmington were burned by Confederate troops.

A Union meeting was held at West Columbia in Mason County.

May 26
Gen. George McClellan issued a proclamation to the people of western Virginia, informing them that he has ordered Ohio troops to cross the river into Virginia and calling upon them to support the federal government.

Capt. Moorman's Cavalry, from Greenbrier County, arrived in Staunton.

May 27
In Glen Easton, a committee of five were appointed for the purpose of forcing area persons who had voted for the Ordinance of Secession to take an oath to support the United States constitution.

The Post Office Department discontinued postal service in states that had seceded from the United States. This decision was not intended to apply to counties in western Virginia that remained loyal to the Union.

May 28
Union supporters in Wayne County scheduled a mass meeting to nominate delegates to the Second Wheeling Convention.

May 29

May 30
Secessionist cannon were captured at Sistersville.

May 31
Pickets of the 14th Ohio Infantry captured three men who were attempting to burn a railroad bridge east of Parkersburg.

Undated Events, May 1861


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood

West Virginia Archives and History