Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
June 4, 1861

Richmond Daily Dispatch
June 10, 1861

The war in Virginia.

Exciting Scenes in the West.

[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]

Centerville, Monroe County, Va., June 5, 1861.

The 3d and 4th days of June, 1861, will never be forgotten by the people of Monroe county until the last child now living shall have deceased to the grave.

The morning of the 3d of June dawned upon the busy multitudes engaged, as is their custom at this season of the year, in their industrial pursuits. Eleven o'clock had arrived; unless as the lightning's flash, all Centreville was aroused. Two messengers, with foaming and planting steeds, arrived, with intelligence that the Northern barbarians had crossed the Ohio river, and were moving up the Kanawha Valley. Instantly, parties of both old and young vied with each other in spreading far and wide the intelligence.

Various reports, apparently well authenticated, were received, to the effect that not only were Northern troops moving up the Kanawha Valley, but that an advance force had reached Fayette' Court-House, and also that a body of 1,200 mounted troops had entered the State near Wheeling, and laid in waste the towns of Suttonville and Summersville and were making their way to Lewisburg. Intelligence also reached this place about 12 o'clock at night, that 3,000 invaders were within twenty miles of Lewisburg.

Nothing can exceed the readiness with which the citizens of Monroe county responded to the call to arms. Hundreds and hundreds of her inhabitants, of all ages and sexes, were moving, some conveying the intelligence, some preparing arms and ammunition, while the ladies were preparing food and clothing for their husbands and sons.

Large volunteer companies, composed of men from over sixty to the mere stripling, thaw themselves together hastily, armed to the teeth, with every conceivable death-dealing implement, from the old huntsman's rifle to the dirk and spear, and left during the night for the scene of action. Orders were insured for the militia to arm themselves with soft and every available weapon, in the ab of the rifle, together with axes to fill ber {sic} in the mountain passes to impede the progress of the invaders.

The morning of the 4th of June saw all Monroe astir, men and women, old and infirm, many of whom had but seldom been from pre of late, were seen making their way to headquarters from every point of the compass they came. Crowd succeeding crowd, all crushing eagerly to the defence {sic} of their country, no one ever dreamed of the patriotic layer which manifested itself in the outburst of enthusiasm of the people of old Monroe this day.

The time for leaving had arrived, the line was formed, the men were generally armed with their trusty old rifles, a few with double-barreled shot guns, one man with a pitchfork a goodly number of bowie knives and revolvers were seen protruding from the bosoms of the brave soldiers. The field officers, in part, were in their saddles. "Mark time," was heard along the line. At this moment a large guerilla company returned with information that no enemy was approaching. The brigade dis-banded and returned to their homes. Many were evidently dissatisfied that they could not proceed.

Nearly all the men had left for their homes. Three o'clock had arrived, when suddenly in the distance was heard the roar of fire-arms, as though two armies were in deadly strife.

The sound was not that of the cannon, nor was it the sharp crack of the rifle. What was it? At this moment troops were seen descending the Garven Heights, firing salute after salute. It turned out to be a large force from the adjacent county of Mercer, who, on hearing of the reported invasion of Virginia soil, had seized their ounce-ball rifles, and hastened to the defence {sic} of their country, without stopping to get a change of clothes.--Some started from their corn fields, not waiting to take leave of their families.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: June 1861

West Virginia Archives and History