June 19, 1861
EXCURSION TO BELLAIR AND BENWOOD. - The members of the Convention now in session here, left in a special train yesterday afternoon, from the Baltimore & Ohio depot, and made an excursion to Benwood and Bellair to see the soldiers. The excursion crossed over to Bellair where they witnessed a dress parade of the 19th regiment, and after seeing the sights returned to this side, where the 17th formed in line for parade. After the parade Col. Connel brought his men up to where the members of the Convention were collected, and John S. Carlile being introduced was most enthusiastically cheered by the soldiers and citizens. Mr. Carlile responded in a patriotic speech, welcoming the soldiers to the Old Dominion, and assuring them that notwithstanding the conspiracy of the traitors in the Eastern part of the State the great heart of the people of the once proud old Commonwealth was yet true and loyal. Mr. Carlile, in concluding announced that most of the members of the Convention were present, and many of them would no doubt be pleased to join him in giving the soldiers welcome.
The Hon. Sherrard Clemens was then introduced, and was received with cheers. - Mr. C. spoke with a great deal of energy, and his remarks, brief as they were, strongly tested his physical strength. He told the soldiers that they came as deliverers, and would be welcomed by every loyal heart in the State. In speaking of the rebellion in the Eastern part of the State, he said the people over there were like potatoes, the best part under ground. He struck old Wise with a great deal of bitterness, and was most loudly applauded.
Messrs. Campbell Tarr and J. D. Nicholls were introduced, and welcomed the soldiers into Virginia.
Col. Connell, of the 17th, who had been listening with great interest to the speakers, was called upon by some members of the Convention. He seemed very much surprised, but the call being repeated, he came forward, and it was some time before the wild demonstrations of his men allowed him to be heard. He said he didn't come to talk - he came to act - but would say on behalf of a thousand as good and true men as ever left Ohio, that they were truly thankful for the welcome. - Nearly all of these men, he said, left occupations respectable and remunerative, in response to their country's call, and were willing to follow the flag to the death. - The citizens then gave three cheers for the Ohio volunteers and Col. Connell, and the excursion train sounding her whistle, the Convention got aboard, and were soon back to the city.
The steamer J. B. Ford, also made an excursion to Bellaire, carrying a large number of passengers, many of whom were ladies.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: June 1861