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


Wheeling Intelligencer
July 6, 1861

THE 4TH OF JULY. – The 4th of July passed off pleasantly and was universally observed. At an early hour the whole population was aroused by the booming of cannon, the firing of pistols, guns and all sorts of explosives. A battery was planted on the hill east of the city, from which charges were fired in quick succession until a late hour in the day. The reports from this battery and other pieces in the vicinity were promptly answered from the neighboring towns in Ohio.

The military turned out in the morning and made a very creditable display, but as soldiering has become such a matter of course in these troublous times, less attention was attracted than usual upon such occasions.

In the evening many beautiful displays of pyrotecnics were seen in different parts of the city, during which the streets were thronged with merry, chatty people.

There were so many picnics and excursions in the country that we cannot name them all. The Hempfield railroad and the groves along its line, were alive with gaily dressed children and pleasant picnickers of all ages who spent the day in the varied and delightful manner with which all such parties, determined to enjoy themselves, are so familiar.

At Mrs. Stella’s Grove, not far from Elm Grove Station, on the Hempfield, there was a flag presentation to a company of Home Guards. Rev. Mr. Milligan made the presentation speech. Speeches were also made by Speaker Frost and Messrs Crane and Harrison of the Legislature.

The Germans had an old fashioned picnic at a Grove on Mrs. Cruger’s place and a realy jolly German time they had of it, indulging with spirit in all the hearty amusements which they know so well how to invent and enjoy.


Wheeling Intelligencer
July 8, 1861

Celebration at Moundsville.

The 85th Anniversary of American Independence, was celebrated with unusual ardor by the citizens of Marshall county. Never, since the organization of the county, has there been such a patriotic demonstration. The citizens of Moundsville, vieing with each other to do honor to the occasion and justice to their invited guests, displayed scarcely more zeal than their neighbors from the country. It was a day long to be remembered, and spoke more eloquently and impressively than aught else, that the Declaration of Independence, on the Fourth of July, 1776, could never be blotted from the hearts and memory of the American people. However much patricidal calamity may defame; however much treason may flaunt its blag flag; however much secession may for a time obscure, one living truth is ever manifest – the Fourth of July will never cease to be celebrated, so long as Freedom has a home, and Liberty an abiding place.

The ceremonies at Moundsville were classified. The Sabbath School children, with their Superintendents and teachers, marched to the beautiful grove so well known as the “Camp Meeting Ground.” The procession, headed by Capt. Purdy’s new company of Virginia Volunteer Militia, marched from the church to the grove, about 10 o’clock. The printed programme indicated the order of exercises, but not having a copy at hand, we will omit details.

Prayer and opening remarks were made by Rev. Mr. ___.

These exercises varied between brief addresses, &c. The large assemblage then dismissed for dinner, and, it must be admitted, the renewed evidence of the hospitable generosity of the people of Moundsville, speaks most highly for their activity, devotion and earnest attention to the wants of soldiers and visiting strangers. Ample provision was made for double the number who partook of the well spread board.

Dinner over, and the Declaration of Independence read by Joseph McClear, Esq., the orator of the day, in the person of our late Representative in Congress, Hon. Sherrard Clemens, was introduced, and for more than an hour riveted the attention of his audience by one of his graceful, eloquent and admirable speeches. Mr. Clemens has hosts of admirers in Marshall, and his effort on Thursday contributed not a little to swell the number. His address – more properly a political speech than a spread-eagle fourth of July oration – was a well-timed, historical and explanatory discourse on the rise, progress, and destiny of the United States. He clearly defined the condition of the thirteen Confederate States when they came out of the revolution – weak, shaken, and almost on the verge of ruin – the statesmen and warriors who had achieved an independence, disheartened at the prospect, and almost despairing of success in the establishment of a free government. The old corporation, always wrong and inefficient, had only been kept together by the outside pressure of a common enemy with whom they were at war. This remained; they were rapidly falling to pieces, when the Fathers of the Republic determined to put forth a strong effort in the Convention of 1787. This Convention gave us the Constitution under which we now rally, and under which treason will be crushed from the land. – This portion of Mr. Clemens’ address was particularly interesting and valuable. He rapidly came down to our own time, and gave us a succinct view of the famous, or rather infamous Convention at Richmond. This sketch was graphic in the extreme, and exhibited the workings in and out of the Convention, in all their attrocity [sic]. The prominent Union men were compelled to run a gauntlet more trying and full of danger than the borderer along the Virginia frontier in the days of our early settlement, when every wood and brook was crimsoned with the tide of Indian warfare. The picture of Virginia Secessionists was drawn by a master hand. The Governor, ex-Secretary Generalisimo J. B. Floyd, were literally scathed. Hon. Jacob Thompson ex-Secretary of Interior, was not overlooked. The “Old Public Functionary” – the incorrigible and incorruptible “J. B.” was not forgotten. The orator hoped they would forgive him for having voted for one so unworthy his support. He was disposed to ascribe all his failings to one huge sin – that of Bachelorhood. This accounts for his want of back bone. No man who was a bachelor was fit to be trusted in the Presidential chair! Lay that to your hearts and answer, old Bachs, and ponder on it!

His closing remarks to the Volunteer company, just about to depart for the seat of war, was exceedingly felicitous, but time admonishes us to be brief.

Following Mr. Clemens, came R. G. Holliday, Esq., who spoke with great energy and emotion on the wo[e]ful condition of our blessed country. His remarks elicited earnest attention. We regret our limits will preclude a more general report. In closing, he presented a stand of colors to Captain Purdy’s company, the Carlile Guards. – These were happily conceived and forcibly uttered. He counseled them to march to victory or death under that banner. Like the Roman Matron, he would have them return with their shield, or upon it.

Next on the programme was J. W. McCarriher, Esq., but there being a stranger present, the gentleman gave way in a handsome and graceful introduction of Mr. Woodruff, a member of the Ohio 20th regiment. This gentleman had addressed the citizens on a former occasion, at a Pic Nic, given Capt. Rigby’s company, O. V. M. He is a ready and happy speaker, and his remarks elicited rapturous applause. He discussed generally, the great issue now distracting the country; spoke of Virginia’s position; the loyalty of Western Virginia; the chivalry of the people; the strong arm of the government to crush out rebellion, &c. But our limits forbid a more extended notice. This young gentleman has commended himself to the people by his zeal and devotion, and we shall look for some good account of him on the tented field. – We trust that he may not realize that the

“Path of glory leads but to the grave.”

Mr. Woodruff having concluded, Mr. McCarriher was invited by the committee to resume his place and address the audience, many of whom had gone to the ground to the ground [sic] to hear him. He assented, and for more than an hour spoke in the most earnest and argument[at]ive manner. It was the first time we had listened to Mr. McCarriher, and this speech satisfied us he was a man who would make his mark in any position he might be placed. His speech was fraught with valuable historical, statistical and political information. He had certainly well studied the absorbing issues now agitating the country. He sketched with greatelearness and effect the rise of the Republic – the cause which led our fathers of the revolution to strike for freedom, and in a parallel demonstrated than an equally powerful impulse of freedom had formed the movement among our people, in behalf of popular rights and civil liberty.

Secession was shown up in all its hideous forms, and the mask torn from the traitors by whose machinations the fairest portions of our State have been desolated, the homes of our people laid waste, the fields ready for the reaper trodden down by the movements of armies, and a living paradise fast being converted into cheerless ruin, destitution and death.

Rebels and their abetters found no mercy at the hands of the speaker. Mr. McCarriher is one of the original Union men of Marshall county, and a firmer or more valiant advocate of the cause of patriotism does not live. He has stood up when a less active course would have better subserved his interests. It were well that we had more such sterling Union men among those whose voices can be heard from the stump. If Western Virginia is to be thoroughly revolutionized, and the act of separation consummated, it can only be done by rousing the people from the stump, and through the press.

Mr. McCariher’s speech closed the exercises of the day.


Fourth of July at West Liberty.

The day came in auspiciously. Not a cloud visible in the heavens. Coming down Broadway this morning, we were hailed from several localities, (several here means seven,) “Where are you going to put in the day?” “Better go to the Union pic-nic near Wellsburgh.” “Better go to our Sabbath School pic-nic in Mr. Powers’ grove.” “They are going to have a pic-nic and dance near Bethany, better go there.” So thinking if we did not “put in the day,” we might get an opportunity, about midday, to put in some of the “fat things” prepared by the good people of West Liberty, we concluded to go to “our Sabbath School pic-nic.” Two hundred scholars, with their teachers, assembled at the brick church on Main street, where, after singing,

“My country! ‘tis to thee,
Sweet land of liberty,” &c.,

also listening to some music from the celebrated brass band, under the charge of Mr. Maxwell, the programme was read and the procession formed.

The band took the lead, followed by the ensign bearing the “stars and stripes,” then, in order, the classes, accompanied by their teachers. The procession moved up Main street and down Broadway to the grove, a half mile distant. Performances were opened with prayer by Rev. Williamson, then reading of the Declaration of Independence by James Sharp; followed by a beautiful and appropriate address by Prof. A. Smiley, in which he referred to the pilgrim fathers embarking in the Mayflower, an unsafe vessel, forsaking the land of their birth, exposing themselves to the dangers of an uncertain voyage, in sterile winter for the sake of religious freedom – that they might maintain those principles of belief they held to be true and sacred – and referred to the influence and power of music upon individuals and nations – detailed the origin and influence of national hymns, tunes and anthems, referring especially to those with which we are most familiar, such as the “Switzer’s song of Home,” the “Marsellaise Hymn,” Scotland’s “Annie Laurie,” and our own “Hail Columbia,” “Star Spangled Banner,” and lively “Yankee Doodle.”

He also referred to the strength and development of our nation, now compared with it in the days of ’76, portraying all in the most fascinating and tastefully decorated coloring, closing with the sentiment, that though the sound of our anthems and tunes are enchanting, by bringing home recollections dear to every American heart, still it is essentially necessary that we give God the entire praise, else we would be unworthy the birthright of a free people.

He was followed by a very eloquent address, by Rev. Williamson, on the power and influence of the press in the diffusion of literature and knowledge through the minds of the people, the usefulness of Sabbath Schools, the good that Sabbath School publications have done, the amount of religious publications that have been eagerly read throughout the world, the result of the establishment of Sabbath Schools, and the number of conversions to which it has led, indicating the blessing of God upon the efforts every where put forth in behalf of Sabbath Schools and concluded by saying: “May God continue to bless the press, and the books, and the Sabbath School, and the children, and the parents who send them there.”

In the cool of the evening, feeling benefitted and delighted with the intellectual feast, and the enjoyment of breathing pure atmosphere in the refreshing grove, all left for their respective homes.


Wheeling Intelligencer
July 9, 1861

The Fourth at Cameron.
CAMERON, July 5th, 1861.

Messrs. Editors: Had not the affected patriotism of demagogues, to a great extent usurped the place of the genuine, a few tories would not have dared to lift their hands against the noble fabric of our fathers.

The uprising of the loyal States against rebellion has given evidence that true love of country was only sleeping – not dead. But a further evidence of reviving patriotism will be looked for in a universal, hearty and spirited celebration of the nation’s birth-day. And as Western Virginia is now “the observed of all observers,” I hope we shall be able to give a good account of ourselves.

The observance of the day here was in every way creditable. At a few minutes before ten o’clock, the procession formed and marched to a pleasant grove a short distance from town. A table, rostrum, and seats had been prepared on the previous day. The exercises were commenced with the singing of a national hymn, followed by prayer. The Declaration of Independence was read, patriotic songs were sung at suitable intervals, and appropriate and animated addresses were delivered. – A sumptuous dinner was prepared by the ladies, and although at first only intended for Capt. Fry’s company, which has been stationed here for two or three weeks, such was the abundance of good things that all, I believe, were served.

The reading of toasts, saluted by Capt. Fry’s company and a miniature cannon, together with cheers for the ladies and others, closed the exercises of the day.

Good order and good feeling prevailed, and all returned to their homes well pleased with themselves and their country.

For the good order of the day, doubtless much was owing to the fact that the drinking places were generally, if not entirely closed.


The Fourth at Phillippi.
CAMP NEAR PHILLIPPI
July 5, 1861

Messrs. Editors:

Yesterday was perhaps the most interesting and thrilling Fourth ever celebrated in the mountains of Western Virginia. At sunrise we were awakened from our slumbers by the sharp, thundering reports of 34 guns, rolling echoing and re-echoing over hill and dale, producing an electrical effect upon our boys, and inspiring them with enthusiasm and patriotic devotion. – Every countenance portrayed clearly a spirit of determination to preserve inviolate this great government, and to hurl the damnable usurpers and traitors who have dared to raise their unholy hands against it into the dark sea of oblivion, so deep that not a bubble will rise to the surface to mark the spot where they so ignominiously went down – The entire camp was alive with enthusiasm. The boys dancing, singing, speaking, cheering, running and indulging in almost every imaginable variety amusements. The Indiana boys, who are camped on a little peak at the entrance to our camp, planted a nice little pole, hoisted the stars and stripes, and as its ample folds floated to the breeze one great shout rent the air, after which nine hearty cheers were given, and as they cheered danced around the pole in a circle, throwing their hats into the air in wild enthusiasm. One of the editors of the Cincinnati Times being present was called for and responded in a neat and appropriate little address, after which the choir, led by S. K. Stephens, formerly of Wheeling, sang a very appropriate national air.

At eleven o’clock the signal gun was fired, announcing the hour for preparation for the review and celebration. The call rolls were beaten; companies and battallions formed, and in a few minutes the parade ground was covered by companies marching and counter-marching and filing into position. The 1st Virginia Regiment was honored by the right and front position in the column. Our boys acquitted themselves admirably, and remarkably well, having received a new outfit of clothing the previous evening. After Gen. Morris and staff had reviewed the troops, Lieut. Col. Hubbard was called to preside. Before taking his seat he made a few remarks and thanked them for the honor they had conferred upon him. A prayer was offered for the troops, their cause and their country, by the Rev. Gurney, chapl[a]in of the Indiana 9th. At the close of the prayer, the choir sung the star-spangled banner, the whole brigade joining in the chorus. The Declaration of Independence was then read by a private of the Ohio 1st Artillery. Lieut. Col. Este, of the Ohio 14th, delivered an oration, which was clear, pointed, and appropriate. The choir sung the Red, White and Blue, the brigade joining in the chorus. The band played the same piece. Benediction was pronounced and the brigade dismissed, which was truly a beautiful sight, some 10 companies marching and counter-marching upon the field at one time with glisteneing bayonets and floating banners.

About 3 o’clock P. M. the Ohio 6th passed here into Phillippi, where they are now quartered.

At sunset several balloons and rockets were sent up by the Indiana boys, which created considerable excitement among them. Quite a number of our Wheeling friends celebrated the fourth with us, among them I noticed Geo. W. Harrison, Mr. Parker and Wilson Holliday. I have just learned that the last named gentleman has been appointed our Regimental Wagon Master. Phillippi, with the exception of our troop is almost deserted, only three families having as yet returned, among them is Mr. Wilson and family, one of the most influential families in Barbour county. They seem to be particular favorites with our officers, and have been honored by calls from nearly all our leading officers. Yesterday evening they were serenaded by the band of the Indiana 9th, who were presented with a beautiful bo[u]quet by Miss Lizzie Wilson, only daughter. We had quite an exciting time here on Wednesday morning about eleven o’clock. The alarm roll was beat, and such running and scampering and getting late quarters, I never witnessed, in less than ten minutes our entire force was equip[p]ed, guns loaded and ready for marching orders, and were just on the eve of moving forward, when it was discovered that the alarm had been false. The whole history of the affair is just this. The time appointed by General Morris for the Picket Guards to shoot our their loads, is between eleven and twelve o’clock, A. M. Col. Crittenden had taken his men out the road to shoot their loads off. Some stray bullets happened to light near our camp and hence the alarm. Our boys were pleased with the prospect of a fight, but were much disappointed when the mistake was discovered. Well, they may yet be gratified, and that, too, before long. This afternoon some of our scouting parties were out and captured two secession officers in full regimentals, armed and equipped. It appears they had just returned from the rebel army to visit some friends about three miles from here. The fact was made known to our scouts, who happened to be near at the time, by parties who had seen them enter the house. Our men immediately surrounded, disarmed and brought them into head quarters, where they were taken charge of.

Our boys are doing fine, and on an average are perhaps the healthiest boys in camp. Our worthy Assistant Quartermaster, Thomas Singleton, I am glad to inform you, has now taken up quarters here, and will remain with us permanently. He certainly deserves much credit for the untiring energy and persevering efforts to supply and make us comfortable. He is the right man in the right place.

Capt. Geo. W. Norton, of Wheeling, has just arrived and presented Dr. Thoburn with a sword, belt and hat in behalf of his friends at Wheeling

Yours, &c., A. K.


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

West Virginia Archives and History