July 25, 1861
Gen. Geo. B. McClellan and staff reached the city from Grafton, early yesterday morning.
Gen. McClellan was serenaded in front of the McLure House, and hundreds of people collected to see him. He was introduced by Governor Peirpoint amid demonstrations of applause. Gen. McClellan said he only appeared to thank the people for the good will which they had manifested for himself and his gallant soldiers in the execution of the duty assigned them. He said they had dispersed the enemy, and although he was called to another and more responsible field of action, able leaders and brave soldiers were left behind to protect the people from those who would crush them. This protection would be afforded until the people could organize, arm and protect themselves, which he knew they were abundantly able and willing to do.
Three cheers were given for Gen. McClellan. Major Oakes, being a looker on, was, very much to his astonishment, we thought, called upon for a speech; and the hallooing decisive and general, he had nothing to do but to respond, which he did, in a few appropriate words, urging a speedy and thorough military organization.
Gen. McClellan having retired into the parlor, was introduced to a large number of ladies and gentlemen. He left yesterday for Washington, by way of Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The following correspondence took place between the General and Mayor Sweeney:
WHEELING, July 24th, 1861.
Maj. Gen. Geo. B. McClellan, U. S. A.,
SIR – I have been very generally called upon by our citizens, to arrange upon their behalf some demonstration indicative of the high respect and honor in which they hold you.
Heartily concurring in their wish, I desire to consult your pleasure, whether you will accept a civic escort from your hotel to the depot of the C. & P. R. R.
I am very respectfully,
Your ob’t serv’t,
A. J. SWEENEY, Mayor.
WHEELING, VA., July 24th, 1861.
Hon. A. J. Sweeney, Mayor of Wheeling,
MY DEAR SIR – My movements are so uncertain, depending upon information I am expecting by telegraph, that I feel compelled to decline the compliment offered me.
I beg you to thank in my name the citizens of Wheeling for the proffered honor, an honor intended, I am sure, as much for the gallant troops lately under my command, as for myself.
I will carry with me into the new field of duty whither I have been summoned, the kindest feelings and highest respect for the loyal citizens of Western Virginia, among whom it has been my fortune to act.
With my warmest wishes for the prosperity of your city and of Western Virginia.
I am, Sir, with high regard,
Very truly yours,
GEO. B. MCCLELLAN,
Maj. Gen. U. S. A.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: July 1861