Series 1, Volume 5, pp. 845-846
SEPTEMBER 10, 1861. To His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, President of the Confederate States of America: The undersigned, citizens of Hardy County, Virginia, desire to call your attention to the exposed and suffering condition of our county. We have been invaded for the past two months by Northern thieves. Our houses have been forcibly entered and robbed. Our horses, cattle, and sheep in large numbers driven off. Our citizens arrested, carried off, and confined, only because they are loyal citizens of Virginia and the Southern Confederacy. Our cattle, sheep, and horses, to the amount of $30,000, have been forcibly taken from us and appropriated to the support of the Army of the United States.
Our county, unfortunately, is divided, the western portion being disloyal. The Union men, as they call themselves, have called upon Lincoln for protection. He, in answer to their call, has sent amongst us a set of base characters, who not only protect the Union men, but under their guidance are committing acts unheard of in any country claiming civilization. We have been wholly unprotected and unable to protect ourselves. Our enemies have met with no resistance. We do not complain, as it is perhaps impossible to give protection to all who are suffering like depredations; but we would suggest whether the interest of the Confederacy, apart from the large private interest involved, does not require the protection of our beef, our pork, and our corn for the use of the Southern Army. General Lee is now drawing his supply of corn from us. There is perhaps no valley in America of the same extent that produces more fat cattle and hogs than the valley of the South Branch. Were we protected in the possession of our property we should be able to supply the Army with several thousand cattle and hogs and at the season of the year when the supply from other sources fails; but if no protection should be given us, and the present state of things suffered to go on, we may well despair not only of feeding the army, but of feeding ourselves. Our enemies, not content with driving off our cattle and sheep by hundreds and our horses in numbers, are to-day, we are most reliably informed, engaged in thrashing out the crops of wheat of some of the farmers of Hampshire.
We have been hoping for relief from General Lee’s army in Western Virginia; that the necessities of General Rosecrans would compel him to withdraw his forces from us. In this we have been disappointed. We find still a force on our border acting with the Union men sufficient to rob us. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at New Creek Station is but about 30 miles from our county seat and so long as that point is suffered to remain in the possession of the enemy we must be insecure. We placed ourselves under the protection of the Confederate States with a full knowledge of our exposed situation, being a border county, yet relying upon the ability and willingness of our more Southern brethren, who are less exposed, to defend us.
We now would most earnestly call upon you, the chosen head of the Confederacy, for relief and continued protection, if not inconsistent with more important interests.
JACOB VAN METER ET AL.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: September 1861