Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
December 1861

December 1

December 2
The legislature of the Reorganized Government of Virginia met in Wheeling. Governor's Pierpont's message to the legislature was read before both houses at 7:00 in the evening.

Three Moccasin Rangers who were captured in Wirt County were examined in the Adjutant General's office in Wheeling.

Much of the delegates' time at the December 2 meeting of the Constitutional Convention was taken up with the subject of education.

December 3
Delegates to the state constitutional convention changed the name of the new state from Kanawha to West Virginia.

December 4
General William S. Rosecrans, who commanded all Union troops in western Virginia, established his headquarters at the McLure House in Wheeling.

At the Constitutional Convention, delegates considered the report of the Committee on Fundamental Provisions. In response to a proposed amendment of John Dille of Preston County regarding suffrage, Peter Van Winkle exclaimed, "I would not disfranchise any man except for grave crimes and misdemeanors, and the only thing that does disfranchise a man is being under conviction of felony or treason. And the gentleman wants to put the non-payment of a petty tax on the same footing!"

December 5
Delegates at the Constitutional Convention debated the style of voting in elections, viva voce or ballot, and the question of the boundaries of the proposed new state. The Committee on Boundary reported a resolution that, in addition to the 39 counties named in the ordinance for the convention, would include Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, McDowell, Buchanan and Wise counties.

December 6
At the Constitutional Convention, delegates continued debate on boundaries.

December 7
Colonel Edward Johnson, commander of Confederate forces stationed at Camp Allegheny, wrote to Colonel C. L. Stevenson, Assistant Adjutant General for the Army of the Northwest, stating his belief that Union forces in the region were still active and would take advantage of a contemplated Confederate withdrawal. Union and Confederate detachments clashed at Camp Bartow.

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention continued to debate the boundaries of the new state before voting 27 to 15 to eliminate Wise and Buchanan but retain Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, and McDowell counties.

December 8
Ferdinand Byland, Chief Clerk of the Quartermaster Department of the United States Army, was shot by a Union soldier, who was arrested immediately.

December 9
A Confederate detachment of about one hundred troops skirmished with Union scouts at Camp Bartow. Two Union soldiers were captured. Five Confederate deserters surrendered to Union forces at Cheat Summit Fort.

After debating whether to move to another subject for a time, delegates to the Constitutional Convention returned to consideration of the report of the Committee on Boundary, debating the second resolution on the possible inclusion of Craig, Giles, Bland, Tazewell, Russell, Lee, and Scott counties.

December 10
Periodicals and newspapers were distributed to hospitalized Union soldiers by "the ladies of Centre street" in Wheeling.

Delegates at Constitutional Convention continued to debate the second resolution before rejecting it and moving to the third resolution regarding the possible inclusion of Frederick, Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Pendleton, Highland, Bath, and Alleghany counties.

December 11
At the Constitutional Convention, debate on the third resolution continued with several members offering amendments to remove one or more of the counties included in that resolution. Delegates agreed to strike Alleghany, Bath, and Highland.

The 13th Indiana and 32nd Ohio regiments departed from Beverly en route to attack the Confederates at Camp Allegheny.

December 12
Debate on the third resolution continued at Constitutional Convention, with delegates finally agreeing to possible inclusion of Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Pendleton, and Frederick counties.

A skirmish erupted at Camp Bartow when a Confederate scouting party commanded by Major John D. H. Ross, ambushed the head of the Union column marching toward Camp Allegheny. Two Union soldiers were killed and at least five wounded.

December 13
Confederate troops of the Army of the Northwest, led by Colonel Edward Johnson, repulsed an attack by a Union force under the command of General Robert Milroy at the Battle of Allegheny Mountain.

At the Constitutional Convention, delegates considered the fourth resolution in the report of the Committee on Boundary regarding Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Rockbridge, and Botetourt counties but debate quickly shifted to questions regarding counties included in resolutions already approved. Delegates finally adopted the report, then agreed to a resolution to recommit it to the committee "with instructions to report a provision to be inserted in the Constitution embracing the substance of said resolutions and fully defining the boundaries of the proposed new State." Delegates then took up the report on Fundamental and General Provisions.

December 14
Ohio County minister and convention delegate Gordon Battelle proposed that the new state constitution provide for the gradual abolition of slavery rather than the immediate abolition he had proposed on December 2. This version of the proposal, known as the Battelle Resolutions, became the basis of the Willey Amendment.

December 15
A company of Union scouts pursued bushwhackers into Roane County.

December 16
Colonel Edward Johnson issued a congratulatory address to his Confederate soldiers for their victory in the battle of Allegheny Mountain: "While we have abundant cause to thank God for this victory, let us not forget the gallant dead who fell by our sides, and whom we buried on Allegheny. Remember their gallantry, and emulate their example."

Senator James Carskadon, representing Hampshire, Hardy, and Morgan counties in the Reorganized Government of the Virginia, introduced a resolution calling on the Committee on Courts of Justice and General Laws to consider a bill "prohibiting persons who are or have been willingly engaged in the present rebellion against the Government of the United States, from voting." The committee would later report adversely on this resolution.

December 17
Henry Ruffner, minister, educator and author of the anti-slavery publication Address to the People of West Virginia, died in Malden.

Constitutional Convention

December 18
Constitutional Convention

December 19
The Moccasin Rangers, a Confederate guerrilla unit, captured the town of Ripley.

Constitutional Convention

Charles J. Faulkner, former United States Minister to France, arrived in Norfolk after being released

December 20
The first military execution in western Virginia during the war occurred in Charleston. Private Richard Gatewood of the 1st Kentucky Infantry was killed by a firing squad from his regiment.

Constitutional Convention

December 21

December 22
A detachment of the Second (West) Virginia Infantry was attacked by a Confederate Home Guard company known as the Mountain Tigers.

December 23
Edward Johnson, who commanded the Confederate force stationed at Camp Allegheny in Pocahontas County, was promoted to brigadier-general.

December 24
The Federal Court met in Wheeling in reference to the storage of powder in the Custom House; witnesses included General William S. Rosecrans, (Restored Government of) Virginia Governor Francis Pierpont, and Archibald Campbell, editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer

December 25

December 26
Confederate soldiers from western Virginia encamped at Dublin Depot wrote to the Virginia House of Delegates in Richmond to request the appointment of George Duvall to fill the vacancy caused by "the treason of Daniel Frost." Frost served as a delegate at the Second Wheeling Convention and in the House of Delegates for the Restored Government of Virginia.

Thirty-four Confederate prisoners, many of them members of the Moccasin Rangers, were brought to Wheeling.

December 27

December 28

December 29
The town of Sutton was burned by Confederate raiders on December 29, 1861.

Confederate troops attacked a Union cavalry company stationed at Camp Hall, in the Gilmer County community of Troy, forcing them to withdraw.

A Confederate force attacked Union troops at Greenland in Hardy County.

December 30
Union troops occupied Raleigh Court House, now known as Beckley.

Writing from Barboursville, W. H. Carpenter, J. T. Carroll Jr., and W. C. Mahone offer Henry J. Samuels, the adjutant general, the services of a company of independent scouts.

December 31
Four hundred troops of the 25th Ohio Infantry left Huttonsville on an expedition to Huntersville.

Undated Events, December 1861

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood

West Virginia Archives and History