Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
December 30, 1861

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
Series 2, Volume 3, p. 766

Mercer Court-House, Va., January 3, 1862.

Mr. Wm. H. Howe.

Dear Sir: I am a citizen of the county of Raleigh, residing near the court-house, and have been driven from home with a good many other citizens of the county. Having just arrived here from that county the citizens of this village think it proper that the fact of the invasion of that county by the Federal troops should be made known so that the citizens of the counties between that place and the railroad may adopt some policy to repel their intended raid upon the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. Hence I am troubling you with this note that the people may have time to organize for their own protection.

After repeated visits by the enemy in small forces, and committing depredations wherever they went by stealing property (cattle, horses, &c.) and arresting citizens pursuing their usual avocations, forcing them to take the oath, or taking them to Fayetteville and holding them in confinement, on last Monday, the 30th day of December last, our village was taken possession of by at least 1,000 Federal troops, arresting the citizens that were remaining and compelling them to take the oath or holding them prisoners. They are robbing the citizens of all their property grain, provender, &c., leaving the families of those that have had to flee from their persecutions entirely dependent and helpless. Holding a commission as lieutenant colonel of the militia (the colonel being a prisoner in their hands) I have issued orders to call out the militia of Raleigh County to meet to-morrow in edge of this county; but the principal portion of the county being in possession of the Federals the number to assemble is very small, but we will assist with all our power in resisting any further advances of the enemy, hoping to have the aid of the counties interested with ourselves, and perhaps if the facts were properly represented to our authorities that they would dispatch a regiment of volunteer forces to our assistance, for they openly avow that their destination is ultimately the railroad.

Asking pardon for troubling you (being a stranger) and hoping that you will use your influence in procuring aid,

I am, very respectfully,

Joseph Caldwell,
Lieutenant-Colonel of the 184th Regiment.

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

West Virginia Archives and History