August 1, 1862
The July session of the County Court for this county, was held on Monday, last, all the justices present, being summoned to consider the propriety of a levy for the promotion of the recruiting service.
Not much regular business was transacted, . . .
At one o’clock the court room was occupied by a meeting of the citizens, called together to consider the propriety of the military tax, and to hear what might be said on the occasion.—The meeting was tolerably full considering the busy season of the year and we were glad to observe among the audience a few of those who have been under suspicion of disloyalty. People of this complexion generally stay away from such meetings, so that the fact of attending them has come to be considered as prima facie evidence of a desire to be considered loyal men, and vice versa. There are plenty of men in the community who, piqued probably by what they consider ill-treatment, intentional misconstruction of acts and motives and indiscreet and uncalled for reflections, do violence to their own feelings and injustice to themselves by holding off from identifying themselves with the Union mass, when in reality they are loyal as any, and were it not for such pique or pride of opinion, would readily enroll[l] themselves among the zealous supporters of the flag. It is the duty as well as the policy of the Union men to offer every facility for the reception of such men into their ranks and it is equally the duty of men sincerely loyal, even though they have been unjustly treated to forget their little piques, to live down misrepresentation, and to enroll[l] themselves without delay among those professedly loyal to their country and its laws. In such a community as this a different course, while it does the Union cause an injury, does a far greater injury to the individuals who follow it. It brings them unnecessarily into disrepute among their loyal neighbors, creates unpleasant feelings which a little magnanimity of both sides might obviate, and what is worse than all, puts them and their families into a wrong position, which as time passes on, will become still more difficult to rectify. Therefore, we were glad to see at least some of the class referred to, present at this meeting.—The great mass of the secesh sympathizers were of course absent.
The meeting was addressed first by Gov. Pierpoint, who occupied an hour or so in giving his views of the exigencies of the times. He spoke of the guerilla threats to lay our towns and cities in ashes and appealed to the young men of the country to enlist and fight for their own homes and firesides. He depicted the course of our Generals in giving protection to the rebels and the way in which such protection was requited. His take off of the fine old Virginia rebel gentleman demanding protection for his property while his sons and slaves were actually serving in the Confederate army was very felicitous, and pronounced by those who have seen the original, true to the letter. But, he said, all this has been changed, and the Union army is no longer to be frittered away while on the march by details left to guard the cornfields, potato patches and negro quarters of aristocratic rebels along the road. The rebels hereafter are expected to guard their own property and improper depredations on the part of the Union soldiery are to be punished only by the ordinary rules of war, as applicable to the case. He thought, and the country will concur with him, that this course will be much more agreeable to the soldier as well as better calculated to suppress rebellion.
He complimented Brooke County, (he should have confined his compliments to Wellsburg,) for her zeal in the past in volunteering and hoped that the requisite number of volunteers would be forthcoming in due time.—He state that he expected the quota to be filled by the 15th of August, and hinted strongly that if such were not the case by that date, he would proceed forthwith to adopt the drafting process. He also dropped a word or warning to those among us, who use their influence to discourage enlistment to the effect that such conduct is treasonable as giving aid and comfort to the enemy; and that on information being furnished, parties guilty of persistence in it, would be promptly arrested and punished. In effect, said he, the rebel who prevents an Union soldier from enlisting is as effective an enemy as he who kills and Union soldier in battle; and many a slippery rebel at home, in this way, kills off half a dozen.
The Governor’s remarks were attentively listened to and the more pointed the sentiment the more zealous the applause. He is evidently sound, and in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the wars, and although Governor of a “border State,” is by no means as squeamish as are some of our “border State” Congressmen, as to the means best calculated to carry it on successfully.
After the Governor took his seat, loud calls were made for D. M. Edgington, Esq., who was present attending the court. Mr. Edgington rose to apologise for not making a speech and referred to our neighbor of the Intelligencer, A. W. Campbell, also present on the bench, as much more capable and probably better prepared for speech making, but the crowd, as crowds generally do, seemed to have a desire to hear Edgington, and Edgington proceeded to give them a speech. That it was a good one and to the point, although entirely extempore, we need not say.
Between the speeches, a series of resolutions was offered and adopted unanimously, which we cannot publish seriatim because we were not furnished with a copy and because the Intelligencer containing them has been mislaid, and because furthermore, they were not handed us before being delivered to the editor of the Intelligencer.
The points in the resolutions were, a recommendation to the county court to pay the sum of $5000 to be distributed in sums of $50 each among such recruits as would volunteer, or to their families; one cordially endorsing Gov. Pierpoint; one endorsing Senator Willey “generally,” and generally and particularly repudiating Senator Carlile, and earnestly demanding that he should resign his seat in the U. S. Senate.
After the speeches were over, the Court proceeded to act upon the petition and recommendation of the meeting as to the levy of $5000.
A resolution was passed unanimously directing that 50 per cent of the State revenue for this year (about $3000) be levied for the use of such men as may volunteer from this county; that the Sheriff collect and pay over the same to the parties entitled thereto in sums of $50 each; and to enable him to do so to borrow the sum of $3000, paying interest not exceeding 6 percent therefor.
The Court further intimated that if more money was required for the same purpose, it should be forthcoming on application in the same way.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: July 1862