October 16, 1862
On last Sabbath morning we witnessed one of the most magnificent military displays it was ever our lot to witness. – The regiments on parade were the 4th Virginia, 13th Virginia, 34th Ohio, and 91st Ohio. The inspection took place in a large field on the other side of the Kanawha River, owned by J.G. Henderson Esq. The regiments were inspected by Col. J.A. Lightburn, assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel Russell, of the 4th Virginia; Col. Brown, of the 13th Virginia; Col. Toland, of the 34th Ohio; and Col. Turley, of the 91st Ohio.
We do not wish to make distinctions as to the proficiency of drill in these Regiments, but must say, in our judgment the 4th Virginia is decidedly the best drilled Regiment, but the other three, although they have not had the advantages of the 4th, are very well drilled. We particularly noticed the 91st, under the command of Colonel Turley; this is a new Regiment but moves off like an old one. Col. T. is very popular with his men, and received all their plaudits for his kind and courteous treatment to them.
In the rear was a battery consisting of four pieces. Taking the display all and in all, it was a beautiful sight. – There were probably three thousand men, who seemed to be well disciplined and ready for the contest.
In witnessing this scene, the question naturally arose in our mind, why all this display – why this great upheaving of the people throughout the country – why the strong arms of nearly a million men, armed with the implements of death, were called into requisition. The question was soon solved in our mind – this mighty rush to arms was to defend a country bequeathed to us by our fathers. They periled their lives to obtain freedom, and our patriotic men, young and old, are willing to peril theirs to sustain it.
While we write we hear the soul stirring martial music, emenating[sic] from the different camps in this vicinity, The tocsin is sounding, and soon we expect to hear of West Virginia, and it is hope the entire State, being snatched from the grasp of the infernal rebels, who are eating out our substance and spreading desolation, want and misery wherever they go.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: October 1862