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Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
November 15, 1862


Staunton Spectator
December 2, 1862

By the Governor of Virginia.

A Proclamation.

The General Assembly, at its late extra session called for the purpose, by me, appropriated a half million of dollars for the purchase of salt for the citizens of this Commonwealth.

Immediately upon the passage of the act I ordered the Quartermaster of the State forces to procure transportation, in the shortest possible time, for hauling from the Kanawha Salines, all the salt which his means of transportation would enable him to accomplish, and I caused him to be furnished with ample funds for the purpose. The inroads of the enemy into the Kanawha Valley and the destruction of all conveyances which fell into his hands, and the transportation of our own army to and from that section of the State had so effectually occupied or destroyed all the wagons and teams that they could not be procured there, and the country had been so thoroughly devasted [sic], that it was necessary to send, with the wagons procured elsewhere, all the produce requisite for the support of the teams going and returning. Every effort was made promptly to procure the transportation. But the distance and the difficulties to be encountered rendered rapid movements impracticable. The consequence has been that, before the train of wagons which had been organized and were on their way thither, could reach their destination, the enemy in superior force again appeared at the Kanawha Salines, and our army has been compelled to fall back, and but an insignificant amount of salt has been obtained by individuals and none under the orders given.

Having made these arrangements, I issued a proclamation taking possession of all the salt then on hand or that might be made at the salt works at Smythe or Washington counties. I immediately set out in person for Saltville, hoping to obtain there a supply to meet the wants of the people. When I arrived I found that the contracts then existing with the Confederate States, with sister Southern States, and with county and corporation Courts in this Commonwealth, were of such a character, that this abrogation would result in interminable conflicts and difficulties, in breaches of faith, and in incalculable distress. I found, too, that instead of purchasing for money, the necessary supplies, the fuel, transportation, labor and machinery for these immense works, a system had prevailed for years to barter them for salt, that written orders were given for salt, for the amount bartered, and that these orders had become the subject of speculation and extortion. That this necessarily absorbed a very large amount of the salt manufactured, and that the proprietors were forced to furnish the salt necessary to meet the orders, or have their works stopped for the want of supplies. All these circumstances rendered it improper and unadvisable for me to take possession of the works and work them on State account. It was impossible to put up new works in time to meet the immediate wants of the State, my only alternative was, therefore, to purchase all the salt over and above existing contracts, that could be manufactured within any reasonable time. After considerable difficulty, I made a contract with responsible parties to furnish the State with 150,000 bushels of salt, that being the full capacity of manufacture by the existing works, after supplying existing contracts. The salt is to be furnished in bags or barrels and delivered on the cars, at Saltville, a branch of the Virginia and Tennessee railroad, at the prices of $2.33 [1/?] per bushel.

It was my earnest desire to obtain the largest quantities at the earliest periods. But I found this impracticable. The contract requires the parties to furnish the quantity contracted for as follows: 15,000 bushels in the month of November, at the rate of 600 bushels per day, and 45,000 bushels in each of the months of December, January and February, at the rate of 1,800 bushels per day.

As it was specially stipulated in the contract made, that the delivery of the salt contracted for, to the State, should not interfere with existing contracts made with the Government of the Confederate States, or with any separate State of the Confederate States, or with any county or corporation court of this State, and as large supplies are being furnished under these contracts, there will not be so great a competition in the market, and our people need not submit to the extortion of speculators; and especially as sixty of the counties and corporations of the State will, under their contracts, obtain upwards of 300,000 bushels in addition to the amount purchased by me, it is hoped that the amount, though not as great as could have been desired, will mitigate, in some measure, the urgent wants of the people.

To cover all costs and charges incident to purchase, transportation and distribution, I have fixed the sum of three dollars per bushel, as the price to be paid by all recipients of salt under the law, being at the rate of six cents per pound. And I do hereby proclaim, according to law, that the sale of any salt obtained under the State contract and distributed by authority of this proclamation, at a higher price than at the rate of six cents per pound, under any pretext whatever, is a misdemeanor, and the sale of each pound thereof, at a higher price, is declared by law to be a separate offence, and the person convicted thereof is liable to a fine of not less than one hundred no more than two thousand dollars.

To carry out the provisions of the law, the regulations hereto appended have been prescribed by me, and any violation thereof is also declared by law to be a misdemeanor, and to be punished by a like fine. Given under my hand at Richmond, and under the Seal of the Commonwealth, this 15th day of November, 1862, and in the 87th year of the Commonwealth.

John Letcher.

By the Governor:

George W. Munford,
Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Rules and Regulations for the Sale and Distribution of Salt by the Governor.

1.The counties and corporations which cannot be supplied by reason of the presence of the public enemy, or which are subject to their power, are excluded from the computation.

2. Counties and corporations for which the distribution may be doubtful are included. If the distribution can take place, they will obtain their proportion. If not there will be a surplus on hand subject of future partition.

3. Counties and corporations are thrown into their Congressional districts; a State agent for each district is herein appointed, and a depot named for the district. Each county and corporation named will be required to appoint a county or corporation agent, and furnish him with the amount necessary to pay for the salt to which the county or corporation is entitled. Such agent will receive the salt from the State agene, give him a receipt and pay him the amount and distribute the sale due to individuals as the counties may provide.

John J. Moorman has been appointed the State agent at Saltville. He will receive the salt from the manufacturers, and ship it to the depots established, as fast as it is delivered to him. He will give notice to the State agents in the Congressional districts when the salt is shipped. The county agents will ascertain from them when it will be delivered.

The salt not being delivered to the State at once, but by install[l]ments, it became necessary to decide which district should be first supplied. This has been decided by lot. The lot was cast with the following result, and the districts will be entitled to their supply as hereafter named. The counties and corporations in each district will be entitled to their quotas, in the order in which they are named in the act of Assembly creating the Congressional district. The quantity is placed opposite the name of the county.

. . .

The Tenth district is entitled to 8,646 bushels, of which it will receive _____ in December, at the rate of 1,800 bushels per day, Sundays excluded, after the 7th district has been supplied. The counties will be supplied in the following order: Frederick, 1,615; Winchester, 587; Berkeley, 1,674; Clarke, 955; Jefferson, 1,948; Shenandoah, 1,857. Place of deposit, Staunton. State agents, Burke & Co.

. . .

The Thirteenth district is entiled [sic] to 18,159 bushels, which it will receive in December, at the rate of 1,800 bushels per day, Sundays excluded, after the Second district has been supplied. The counties will be supplied in the following order: Wythe, 1,646; Smythe, 1,197; Grayson, 1,108; Washington, 2,259; Scott, 1,616; Lee, 1,475; Wise, 601; Buchanan, 812; McDowell, 105; Tazewell, 1,326; Bland _____; Russell, 1,361 bushels. The county of Bland being a new county, and no statistics to show its population, it will be entitled to receive its quota as a part of the counties of Wythe, Tazewell, and Giles, from which it was taken. The county Court of these counties will ascertain its proportion, and deduct the amount from each county to be assigned to Bland. Place of deposit, Saltville. State agent, John J. Moorman.

. . .

The Eleventh district is entitled to 12,460 bushels which it will receive in January, at the rate of 1,800 bushels per day, Sundays excluded, after the Eig[h]th district has been supplied. The counties will be furnished in the following order: August, 3,187; Staunton, 521; Rockingham, 3,130; Rockbridge, 2,306; Pendleton, 820; Highland, 576; Bath, 481; Pocahontas, 529; Alleghany, 900. Place of deposit, Staunton. State agents, Burke & Co.

. . .

The Twelfth district is entitled to 12,434 bushels, in February, at the rate of 1,800 bushels per day, Sundays excluded, after the Sixth district has been supplied. The counties will be furnished in the following order: Botetourt, 1,539; Roanoke, 1,076; Montgomery, 1,419; Floyd, 1,101; Pulaski, 725; Giles, 920; Craig, 455; Mercer, 911; Monroe, 1,438; Greenebrier [sic], 1,638; Raleigh, 450; Fayette, 748. Places of deposit for Botetourt, Roanoke and Craig, at Salem. The rest of the counties at Dublin Depot. State agent at Dublin Depot, E. S. Johnston; at Salem, Joshua R. O. Brown.

The Fourteenth district is entitled to 2,307 bushels, in February, at the rate of 1,800 bushels per day, Sundays excluded, after the Twelfth district is supplied. The counties will be furnished in the following order: Logan, 661; Boone, 647; Nicholas, 618; Wyoming, 381. Place of deposit for Nicholas, at Dublin depot. The rest of the counties at Saltville—State agent at Dublin Depot, E. S. Johnston; at Saltville, John J. Moorman.

. . .

This distribution divides the 150,000 bushels precisely.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: November 1862

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