December 2, 1862
New Creek, Va., Nov. 30th, 1862.
I herewith enclose you the following order just issued by Brig. Gen. R. H. Milroy. It fully reflects the sentiment of the officers and soldiers of this division, and I have no doubt will receive the approbation of all loyal citizens throughout West Virginia.—Soldiers engaged in the service of their country see no reason why they should imperil their lives to sustain our institutions, whilst corrupt and traitorous Editors are permitted insidiously to undermine them and labor for their overthrow. T. M. H.
Headquarters Cheat Mt. Division,
New Creek, Va., Nov. 24, 1862.
General Orders No. 36
In these times when our Nation is engaged in a deadly struggle for its existence; a struggle involving the demonstration of that great and mighty problem,--the capacity of man for self-government--and portentious of consequences more vast to the human race than any war which has taken place since the dawn of creation, every obstacle of success should be promptly and unhesitatingly destroyed or removed, cost what it may.
One great obstacle in the way of a complete success is the toleration in our midst of the publication and circulation of treasonable New[s]papers, which, not daring in the loyal States, to advocate open Treason and War against the General Government, are covertly seeking the same end by fomenting party prejudice against the Government; endeavoring the excite alarm about a great National Debt and ruinous taxation; to bring the Government paper currency now in circulation into discredit and disrepute; advocating Peace upon any terms by a disgraceful compromise, and in various ways exciting opposition to the War and stealthily spreading a spirit of disaffection among the people and in the army, and poisoning the minds of both against the Government; endeavoring to distract, divide and weaken its efforts for the vigorous and united prosecution of the War to a successful termination. A corrupt and disloyal press or party may be tolerated in time of peace with impunity, while reason is left free to combat error, but, in time of War, when the voice of reason is drowned amid the clangor of arms, when men form their opinions, however erroneous, and rush to arms to maintain and enforce them; no newspaper, or party should be tolerated which dissiminates [sic] error and cultivates hostility to the Government.
No newspaper circulated in Western Virginia, has a more baleful influence in this respect, than the Wheeling Press, which is generally taken by the Secessionists, feeds and fans their prejudice and opposition to the best Government upon earth. Besides this the poison and treason which it stealthily and ceaselessly disseminates, it has recently been endeavoring to excite and stir up dissatisfaction, disobedience, and mutiny in the army, by inveighing against army orders, and endeavoring to excite prejudice against them and their authors, and to bring both into odium with the soldiery.
It is therefore Ordered, That the Wheeling Press shall not anywhere be circulated or brought within the lines of this command, and all officers and soldiers of this command are hereby ordered to immediately arrest any and all persons bringing said paper within our lines or attempting to circulate the same therein, and to deliver all persons so arrested to Capt. H. W. Hunter, Provost Marshal.
By Order of
Brig. Gen. R. H. Milroy,
Com’g Cheat Mountain Division.
Jno. O. Cravens,
Lt. and Aid-de-Camp.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: November 1862