January 21, 1863
A Senatorial Supper. – Senator Flesher, of Jackson county, entertained a number of the members of the Senate and House of Delegates and other distinguished gentlemen, on Monday evening at his rooms on 4th street, Mrs. Greer’s. The supper was a most capital affair. The oysters and cider were especially superior. After the parties had satisfied themselves with a proper indulgence in the delicacies of the season. General Cather was first called for, and in a most happy and humorous vein, detailed the blessings which would follow the erection of West Virginia into an independent State of the Union.
Treasurer Tarr was then called for. He arose and gave as a toast “Hon. John Minor Botts, the greatest intellect of Virginia,” and followed with a short and appropriate speech, detailing the manner in which the State of Virginia was dragged out of the Union by a mob; spoke of his love and devotion to Virginia in her purer days, and closed with an eloquent endorsement of the new State, and an appeal to the audience to labor for its success. Mr. Farnsworth of the House of Delegates next spoke. He alluded to the history of the rebellion, and showed how it was to be crushed, spoke in glowing terms of the new State – that he was for it soul and body. He remarked that when he got up to talk upon such themes, he was carried away by his feelings. He was rapturously applauded.
Col. Latham, of the 2nd Virginia, was called for, and no excuse that he offered was accepted. He was compelled to speak. He gave in most beautiful and elegant language, his opinion of the war, and his remedy for secession. He said no man was sound who would not endorse the Government unconditionally, and, for the time being, the Government was the administration. Mr. Jackson, of Lewis county, spoke briefly in behalf of the country, and said we must cling to the Constitution as the only salvation for us. He also endorsed the New State.
Senator G. F. Watson, of Accomac, was then called for. He arose and addressed the gathering in a very appropriate and feeling manner, alluding to his term of service as a Senator and the regret he felt in parting with the many members and friends he saw present. In conclusion he made some very happy remarks about the old mother of States and of her restless and prodigal daughter; but hoped that good feeling, prosperity and harmony would prevail and continue, and spoke of the great anxiety he felt in the reorganization of the balance of the State.
Ellery R. Hall, Clerk of the Senate, spoke briefly of the condition of the country, of the new State, and closed with the relation of a most capital anecdote, in relation to the adjournment of the Legislature, which may have pinched those opposed to short sessions. The substance of it was that a minister, somewhere, on being interrogated as to the time Congress would adjourn, remarked “not till Stonewall Jackson drove them out of Washington.” An old man present turned to him, with a withering, killing look, and replied, “Well, then, Mr. ___, I can tell you they will have a G__ d___ long session.”
Short and most excellent speeches were also made by Mr. Powell, from Accomac; Mr. Davidson, of Taylor; and Mr. McCutcheon, Senator from Nicholas.
Senator Close, of Alexandria, was called for, and closed the exercises in a lengthy and most interesting detail of secession in Alexandria, the capture of the city, flight of the rebels, the murder of Ellsworth, and the killing of his murderer. Mr. Close’s remarks were very appropriate, and were well received and frequently applauded.
We regret that we are unable to give a more detailed report of the speeches, for we have done them great injustice.
The party dispersed about 12 o’clock.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: January 1863