Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
September 10, 1863

Wheeling Intelligencer
September 11, 1863

Meeting of the Senators and Representatives from the Counties composing this Congressional District - Recommendation to the people of each county to send delegates to the Moundsville Convention on the 30th.

A very important meeting of the Senators and Representatives from the Counties composing this Congressional District took place last night in the Hall of the House. The meeting was called to discuss the propriety of a Congressional Convention, with a view of concentrating the loyal vote of the district on some one man, and thereby preventing the election of a Copperhead or Butternut through the multiplicity of candidates on the Union side. Mr. Ross, of Ohio County, was Chairman and Mr. Wiant, of Gilmer, Secretary of the meeting. Seventeen of the twenty-two members from the district were present. A ballot was taken to ascertain the sense of the members as to the necessity for a Convention. Twelve votes were cast for and five against a Convention. A Convention being thus determined upon the following address was, on motion, unanimously adopted as the recommendation of the members to their constituents, urging the loyal people of each county to elect, on the 26th inst., delegates to meet in Congressional Convention at Moundsville, on Wednesday the 30th inst., there to choose a Union candidate for Congress:


To the People of the 1st Congressional District:

On the 22d of October next, an election for members of Congress from West Virginia is to take place. Several gentlemen are already in the field as candidate for the suffrages of the people of the First District. They are all more or less worthy of our support. It is presumable that if matters stand until the day of election as they do now, they will all receive a respectable vote. Were the election an ordinary one, and were no important results to follow our choice, we should be well content to see these gentlemen, all of whom are loyal, fight it out among themselves. But the election is not an ordinary one. On the contrary it is the most momentous one ever occurring in our midst. On the selection of members of Congress from West Virginia may depend the choice of a Speaker for the next House of Representatives. As things now appear it is quite likely that our elections will determine that choice. That Speaker will have the appointment of committees vital to the successful prosecution of the war. If we elect men who will vote for a thoroughly loyal man for Speaker we will secure committees that will fully support and sustain the Government. If on the contrary we elect men who will vote for a disloyal man for Speaker, the result will be committees, that will endeavor to block the wheels of legislation, withold supplies, and thereby cripple and embarrass the Government. It is a tact well known to the people of West Virginia, that we have a wily and a lurking disloyal foe in our midst. That foe has ever evinced a disposition to contest with us at the ballot box whenever an opportunity offered. Previous to the final vote on the new State amendment, finding that it was powerless to defeat the determination of the people, it sounded a bugle blast to its squadrons, calling them off from the field of contest, and enjoined on them the policy of not voting on election day. You have not forgotten how implicitly, how literally and how almost unanimously, that injunction was obeyed. Only a straggling vote here and there was cast against the amended constitution. While this in one sense, was gratifying to the loyal new State people, in another it was suggestive and alarming. It revealed the fact that we had in our midst a highly disciplined foe, whose word to its followers was law, and who had at any time but to pass the command along the line, for action or non-action, to find it implicitly obeyed. It revealed the further fact that this foe had its secret understandings, and was constantly on the alert for the signs of the times, in order to know when to strike and when to refrain from striking.

It cannot have escaped your attention that recently an ominous recommendation has emenated from disloyal headquarters in this city, bidding the so-called "Conservatives" prepare for the opportunity. You understand what such a note of preparation means. If you do not your disloyal enemies do. It means that if an opportunity, through your divisions, presents itself for the election of a Copperhead or Butternut to Congress from this district, it is to be embraced.

Depend upon it this scheme is now maturing among the enemies of the government in this district.

It will require a very short time to develop itself. It may be held in abeyance until the last week, almost the last day, of the canvass, and then it will be sprung upon us in such an hour as we think not. The result will be that while we the loyal people, reposing full trust and confidence in all our candidates, are voting some for this one, and some for that one, and some for the other one, according to our individual preferences, our watchful and disloyal foe will, with one strong effort, concentrate his whole strength upon a candidate and elect him by a numerical plurality over the highest one of our half dozen candidates. You will agree that such a result would be a disaster sadly to be mourned forever by the loyal people of this district. Consequences of life and death to the country, as well as to us, might result from it. The Union cause, in these times of peril, when the rebellion we all so dread and detest is sinking in the balance, cannot afford to throw such an advantage in the scale. It cannot afford to run even the slightest risk of so doing. And, therefore, it is that we, your Senators and representatives, recommend you, our constituents of the several counties composing this district, to meet together in your respective Court Houses on Saturday the 26th day of this month, and there choose delegates to meet in District Convention at Moundsville, Marshall county, on the Wednesday following, which will be on the 30th day of the month. We express the hope that the live and earnest men of every county in the district will exert themselves to see that each county sends a representation. In this way we shall be able to choose either from those before us, or from others, one nominee upon whom the people can concentrate their votes, and thus make sure of what we all above other things desire, a thoroughly loyal representative in Congress.

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: September 1863

West Virginia Archives and History