THE RECEPTION CEREMONIES
February 4, 1864
THE RECEPTION CEREMONIES
The reception of the First Virginia Cavalry Regiment which arrived here on Saturday last took place yesterday afternoon, much to the gratification of the boys, at least, as they knew they were to be furloughed as soon as the ceremony was over.
Between two and three o’clock, a carriage containing Governor Boreman and Mayor Crangle, in company with two or three of our citizens, preceded by a band of music, repaired to the Bridge corner, where they awaited the arrival of the regiment. About four or five hundred of the “boys” mounted on their horses, came over from the camp on the Island about three o’clock. After forming in line, the procession headed by the above officials, proceeded through the principal streets of the city. From many houses along the route the stars and stripes were displayed, and at several points the procession was greeted with cheers.
When passing the Linsley Institute, on Fifth street, which is occupied by the Legislature, a large number of the members of that body appeared in front of the building and gave three cheers for the soldiers.—Owing to some misunderstanding or lack of concerted action on the part of soldiers, the Honorable gentlemen were overlooked, and the compliment was not returned.
The procession came to a halt in front of the Court House, when the distinguished gentlemen who occupied the carriage alighted and mounted the steps of the building.
Governor Boreman proceeded to address the regiment. He said they were a noble band of self-sacrificing heroes; in all the principal engagements in which either the Army of the Department of Western Virginia, or the Army of the Potomac had taken part, this regiment had been in the van, and fought nobly and bravely. On behalf of the citizens of this city and State he would welcome them to the hospitalities of the people. But another thing should be remembered, fellow soldiers: you will be furloughed tomorrow, when you can return to your homes to enjoy a month’s recreation; your State and country calls for men; I hope each of you will consider yourselves a recruiting officer, and when you return to this city to organize I hope you will have your depleted ranks filled.
At the conclusion of the Governor’s remarks, Col. Capehart proceeded to respond. He said the gallant soldiers under his command had been highly favored with a caption, and he could assure the citizens of Wheeling that such ovations tended more to cheer and encourage the hearts of the returning soldier than all the bounties that could be given. The soldier—some people thought—was devoid of the finer feelings; this was a mistake; the soldier when he entered the field was compelled as it were, to lock up such feelings; but rest assured, gentlemen, that these brave boys have not forgotten the word “mother,” “sister,” “lover,” or “brother;” no indeed, they were still capable of appreciating home and its benefits. As has been truly said by your Governor, this regiment has seen active and efficient service, and the depleted ranks show that they have encountered the enemy and hotly disputed him; the different battle fields upon which they have fought were strewn with the remains of their comrades, and the wild mountains of Virginia contained the tombs of many who had fallen while gallantly defending their flag. We do not now return to our homes to stay; we will soon again be on our way to face the enemy; in the meantime we hope to receive many additions to our ranks. In conclusion, allow me to again thank you for your hearty reception.
As the conclusion of the Colonel’s remarks, his honor Mayor Crangle proposed three cheers for Governor Boreman, the State of West Virginia and the First Virginia Cavalry, which were given with a will. The crowd then dispersed and the soldiers returned to their camp.
After night the soldiers returned to the city, and were escorted to Washington Hall, where they partook of a supper prepared for them.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: February 1864