Skip
Navigation

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
October 14, 1864


Wheeling Intelligencer
October 15, 1864

The Grand Lincoln and Johnson Meeting and Torch Light Procession ? Immense Demonstration for the Union.

The Lincoln and Johnson Torch Light Procession and Mass Meeting last evening, was the greatest political demonstration ever held in the city. The success of the demonstration was mainly owing to the patriotism of the loyal people who have been thoroughly aroused by the opposition which so suddenly exhibited itself, after the nomination of McClellan, but the various committees and officers appointed to made arrangement and conduct the affair, are worthy of all praise. National banners were suspended from every other house in the city during the day, and thousands of little flags were fluttering from windows, doors and housetops. The friends of the Government responded to the invitation to hang out the banners with a remarkable cheerfulness and unanimity, and the city was almost enveloped in bunting. Things looked cheerful from the first dawn of the day, and the prospect culminated in a splendid success.

The illuminations of houses and stores far exceeded anything ever witnessed in the city. All that taste and patriotism could suggest, and all that energy could employ was used by our Union citizens in illuminating their residences and places of business. Four and five story houses were illuminated from cellar to garret, and mottoes and Union lights and American colors were displayed in glorious abundance in all sections of the city.

The procession was formed, the right resting on Union street. The line of march was up Market to Washington street, down Main to First, up First to Chapline, down Chapline to Third street, South Wheeling, Main to First, up First to Chapline, down Chapline to Third street, South Wheeling, down Third to Vine, up Vine to Fifth, up Fifth to Chapline, up Chapline to Webster, down Webster to Main, up Main to John, up John to Sixth, up Sixth to Quincy, down Quincy to Market, where they were formed in front of the Union Headquarters, to hear the speeches of the distinguished gentlemen who were present to address them.

Besides our own people, we had delegations from Martinsville, Moundsville, Washington, and from other adjoining towns. The most of the delegations from abroad were small, but they were exceedingly earnest and enthusiastic in their efforts to help us on with the good cause. It is hardly to describe the splendor of the immense procession, as it moved through the streets. The people in the procession gave vent to their enthusiasm until they were hoarse, and their greetings were everywhere heartily responded to by the immense crowds that thronged the streets and sidewalks, and from the windows and even the roofs of the houses along the line of march. Rockets, Roman candles, and every conceivable description of pyrotechnics were shooting from the procession at all points, and illuminating the heavens in all directions. ? Nothing could exceed the variety, wit and appropriateness of the inscriptions upon the hundreds of transparencies seen in the procession. We attempted to copy some of them, but finding them so numerous we abandoned the effort, considering that where all were so good and appropriate it was hardly proper to discriminate. There were some three or four brass bands in the procession, besides various bands of martial music, and the whole demonstration, all along the line of march, was enlivened with music. The Union Glee Club occupied a splendid old iron clad Monitor, the same one, we believe, used at the great Borough meeting in St. Clairsville last fall.

Some two or three hundred horsemen, bearing torches, brought up the rear of the procession, making a very grand and creditable display.

While the procession was moving through the streets an immense concourse of people, among whom were hundreds of ladies, assembled in front of the Union Club rooms. In order to while away the time a number of ladies and gentlemen who had organized for the purpose, sang a patriotic song to the tune of John Brown?s body, which contained many palpable hits and patriotic suggestions. Col. Poorman, of Ohio, was then introduced and entertained the audience until the arrival of the procession.

When the procession arrived it was discovered that, pack the crowd as compactly as could be, it was impossible for more than one-third of the number of people present to possess themselves of standing ground within hearing distance. Comparative silence having been restored, A. W. Campbell, one of the committee of invitation, read several letters from distinguished persons who had been invited but failed to attend the meeting, after which the same gentleman introduced the Hon. John A. Bingham, member of Congress elect from the Belmont district, saying as he did so that Mr. Bingham had been a champion and friend of West Virginia in the halls of Congress and in her hour of need, and was deserving of all honor. Three cheers were given for Mr. Bingham, and he made his appearance amid thunders of applause. ?

Mr. B. after apologizing for his broken and fatigued condition, having just passed through a hotly contested campaign in Ohio, proceeded to the delivery of one of the most powerful speeches to which it has been our pleasure to listen. At the late hour at which we write we should do the speaker great injustice by attempting to give even a synopsis of his eloquent argument. It was an effort of which the author may be proud and which cannot fail to have a good effect upon all who heard it.

Mr. Bingham was followed by Senator Willey, who made a brief address, which was full of truth and eloquence and was loudly applauded.

After a song by the Glee Club, Major General Heintzleman, the hero of Malvern Hill, and the man who did more to save McClellan?s army then McClellan himself, was introduced. The General was received with tremendous applause. He merely acknowledged the compliment and expressed the hope that all the state would follow the example of Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

The platform outside the Club rooms and the whole front of the building were beautifully and appropriately decorated and excited much admiration. Some of the transparencies in the crowd below were particularly hard on McClellan. They represented the little joker in all sorts of ridiculous positions, and illustrated how he was in favor of war and still rode upon a peace platform, and explained that during his experience as a railroad man, he had learned that it was ?dangerous to ride on the platform.? One of the transparencies said that if ?little Mack could?nt take Richmond with Washington as his base he could?nt take Washington with Richmond for his base.? Others contained well expressed patriotic sentiments and still others were of a local character.

The meeting adjourned at a late hour amid the greatest enthusiasm, and he people retired to their homes well rewarded for their efforts in the good cause.

Just previous to the adjournment of the meeting, Mr. Campbell said he was requested to read the following extract from a letter written by Lt. Melvin Richards of Carlin?s Battery, who is now confined in Charleston, South Carolina, under the fire of our friends who are shelling that city. His rations, for five days, consist of half a tea cup full of rice, a tea cup full of beans, a quart of corn meal and a teaspoon full of salt and three quarters of a pound of skipper eater bacon. Instead of whining for peace under these dangers and sufferings, the gallant officer writes:

?The suffering Confederacy is about collapsed. I have had an opportunity to see and know many things that I did not think before. I want you to vote for Lincoln and Johnson, and if I am not there put in a vote for me. There election will prove our salvation, their defeat our ruin. I know what I speak. I know the feeling of the South on the subject.


Wheeling Intelligencer
October 21, 1864

(From the St. Clairsville Chronicle.)

The Great Union Demonstration at Wheeling, W.V. ? It was our pleasure, in company with a great many others from this county, to witness and participate in the great Union demonstration at Wheeling on last Friday night. The night was propitious, and a vast throng of people filled the streets of the city when we reached there. Lights and rockets were blazing in every direction, and altogether it was a grand and glorious occasion, and reflected much credit on the patriotic and indomitable workers who got it up.

The speaking was from a commodious platform, erected in front of the Union Central Club Rooms, on the corner of Market and Quincy streets. John K. Botsford, Esq., presided. Hon. John A. Bingham, was the first speaker. He made an eloquent and forcible speech, and was followed by Senator Willey. The veteran Major-Gen. Heintzleman ? the old hero of Malvern Hill ? ?glorious old Heintleman,? as McClellan called him, after he had saved his army at that battle ? was pm the platform. He also made a short speech. When got up he was greeted with the most prolonged and tumultuous cheering, and the audience cheered enthusiastically at the end of every sentence.

The meeting was a grand success.


Wheeling Intelligencer
October 17, 1864

When Colonel Woodward?s regiment of negroes approached the city on Friday evening the white eyes of the Africans discovered rockets ascending from all parts of the town, the torches and illumination and the generally brilliant display in connection with the mass meeting. The negroes supposed that the demonstration was in honor of their arrival and they could hardly be restrained by their officers and kept aboard the boat. They were quite as much delighted as if the demonstration had actually been made in their honor. ?When ignorance is bliss ?tis folly to be wise.?


Wheeling Intelligencer
October 17, 1864

Last Friday’s Demonstration. – An appropriate and well deserved compliment was paid to a most estimable citizen, and to one of our best Union men, whom on motion of Mr. Thomas Hornbrook, John K. Botsford, Esq., was called to preside last Friday night over the vast concourse of people that had assembled at the corner of Quincy and Market streets, to hear Mr. Bingham speak. Mr. Hornbrook, in nominating Mr. Botsford, referred to the well known fact that he was a life long democrat, having always been one of the staunchest members of that party. And yet, when it came to a question of Union and dis-Union, Mr. B. like a truly patriotic man, had thrown aside all questions of party, and ever since the war had acted with those and those only, who had stood foremost and fastest by the government. His face had from the commencement been set against every species of disloyalty and he had not turned about from the straight course upon which he entered.

We might also have this connection fittingly refer to the energy and public spirit shown by Mr. Hornbrook in reference to the aforesaid demonstration. He certainly is entitled to the thanks of all our Union people for the seal with which for days he supplied himself to looking after everything connected with it. He was in it, as he generally is in any thing he goes at, the man of all work.


Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: October 1864

West Virginia Archives and History