The Recent Butternut Meeting at Moundsville:
November 2, 1864
The Recent Butternut Meeting at Moundsville:
Moundsville, W. Va., Oct. 28th, 1864.
Editors Intelligencer: - The whitewashed and self-styled Democracy of Marshall county have been for the last two or three weeks moving heaven and earth to get up some kind of demonstration in Moundsville. They circulated flaming posters far and near, and made every effort to insure success for their meeting.
Tuesday, the 26th inst., at 2 p. m., was the time for the assembling of the dismayed and broken ranks of the once unterrified. About 12 o’clock a meager few of lonely stragglers, here and there, might have been seen approaching the town and wending their way towards the Court House – looking as terrified as if they were going to the gallows. The hour at last arrived, and the noses carefully counted numbered all the way to seventy-three, by counting Mr. J. W. McCarricher several times. This immense concourse of seventy three included the delegations from Wheeling and Ohio, and musicians. “We are certainly not all here,” said one who seemed to rejoice in the gay butternut attire that he stood in, “suppose we ring the bell again.” Peal after peal sounded from the bell, but there responded no addition to the seventy-three.
The meeting was organized by the election of Mr. V. P. Gorby to the chair. The band performed the prelude, after which a certain Col. Stambaugh, a lately defeated candidate for the Attorney Generalship of Ohio, was called to the stand. He spoke about two hours, sugarcoating his audience in the out-start, for very bitter pills, which he afterwards administered most horribly. He denounced the Administration, charged the abolitionists with having caused the war, asserted that 1,900,000 men had been killed or otherwise disabled by it, that our national debt would ruin us, that the present war policy was also ruinous, that 40,000 Republicans voted the Democratic ticket at the last Ohio election, that the only hope for peace and union was in the election of McClellan, that the destruction of slavery, instead of being the terminus of our troubles, would be their commencement, for with freedom, the African would aspire to equality with us; that over in Ohio he had seen “beautiful Yankee ladies dancing with, and even parading the streets armlocked with negroes;” that by a decision of a Republican Judge, negroes are legalized voters in Ohio, that Democracy, if elevated to power, would first try peaceable means, these failing, then the dernier resort of war (?) to restore union. By this time the meeting had swollen in numbers and respectability, by arrivals of curious Unionists forsooth to such an extent as warranted a deafening call for Hanson Criswell, Esq., who soon afterward responded from the stand in a very eloquent and forcible speech. Mr. Crisswell had just returned from the country, where he has so faithfully labored ruing the past three weeks, for the cause of freedom, and was obviously fatigued, but we are very seldom treated to such an effort as he on this occasion put forth. He thought that Justice to the cause of Truth demanded that the arguments and declarations that he had heard, should be met by a plain statement of the facts. He denounced the statement of Stambaugh that the 1,900,000 men had been killed or disabled, as basely false. – He proved that the different calls would not make 2,500,000; that upwards of 600,000 men are now in the field, and several hundred thousand, classed by the gentleman from Ohio among the mutulated and dead, had served out their time, and were at home preparing to make another charge on the reserve column of the rebel army on the 8th of November. “Shame on the party that relies on such a woeful prevarition of facts to sustain its hopeless cause. The election in Ohio instead of showing that 40,000 Republicans had gone over to the Peace Democracy, proved that that number had joined the ranks of our army and are now battling for us at the front.” If the declaration of Stambaugh was correct, 40,000 plus the vote for Vallandigham, would present the strength of the Ohio Peace Democracy, which according to the figures would approximate 230,000. But according to the latest official returns, their strength would be summed up in less than 160,000. Men might lie but figures would not. It was necessary to specially reply to every quasi point raised by the previous speaker in his “budget of assertions.” No loyal man could stand in opposition to the war policy of the Government. It was true that we not only proposed to free the negro, but to arm and send him to the front, and why should we not? The rebels South denounce it, and their sympathizer North echo the denumciation. Union men join issue with both. Show us that slavery is a benefit to the Government or any advantage to the loyal people, and we will reconsider our policy, but so long as that institution is used to replenish the rebel exchequer, to do the drudgery and ditching around rebel camps, to till the soil from which the rebellion derives its subsistence, we will insist upon the sound policy of our noble President. – Slavery and the rebellion are one. You cannot strike one without striking the other. Give either a fatal blow and they sink together into a common grave.
In reference to Yankee girls in Ohio “dancing and walking the streets and highways with negroes,” it was the ipse dixit of Mr. Stambaugh and might will be classed with the rest of his declarations. If, however, it was really true he was not much surprised, for judging from the speech of that gentleman, he was convinced that the company he kept was not the best. Ohio was the refuge for one of the most villanous traitors that ever went unhung, and he did not doubt, that a society that would tolerate Vallandigham and countenance such doctrines as we had just heard would condescend to almost anything. He was happy to inform the eloquent representative of Ohio society, that West Virginia, notwithstanding she had been deprived of common school priviliges, by this same domineering institution of slavery, and notwithstanding many of her people had matured without the blessing of an education, there was yet intelligence within her borders to maintain a devotion to the Union and intolerance for the doctrines of Vallandigham and his lieutenants. If negroes were permitted to vote in Ohio, that Judge Brinkerhoff was not responsible for it. He only expressed his opinion as to what the Democratic party meant, when they incorporated that doctrine in the constitution of the State. It was a democratic constitution framed by a democratic convention, and if negroes were permitted to vote under it, they were indebted for the high privilege to the Democratic party, which according to its representation from Ohio; is committed to a prosecution of the war, if elevated to power, and the rebels do not throw down their arms and rush to its bosom. The gentleman in trying to deceive the people here had deceived himself, for opposition to the war and the government was the rallying cry of his peace-making, time-serving, hypocritical friends wherever found.
Mr. Criswell quoted from Vallandigham’s Sydney; Ohio, speech, showing that a proposition for the prosecution of the war, in the event of all peace negotiations failing, was voted down nearly unanimously, by committee on resolutions, for the Chicago convention. He then read extracts from speeches made at the Chicago convention showing that the so-called democracy was opposed to the war, and in favor of peace on any terms, even to joining the Southern Confederacy. Mr. Criswell closed by referring to the fact that Stambaugh in the course of his lengthy speech had devoted much time to the abuse of the president and government, but had not one word of condemnation for the rebellion. Vials of wrath were poured upon the devoted head of our President, whilst Jeff. Davis had not been treated to a decent shampooing.
At the close of the meeting accounts were fully squared. The utmost good order and decorum prevailed. As a Democratic demonstration it was a perfect failure.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: October 1864