March 3, 1865
TROOPS were started from this city last night by steamer to guard against an apprehended raid in the vicinity of Parkersburg. Who the raiders were, where they came from, & c., we did not learn, but we presume they belong to several of the bands that have been hovering along the line between the old State and the new for months. It is well known that in Nicholas, Clay, Braxton, and Pocahontas counties, the partisan rangers come and go almost at will. At the mouth of Birch creek on Elk river they have a famous rendezvous, sad it is almost as common thereabouts to meet with graybacks, or a scout, as it is to meet bluecoats hereabouts. They have regular communication with Richmond via Greenbrier and the Covington road, and along this line they forward their prisoners and their contraband goods. We have for sometime back been looking for bold dashes on the part of these guerrillas.—Their entrance into Cumberland is but a specimen of what we may expect everywhere in the interior this summer, or at least as long as the military situation about Richmond is not radically changed. A desperate enemy is a dangerous enemy, and the rebels everywhere are impressed that they have but one policy to pursue, and that is to boldly press home every opportunity for a dash or a strike at an unguarded point. We think it altogether probable that West Virginia will be more annoyed and perhaps more seriously injured by the guerrillas this summer, than in any one season since the war began.—The waning fires of the rebellion are very capable of such fitful scintillation. It is well known that even in this city the possibility of a sudden dash, or, what is worse, the stealthy concentration of a force of men in citizens clothing, has been discussed with some feelings of apprehension by citizens. Men with strange faces in these days of oil excitement, do not occasion a great deal of remark, and yet the number of such lately, and the characteristics manifested by them, have been noticed time and again by many persons. Some days ago our attention was called to the fact by two persons, and since then a gentleman desired us to make some public mention of his own observations in the interior, in relation to the influx of people claiming to be deserters and refugees, yet who could give no proper account of their business intentions. A gentleman called on us last evening, just as we had begun this article, and in the course of conversation of this subject told us that two days ago he was about to begin a communication for our columns expressive of his own sense of the public insecurity here and at adjacent points. All these feelings and suspicions on the part of citizens may have little or no foundation. They exist, however. Perhaps they owe their rise to the dash into Cumberland, and to the discovered plot to burn Chicago and New York. We dare say that until the fires broke out in so many places in the same hour at the latter place, very few people expected such an attempt on the part of rebel incendiaries, and perhaps would have laughed outright at the idea had it been suggested only a day before.—The Greeks had a proverb to the effect that “the wise hear everything and despise nothing.” Let us all, here and elsewhere, remark everything that may be said in reference to the public good or the public danger at a time like this, and despise nothing. There is just a possibility, hardly a probability, that what was attempted at New York and what was planned at Chicago, may be both planned and attempted here. A few hundred rebel rangers could easily come scatteringly [sic] into the interior and agree by a certain time to concentrate at some point, which would enable them at a dash to destroy the railroad and telegraph wires and do a great deal of damage before effective pursuit could be given.
We mention these things to-day as a matter of talk and alleged observation. If groundless they can do no harm. It may be of service to stir up public watchfulness from this time on. In view of what may be attempted it would seem as if we could not suffer by being on our guard.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: March 1865