December 11, 1861
--There can be no Virginia unless it include both Eastern andWestern Virginia. Cameron, the execrable Secretary of War of the Lincoln Despotism, has presented to the servile Congress of that loathsome tyranny a map in which Eastern Virginia is attached to Maryland, and Virginia beyond the mountains is traced out as the only Virginia that is to exist hereafter. Cameron's definition of our boundaries of course cannot prevail, unless we of the South are subjugated. The decisive battles, however, must be fought in Virginia.
We may therefore say, that if we cannot hold Western Virginia we cannot hold Eastern Virginia, and if we cannot hold Virginia we can hardly defend the South. A shrewd Northwestern man, who is true to the South, declared to us a few days since that if the Southern Confederacy did not maintain its power over Western Virginia, Western Virginia would conquer Eastern Virginia. We consider the remark at least striking.
The importance of taking and holding Northwestern Virginia cannot be overestimated. As it is needless to stop to inquire now how it has been lost, it is only practical to inquire how we are to redeem the State authority in that part of Virginia. Energetic, shrewd, and experienced Generals are indispensable to the achievement.--They must be sustained by sufficient and well-disciplined troops, and they must have every possible facility of transportation and proper supplies. There is no way so well calculated to ensure these as the extension of the rail-roads of the James and Kanawha Vallies, and the improvement of the roads which will be used by our troops. Measures ought to be taken at once to extend the Central Road to Covington. The embankment is ready — the rails only are wanted. They are now in possession of the company, and only want the transportation to the point where they are to be used. But the Government has so monopolized the trains that the road has not the means to convey them to that point.
The Covington and Ohio Railroad is ready to receive its superstructure nearly the entire distance from Covington to the White Sulphur Springs. If the Confederate Government would combine with the State, the road could, in a few months, be finished to the Springs.
If these two roads were finished to the Springs, the Western army would derive in calculable advantages therefrom. It could move quicker; its supplies could be placed with greater ease and in large abundance at a proper depot near the principal field of operations. The Alleghanies would be passed by railroad and the most serious difficulties in the movement of an army and its supplies avoided.
This subject is one that deserves the most serious attention of Congress and our State Legislature. We hope they will take it up promptly and act decidedly and harmoniously. Western Virginia is indispensable to Eastern Virginia and the Confederacy. Apart from political considerations, upon the score of the mineral wealth of that part of the State, it is of the vastest importance to the South. The coal and iron deposits are of illimitable extent, and if we had not lost the salt mines — most ridiculously lost them — we would not feel the want of this article of prime necessity now.
If the Western campaign is to be pressed earnestly, these roads ought to be attended to at once. There is no time for delay.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: December 1861