May 23, 1862
[From the Cincinnati Commercial.]
It is amazing that during the winter the loyal men of Western Virginia have not taken measures to organize themselves for home protection. Their experience last summer must certainly have suggested its value. They know with what sort of an enemy they had to deal, and that nothing but organization and equipment on a war footing would secure immunity from incursions and outrages of the most fearful character. Every precinct should have been organized. Minute men, ready to punish aggressions at once, and expel any of Letcherís bands of outlaws, are far more effective, and would be much more feared and respected than bodies of U. S. troops, necessarily occupying hosts at some distance from each other, and subject to be withdrawn at any time, to support military movements having no reference to the inhabitants of any locality in particular.
The Government has been very generous in its course toward the people of Western Virginia, and has done all in its power to protect them from the vindictiveness of their evil-minded neighbors and the prowling bands of guerillas sent west of the mountains to harass and distress them.- It behooves the people of Western Virginia to bestir themselves. Donít wait for Federal or State assistance. That is not the best reliance. A good rifle or musket, with a determined spirit to use it on any marauder who disturbs the peace of the citizens, is the best guarantee the citizen can have that his peace will not be disturbed. Organization should be so well perfected in every neighborhood, that when it is threatened by numbers, numbers can be immediately summoned and so directed as to make their collective strength of some value. The guerillas who roam about the country stealing horses, robbing stores and shooting citizens engaged in their peaceful pursuits, should, if caught, be hung without formality of trial. A few prompt punishments of this sort by the citizens themselves, would soon put an end to guerrilla warfare along the border.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: May 1862