Justice to West Virginia.
January 15, 1863
Justice to West Virginia.
The misapprehension which exists in regard to the loyalty of West Virginia and the number of men from that section in the army, induces the undersigned to publish the following statement of facts, which they have used some pain to ascertain, and believe to be correct:
The population of the country drained by the tributaries of the Ohio river, and included in the usurped new State, is about two hundred and seventy thousand. Estimating the number of white males of the military age, between eighteen and forty, at one in seven, there are of this class, within the same territory, about thirty eight thousand. In the various corps of the army raised in whole and in part in that section, including the State Line, Gen. Marshall's Army, Gen. John's Army, Gen. Jenkins's Brigade, the Wise Legion, Gen. Jackson's Army, and Imboden's command, there are about twelve thousand five hundred soldiers from the suspected region. To this number should be added, of men expiating their loyalty in prisons at Camp Chase, wheeling, and elsewhere, and defending the institutions of the State within the enemy's lines, about fifteen hundred, and of companies known to be secretly organized and unarmed, but ready to come out to our army when egress is offered, about two thousand more, making an aggregate of some sixteen thousand men, serving in the cause of Southern independence in the manner above indicated.
It is worthy of remark that most of this region, abandoned to the enemy at an early day in the war, has since never been under the protection of Southern laws or arms and in the rare instances in which our expeditions have penetrated into parts of the country without holding permanent possession or establishing the laws, the people have everywhere flocked to the standard of the Government, at a great risk to themselves and families and with an entire abandonment and sacrifice of home and property. In the brief but brilliant raid of Gen. Jenkins through a small part of that country, completed in about three weeks, he entered the country with about six hundred men and came out with a brigade of three thousand.
We have a proud satisfaction in placing the services of the people of the section done without the constraint or protection of law, at the cost of all their present interests and convenience, in contrast with the services and sacrifices of the people of any other portion of the State.
It is also due to them that we should state that, in our judgment, at least two thirds of them are loyal to the Government, and that the unsound portion are, for the most part, not native, but settlers from other States and other portions of this State.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: January 1863