December 30, 1864
Braxton C. H. West Va.,
December 21, 1864.
This being a rebel county, or at least a majority of the citizens now in the county, are more or less rebelliously disposed, and never find it convenient or profitable to say anything about affairs, civil or military, in short there is a kind of lethargy about the “civil citizens” here that can only be aroused when some unfortunate one of their number gets in the hands of the military and is sent to Camp Chase, then petition after petition, and protestations of loyalty on top of protestations, follow each other in quick succession. Another potential and effective way of impressing on their minds the fact that civil war is raging in our midst, is an intimation that their services are needed for the protection of the Government under which they live. A quiet notice to appear at the “general rendezvous at Charleston forthwith, and bear inspection,” immediately brings to bear their latent powers of eloquence and all available physical energy. To hear a non-combattant [sic] explain the isolated condition, the many and various disadvantages and trials without number, under which the citizens of this county labor, and the awful and fatal consequences impending a draft, one, not to the “manor born” would think it a phenomenon to see a living soul in the county.
These characters, as before intimated, are ever quiet when let alone by the Government authorities, as their connection and sympathy with the rebels is sufficiently strong to guarantee the safety of their lives and property with that party. A victory to the Federal arms; a band of bushwhackers broken up or caught; or an effort at civil organization in the county are topics never mentioned by the aforesaid individuals. And if heralded at all, it must come from other than a “civil citizen,” as we understand the phrase in this obscure corner of the national domain. At this time we find it difficult to write anything out of the usual line of every day transactions, which, with us, consists principally in scouting after “Johnny Rebs at home” on extended furloughs, leaves of absence, special and general details, and all the various modes and devices by which a thoroughly worn out and a badly used reb can fabricate and avail himself of to get home, to see his friends and replenish his wardrobe, the latter, to judge from appearances, being the greater inducement. In fact, to judge from the appearance of a “fresh arrival” from Dixie, it would seem that the Southern Confederacy, or what is left of it, is made up of gray or muddy-colored jackets, all of which have seen much service – as none come without them, and few with anything else. This season of the year being favorable for the business, they are caught about as fast as they come in. Many having a wholesome fear of the State Scouts, and an antipathy to visiting Camp Chase at this unseasonable time of the year, have availed themselves of President Lincoln’s Proclamation, came in, surrendered up their arms, and taken the oath of fidelity to that Government that they have been trying to break down, which leaves the county of Braxton with fewer armed rebels in it now than there has been since the war commenced, and should we be furnished in future from the General Government the protection we now have – which consists of a sufficient force near to stop or check all large raids through this county, and which we are justly entitled to, we can within ourselves and by Spring put a final stop to horse stealing, bushwhacking, and all the different unlawful and barbarous callings that have been practiced so long and successfully in this and similarly situated localities. All we ask is an extension of our present admirably arranged State organization.
A STATE SCOUT.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: December 1864