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West Virginia split from Post War Supreme Court of the US decisions regarding secession

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by MHB1862, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. 16thVA

    16thVA First Sergeant

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    Here's a link to the website.
    https://sites.google.com/site/wvotherhistory/home

    Lefty, opposing the breakup of Virginia does not mean that they supported the Confederacy, many West Virginia Unionists opposed it, notable Sherrard Clemens and John Jay Jackson.
    As one senator, whose name I can't remember, said at the time something like "we have the power to create new states but not to put two back together", I wish I could find that quote again. There was no way to put things back, Virginia sent a 3 man delegation to Wheeling in 1867 to talk about reunification, but they were told it would not happen. After all, those men had created their own state and were enjoying all the perquisites of office, why would they want to give that up? And Virginia was a military district at that time, and tens of thousands of West Virginians were disfranchised, not only ex-Confederates, but anyone who had been in a Federal prison was disfranchised and southern supporters who had not been in the army. They did the best they could, they trashed the Wheeling constitution, which was a perfectly good constitution, but it was a symbolic act of retaliation, and it caused a lot of heartburn among the New State people. They then began electing all the ex-Confederates to office they could find.

    My whole point about this issue is not about legalities. My only concern is what did the people of West Virginia want. I will tell you uncategorically that they never wanted a new state or to separate from Virginia, no matter what differences they had with the east, and it was a lot of Unionists as well as Confederates who opposed Wheeling on this particular issue. There were more votes in Wheeling in 1863 for the Confederacy than there had been in all Ohio County in 1861.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
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  3. trice

    trice Major

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    There was a war going on: some people won, some people lost, some people were simply caught in the crossfire.

    I am not sure why you are adopting this position with me. I see both sides and more here; you declare you are only interested in one.

    One of the many things you can find in western Virginia amidst all that is the secessionist/unionist divide between the parts of the Methodist Church. The Methodist Protestant Church was staunchly Unionist, the Methodist Episcopal Church was strongly Unionist, the Methodist Episcopal Church South was strongly secessionist, and all the churches in the Baltimore Conference were secessionist (simplified, leaves out the NWVC and SWVC conferences, which the MEC/MCP and MECS were involved in). At one point, 19 of 20 Senators in the legislature were from the MEC, the Senate President was an MEC minister. Some 15% of all members of the legislature, both houses, were MEC ministers.

    And if we want to look into political prisoners, we can look at United Brethren preacher Henry Messenger, captured by a guerrilla party and sent to Andersonville prison, where he later died. Secessionist supporters and raiding bands tended to terrorize MEC preachers because they understood the influence they had in the communities. It was a nasty war, both sides did nasty things.

    The western counties were different than the rest of Virginia and had been for a long time. They were not OH or PA -- but they had a lot in common with them, and a lot of their commerce, social interaction and travel was in the Ohio Valley or by the B&O RR to Baltimore -- not overland to Richmond.
     
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  4. 16thVA

    16thVA First Sergeant

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    I am sorry Trice, but you offer nothing but outdated apologist justification. One of the devices of which is to separate and exceptionalize. West Virginians were not that different from the Eastern Virginians. I am quite familiar with everything you post because I have been reading this material for almost 20 years now. If you can point me to something new, NUMBERS which actually show that West Virginians supported Wheeling's Restored Government, then I would be happy to reconsider. The fact of the matter is that the state was created without the consent of its residents, it was created under military occupation under a government that was not elected. As for civilian prisoners, the Confederacy comes no where near to the record of Pierpont in arrests and detention of civilians, which is part and parcel of the devices used by a junta to control populace. At the constitutional convention member Chapman J. Stuart spoke to the members about the numbers from the statehood vote on October 24, 1861.

    "Now, Mr. President, to show you, and it needs but to look at the figures to satisfy the mind of every member, that even a majority of the people within the district composed of the thirty-nine counties have never come to the polls
    and expressed their sentiments in favor of a new State. In a voting population of some 40,000 or 50,000 we see a poll of only 17,627 and even some of them were in the [Union] army."

    The members did not object to his statement, rather they tried to find excuses for the poor turnout, they tried every excuse but the obvious, that the statehood referendum was not popular.

    On June 4, 1861, the Cleveland Morning Leader published an interview with a refugee Unionist from Kanawha County. They wrote-

    "The situation of affairs there at this time is peculiar. The county gave 1400 for Union the other day, and yet the Unionists are daily in danger of insult, and even personal injury.
    _
    One great dead weight upon all expression of approval of the course of the government is the State pride of which we have before spoken, and which disposes the possessor of the feeling to resent any real or fancied insult to the State. The common people, who are not well informed enough to know the plan of the administration, or to understand it if they did, are easily moved by this feeling, and under the influence of their leaders, are bitterly hostile to the presence of any foreign troops."


    The presence of Union troops in western Virginia turned away many who had voted against the secession ordinance. Pierpont and the statehood movement sabotaged Unionism in western Virginia. H.W. Crothers, writing to Pierpont from Charlestown, Jefferson County, said "These people are not ripe for the Division, and that thing has done the reorganized government more harm than you can conceive of. Will explain more fully when I get home."

    Writing to a Maj. Turner, Judge Advocate, Major Darr stated-

     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
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  5. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin Captain

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    It was elected. The issue is whether or not you or I think the election was broad enough or fair enough.

    When people vote no its an obvious sign that something isnt popular.
    When people dont show up to vote its generally an indicator of something else -- obstacles or apathy.




    And this tells us what?


    This was written in April 1862. Jefferson county is the north end of the Shenandoah Valley. Including Jefferson County in WV was controversial.
     
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  6. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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  7. trice

    trice Major

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    Sorry you feel that way. What I said remains generally true and accurate.

    All of this can be easily seen as similar to what the Confederates did in other places. The vote in 1861 in Tennessee and Georgia was clearly corrupt in favor of the Confederacy, and secessionists started arresting, imprisoning, and repressing those who disagreed with them just as soon as they could. If the Confederacy did less to repress those who opposed them in western Virginia, it was a matter of access and ability to do so, nothing else: Union forces protected the anti-secessionists from repression. Blaming the Union for bad actions and ignoring the bad actions of the people you want to favor is simply not going to stand up to the light of day.

    Of course
    the presence of troops in an area has an effect on what happens -- how could it not? When Virginians voted on secession, there were lots of troops from other states in Virginia, none of them from the Union areas -- the Confederates rushed them there as quick as they could. When a man went to volunteer, it is hard to volunteer for "the South" if he is behind Union lines -- and hard to volunteer for the Union if he is behind Confederate lines.

    People sometimes talk about the number of troops who fought for each side from WV. Confederate records say about 18,500 for "the South" and current research seems to say about 18,000. Claims for the Union side go up over 30,000, but generally deductions for outside-the-state recruits, duplicate records, re-enlistments and such have whittled that down to just about 20,000 these days. Essentially, 150 years of research have led to the conclusion they split about evenly, with a small edge for the Unionist side that we should discount a little because of Union control of the area. Note well: it was about even.

    As to political leanings, this area was already split up in loyalty before secession. All four candidates had support in the area. Abraham Lincoln was listed a distant 4th in Virginia with 1887 votes -- but more than 1700 of those votes were cast in the counties that became West Virginia in 1863. (Note: current day records of county totals are incomplete and do not match out to overall totals.) Stephen Douglas took 5742 votes in the western counties, with Breckinridge edging out Bell there 21,908 to 20,997. Wood County on the Ohio River was a dead-even tie for Breckinridge-Bell at 832 votes each, with Lincoln at 81 and Douglas at 51. Lincoln was strongest in Ohio County, where Wheeling is, and the 2 counties above it -- but also in places like Preston County over on the Maryland border. Generally, the closer to Ohio-Pennsylvania-Maryland you look, the more support you see for Douglas and Lincoln.

    The reasons for that are varied and the more you drill down the more you need to look at the individual situations within a county (like what churches were there, etc.) This is simply normal sociological and political technique for analysis.
    • When you find that all 88 Methodist churches that were part of the Baltimore Conference were also in western counties that are regarded as secessionist, it is reasonable to infer that there is a connection there.
    • When you find that about 80% of the MEC churches are in counties that are regarded as Unionist, and about the same percentage of MECS churches are in counties that are regarded as secessionist, it is reasonable to infer that there is a connection there.
    • When you recall that the MEC-MECS split in 1844 was over the issue of slavery, with western Virginians in the MEC essentially deciding to side with the northern branch of the Methodists, you can make a reasonable inference on what the issue was dividing the secessionists and anti-secessionists.
    • When you realize that the Methodist religion was only about 7% of Americans in 1860, but about 51% of those in the western counties of Virginia, you can begin to understand how the religious alignment there is essential to understanding how the political views were formed and played out in 1860-65.
     
  8. 16thVA

    16thVA First Sergeant

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    The Wheeling government was not elected. There was never an election held for that government, even Charles Ambler noted that about 1/4 of the 2nd convention consisted of members of the Richmond legislature, other delegates were chosen "even more irregularly."

    The creation of the state is all I am concerned about. It is quite clear that it was not sanctioned by the people of West Virginia. Like all repressive regimes the Wheeling government used intimidation and repression on the civilian populace, which is why they imprisoned so many civilians to the point where the judge-advocates in Washington were criticizing and complaining about it. The Pierpont government fulfills every requirement the defines a "junta".
    And that is how the state was created.
     
  9. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin Captain

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    Yes there was an election. The legislature that met in Wheeling during 1861-1862 consisted of those who won the normal legislative election in 1861 and decided to stay loyal to the US.

    The Convention was not the government.
     
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  10. Eagle eye

    Eagle eye First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    I found your website & I was impressed with your POW project ( my GGFatber was a guard at Camp Chase as a 90 day enlistment (during the Overland Campaign) with the 165th OVI. He was around 58 years old when he left the farm & must have pretty well respected by his neighbors as he was elected to the rank of Sgt.) … any info on the Camp Chase Gaurd?
    It still seems like you're a little shy on resources with vague terms like The majority of WV citizens were pro CSA & then show election numbers which don't mean squat to me & other generalities that lack references. Don't misunderstand me 16th… I think your website is growing nice from the small sample size that I've seen so far but I'm not overly impressed with your references … but that's easy for me to say since I'm not building a web site… keep up the work & good luck.
     
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  11. 16thVA

    16thVA First Sergeant

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    The legislature was chosen from the convention, 90 % of the legislature was at the same time members of the convention. And if I may be so bold as to remind you of a basic rule of civics, election to a public office is not a roving commission, one is not allowed to set up shop for oneself. By not assuming their offices in Richmond those elected senators and delegates were no more than private citizens. It was a betrayal of their constituents. The president of the US has the right to choose that assembly to be the legal fiction legislature, but we are not compelled to invest a legal fiction with fact.

    I guess we will agree to disagree, but I am fully confident that my summation of the situation is the one which will prevail in the coming histories. It is not that far off from what Otis Rice and Stephen Brown wrote almost 25 years ago.

    "Although the Wheeling Intelligencer professed to see an "astonishing unanimity" of sentiment in the vote, in reality the returns reflected the deep division of feeling in western Virginia and intimidation on the part of supporters of the new state. Seventeen counties giving majorities for dismemberment had ratified the Virginia secession ordinance earlier in the year. Only five of the forty-one counties reported more than fifty votes against a new state, and three of them-Brooke, Hancock, and Ohio-were in the northern panhandle where overwhelming public support obviated the need for tightly controlled balloting and allowed freer expression. Eleven counties, including Boone, Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Hardy, Putnam, Raleigh, Roane, Tucker, Upshur, and Wetzel, did not record a single vote in opposition. Eighteen others, among them Barbour, Cabell, Doddridge, Hampshire, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Monongalia, Pleasants, Preston, Randolph, Ritchie, Taylor, Tyler, Wayne, and Wirt, reported less than twenty negative ballots. Six predominantly secessionist counties provided no returns." pg. 141, West Virginia, A History (I underlined "intimidation" to show that I am not the only one who sees intimidation in the Wheeling votes).

    My views are also similar to those of Russel Weigley, historian for the US Army War College, who wrote this in his "A Great Civil War".

    "There was good reason for the President and Congress to be feel concern about the methods that led West Virginia to statehood, apart from the constitutional niceties. Even less effort toward rational, moderating direction from Washington had gone into West Virginia than into Missouri. Here was yet another instance of the war's running out of control, creating its own momentum, with the predictable unhappy consequences. In much of the new state, the Confederacy in fact dominated throughout the war, all the more firmly supported by a local population resentful of attempts to alter its state allegiance against its will. Except in the Ohio River counties, the new state could enforce its writ only under the bayonets of the Union Army. Not only could there have been no West Virginia without military victories such as McClellan won in the late spring and early summer of 1861; it remained true that except along the Ohio River the Unionist state government and Unionist citizens had no safety but in the immediate vicinity of the army. Confederate sympathies that were intensified by the highhanded dismemberment of Virginia threw up yet another guerrilla conflict, wracking West Virginia much as the similar guerrilla conflict, similarly precipitated, devastated Missouri. Most of West Virginia went through the Civil war not as an asset to the Union but as a troublesome battleground, while the Unionist Ohio River counties struggled to cope with the tide of refugees fleeing to their sanctuary from the interior."

    And I am not the first to refer to the Wheeling Unionists as a "junta". That was done in 1926 by J.G. Randall in his Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln, when he referred to the Central Committee (Pierpont and Co.), as a sort of junta. Randall was one of the first to question the legitimacy of the Pierpont government.

    https://archive.org/stream/constitutionalpr00randa#page/432/mode/2up


    So I've expressed my views on the subject, and will leave it at that, I hope.
     
  12. 16thVA

    16thVA First Sergeant

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    Thank you Eagle Eye. My work on the Camp Chase books I believe is my contribution to WV history, no one has bothered with it before. Mark Neely wrote that the Camp Chase books had been lost, so imagine my surprise when I found them on Familysearch. It will take me a few more years probably, I'm very slow and it is tedious in the extreme. I also have a volume of prisoners to research in the local National Archives branch which is solely Wheeling Atheneum prisoners. Many prisoners were kept there and not sent on to Camp Chase, so I've no doubt hundreds more names will be added. The Camp Chase books do repeat names sometimes as many as 5 or 6 times, but I decided to list every name as it occurs and when I finish I will do a spreadsheet and eliminate the duplicate names.

    I am compiling my research into a book with full references, but unfortunately it is on a computer that just died, but I'm pretty sure I can get it going again. I didn't do any backups.
     
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  13. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin Captain

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    Wrong. The legislature consisted of those that won the May 1861 election and chose to remain loyal to the US. See http://www.wvculture.org/history/statehood/statehood08.html


    Which is the reason why the loyal legislature considered itself the proper one -- as opposed to the rebels in Richmond who had set up shop for themselves claiming they were no longer in the US.

    I disagree. Their actions were true to the Constitution of the State and the Constitution of the US. The constituencies they represented had opposed secession. So in terms of duty and constituency, they were acting in the right.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
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  14. Eagle eye

    Eagle eye First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    --------------------------
    Well I wish you all the luck in the world on your research & writing your book.
    Do you have any references for what Union units had Gaurd duty for Camp Chase? My GGF served in the 165th OVI & part of the Regiment were sent into Kentucky to track down some bushwackers & the rest of the 165th served as camp guards at Camp Chase. Since the 165th was a 90 day service unit there isn't much history to find but I'm curious how both elements of the unit fared out before returning home. Most members of the 165th were from Brown County, OH & mostly tobacco farmers. The Brown County county seat was Georgetown, OH which is where U. S. Grant lived most of his childhood. He left there when he entered West Point at age 18. I think he visited once during the war & if I'm not mistaken never went there again even tho he had the fondest memories of growing up there & was fond of riding his horse throughout the county roads.
    Anyway 16th VA, if you've got any leads on Camp Chase guards I would appreciate your help.
     
  15. 16thVA

    16thVA First Sergeant

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    You can try this website which is no longer current but was archived, there is a ton of material on it.

    http://www.oocities.org/pentagon/quarters/5109/Chronicles_1861.html
     
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  16. 16thVA

    16thVA First Sergeant

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    Ned, the difference between our viewpoints is that you are still fighting the Civil War, and I am looking at what happened in West Virginia from a 21st Century viewpoint. Lincoln and Pierpont could bake a legal fiction apple pie, but that doesn't mean that I have to be fool enough to sit down with a knife and fork and try to eat it.

    I don't think an American historian could really tackle the Civil War history of West Virginia, I think a Latin American or European historian would be better equipped to see it more clearly.
     
  17. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin Captain

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    LOL. Comical explanation. You continue to not have a grasp of the facts of the situation.
     
  18. Eagle eye

    Eagle eye First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    ----------------------------
    Thanks 16VA… I appreciate your thoughtfulness by sending the link. Don't think I'll find much about my GGF & the 165th OVI but it looks like I'll learn something about Camp Chase so it can be a win/win for me! I'll settle for 1 win & be pleased with that. Thanks again.
     
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  19. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    So which are you. Latin American or European?
     
  20. 16thVA

    16thVA First Sergeant

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    I'm not an historian OpnCoronet, I am a gifted amateur.
     
  21. trice

    trice Major

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    For anyone interested, here are the members of the Wheeling Convention in 1861 who were also elected members of the Virginia state legislature (county listed first):
    Barbour -- N. H. Taft Virginia Assembly
    Brooke -- H. W. Crothers Virginia Assembly
    Cabell -- Albert Laidley Virginia Assembly
    Monongalia -- Leroy Kramer Virginia Assembly
    Monongalia -- Joseph Snider Virginia Assembly
    Ohio -- Thomas H. Logan Virginia Assembly
    Ohio -- Andrew Wilson Virginia Assembly
    Pleasants and Ritchie -- James W. Williamson Virginia Assembly
    Preston -- Charles Hooten Virginia Assembly
    Preston -- William Zinn Virginia Assembly
    Taylor -- Lemuel E. Davidson Virginia Assembly
    Upshur -- D. D. T. Farnsworth Virginia Assembly
    Wayne -- William Radcliffe Virginia Assembly
    Wetzel -- James G. West Virginia Assembly
    Wirt -- James A. Williamson Virginia Assembly
    Wood -- John W. Moss Virginia Assembly
    Doddridge, Tyler -- William I. Boreman Virginia Assembly
    Hancock -- George McPorter Virginia Assembly
    Harrison -- John J. Davis Virginia Assembly
    Harrison -- John C. Vance Virginia Assembly
    Jackson -- Daniel Frost Virginia Assembly
    Kanawha -- Lewis Ruffner Virginia Assembly
    Marion -- Richard Fast Virginia Assembly
    Marion -- Fontain Smith Virginia Assembly
    Marshall -- Remembrance Swan Virginia Assembly
    Mason -- Lewis Wetzel Virginia Assembly
    Brooke -- Joseph Gist Virginia Senator
    Hampshire -- James Carskadon Virginia Senator
    Harrison Chapman J. Stewart Virginia Senator
     

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