Today in History:

196 Series I Volume II- Serial 2 - First Manassas

Page 196 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.

Grafton, Va., June 23, 1861.

To the Inhabitants of Western Virginia:

The army of this department, headed by Virginia troops, is rapidly occupying all Western Virginia. This is done in co-operation with, and in support of, such civil authorities of the State as are faithful to the Constitution and laws of the United States. The proclamation issued by me under date of May 26, 1861, will be strictly maintained. Your houses, families, property, and all your rights will be religiously respected; we are enemies to none but armed rebels and those voluntarily giving them aid. All officers of this army will be held responsible for the most prompt and vigorous action in repressing disorder and punishing aggression by those under their command.

To me great retreat I find that enemies of the United States continue to carry on a system of hostilities prohibited by the laws of war among belligerent nations, and of course far more wicked and intolerable when directed against loyal citizens engaged in the defense of the common Government of all. Individuals and marauding parties are pursuing a guerrilla warfare, firing upon sentinels and pickets, burning bridges, insulting, injuring, and even killing citizens because of their Union sentiments, and committing many kindred acts.

I do now, therefore, make proclamation, and warn all persons that individuals or parties engaged in this species of warfare-irregular in every view which can be taken of it-thus attacking sentries, pickets, or other soldiers, destroying public or private property, or committing injuries against any of the inhabitants because of Union sentiments or conduct, will be dealt with in their persons and properly according to the severest rules of military law.

All persons giving information or aid to the public enemies will be arrested and kept in close custody, and all persons found bearing arms, unless of known loyalty, will be arrested and held for examination.


Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding Department.

Grafton, Va., June 25, 1861.

To the Soldiers of the Army of the West:

You are here to support the Government of your country, and to protect the lines and liberties of your brethren, threatened by a rebellious and traitorous foe. No higher and nobler city could devolve upon you, and i expect you to bring to its performance the highest and noblest qualities of soldiers-discipline, courage, and mercy. I call upon the officers of every grade to enforce the strictest discipline, and I know that those of all grades, privates and officers, will display in battle cool, heroic courage, and will know how to show mercy to a disarmed enemy.

Bear in mind that you are in the country of friends, not of enemies; that you are here to protect, not to destroy. Take nothing, destroy nothing, unless you are ordered to do so by your general officers. Remember that I have pledged my word to the people of Western Virginia that their right in person and property shall be respected. I ask every one of you to make good this promise in its broadest sense. We come here to save, not to upturn. I do not appeal to the fear of punishment, but to your appreciation of the sacredness of the cause in which we are engaged. Carry with you into battle the conviction that you are right, and that God is on your side.

Page 196 OPERATIONS IN MD., PA., VA., AND W. VA. Chapter IX.