Governor Francis H. Pierpont to President Abraham Lincoln, September 3, 1861, Letter Book (1861–1864), 31–32, Executive Papers of Governor Francis H. Pierpont, 1861–1865, Acc. 36928, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.
Governor Francis H. Pierpont wrote to President Abraham Lincoln on September 3, 1861, advising him about how best to call out the militia in western Virginia, because "if W. Va. is held until Decr. it will be a death blow to Secession in this region." Fighting had occurred in many regions of western Virginia beginning at Philippi on June 3, 1861. At Rich Mountain, in Randolph County, on July 11, George B. McClellan, a major general of Ohio Volunteers, secured much of western Virginia for the Union. At Cheat Mountain in Pocahontas County, September 11–13, 1861, one week after Pierpont's letter to Lincoln, Union forces again prevailed over Confederate soldiers, commanded for the first time by Robert E. Lee.