Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia

Loyal Conventions in Wheeling Restore Virginia to the Union

Union or Secession
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  • Section 1 of the Ordinance to Provide for the Formation of a New State, passed on August 20, 1861, Virginia Convention (1861: Wheeling), Ordinances, 1861, Acc. 40654, State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia.,
    "The proposed new State"
  • Editorial in the Wheeling <em>Daily Intelligencer</em>, May 13, 1861.,
    "Action for Western Virginia"
  • Excerpts from an address "To the People of North Western Virginia," Wheeling <em>Daily Intelligencer</em>, 21 May 1861.,
    We know our rights and dare maintain them
  • Excerpt from an address "To the People of North Western Virginia," May 22, 1861, Wheeling <em>Daily Intelligencer</em>, May 27, 1861.,
    "Remain true to the Union"
  • Excerpt from an editorial in the Wheeling <em>Daily Intelligencer</em>, June 11, 1861.,
    "Our unworthy public officials"
  • Election Return, Preston County, October 24, 1861, Virginia Convention (1861: Richmond), Records, 1861–1961, Acc. 40586, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 93, Library of Virginia.,
    Preston County Election Return
  • Excerpt from Arthur Ingraham Boreman's speech accepting the presidency of the Virginia Convention in Wheeling on June 12, 1861. Virgil A. Lewis, ed., <em>How West Virginia Was Made: Proceedings of the First Convention of the People of Northwestern Virginia at Wheeling May 13, 14, and 15, 1861, and the Journal of the Second Convention of the People of Northwestern Virginia at Wheeling, Which Assembled, June 11th, 1861 . . .</em> (Charleston, W.Va.: News-Mail Company, Public Printer, 1909), 81–83.,
    "A government for ourselves"
  • Excerpts from the inaugural address of Governor Francis H. Pierpont before the convention in Wheeling, on June 20, 1861, printed in the Wheeling <em>Daily Intelligencer</em>, June 21, 1861.,
    Pierpont's inaugural address
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Loyal Conventions in Wheeling Restore Virginia to the Union

Before the first session of the convention adjourned in Richmond on May 1, 1861, several of the leading northwestern Unionists returned home and called for a convention to meet in Wheeling. It issued a formal call for the election of delegates to a June 1861 convention that also met in Wheeling and that replaced the state officials of Virginia with officials loyal to the United States. The convention also obtained recognition from the president of the United States that the Virginia state government in Wheeling was the loyal government of Virginia and that it remained part of the United States. Later, in August 1861, a third convention in Wheeling issued the call for election of a constitutional convention to create a new state consisting of western and northwestern counties of old Virginia. Initially called Kanawha and later called West Virginia, it was admitted to the Union as a free state in June 1863.

Virginia Conventions in Wheeling

Men in western Virginia assembled at conventions in Wheeling during the summer of 1861 and took steps toward separating some of the western and northwestern counties from Virginia and creating a new state.

Restored Government of Virginia

From June 1861 until April 1865 Virginia had two state governments. The state government with its capital in Richmond was part of the Confederate States of America, and the state government with its capital in Wheeling until the summer of 1863 and thereafter in Alexandria was part of the United States of America.

Featured Biographies:

  • Arthur Ingraham Boreman (1823-1896)
  • Archibald W. Campbell (1833-1899)
  • John Snyder Carlile (1817-1878)