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■divines came to the churches throughout the same exten-
sive regions. Female schools of a high order were estab-
lished in many portions of the State, which were widely
patronized from the same regions as were the colleges
and the university.

Contrary to the general belief, the training of the
negroes was not neglected. For, although the teaching
of them in public was prohibited for prudential reasons,
the right of their owners to teach them was not abridged,
and very many were taught the elements of reading, etc.
Their religious instruction was generally well provided
for, and large numbers of them were members of the
same churches as were their masters and mistresses,
while they had numerous churches of their own, built by
the liberality of the whites and supplied by preachers of
their own race, but very often by those of the dominant
one. They had another sort of education which has
been rarely recognized. It is a fact that there were in
Virginia thousands of technical schools, properly so
■called, for training the negro race, in the days of slavery.
Every plantation where there was any considerable num-
ber of slaves was a well-organized and self-contained col-
ony, in which each member of the community, from the
youngest that was able to perform any light labor to the
oldest who was not helpless, had an assigned duty to per-


-form, under the direction of the master and the mistress,
or the trusted overseer, either in the household and its
surroundings or in the fields. Each of these home com-
munities had its own mechanics, or trades people of
nearly every kind, from the carders, spinners, weavers,
knitters, seamstresses and trained servants of the house-
hold and its attached flower and vegetable gardens, to the
shoemakers, blacksmiths, wagonmakers, and other crafts-
men of the home shops, and the wagon and cart drivers,
plowmen, cattle and sheep herders, and others who
conducted all the different labors of the large plantations.
Especially were there large numbers of highly-skilled
laborers on the great tobacco plantations, who, under but
light supervision, pitched, cared for, cut and cured the large
crops of tobacco, for the quantity and quality of which
Virginia was famous in all parts of the world. One need
not hesitate to say, that a better trained, better ordered,
better cared for, happier and more contented laboring
population nowhere existed within the limits of the Union.
The occupations of the people of Virginia were greatly
varied in consequence of the great variety of the surface
features of the State and their adaptations. Her oceanic
waters abounded in shell and scale fish, and gave employ-
ment to large numbers of oystermen and fishermen. The
large plantations of Tidewater were devoted to the pro-;
duction of wheat and com, and those south of the James
to peanuts and cotton ; the cultivation of sweet potatoes
was a specialty in the more easterly regions. Eastern
.and Central Midland raised large crops of wheat, from
which a superior quality of flour was manufactured, espe-
cially at Richmond, for the South American trade. West-
em Midland, then as now, added the production of large
•quantities of tobacco. The Piedmont country in its
northeastern portion, within the limits of the growth of
natural grasses, was devoted to the production of cereals
and the rearing of cattle and horses, while the large plan-
tations of the central and southwestern parts not only
produced corn and wheat, but great quantities of what is
known as heavy shipping tobacco. The elevated pasture
lands of the Blue ridge were mainly given up to grazing
and dairying. The Great Valley, from the Potomac to
the Tennessee line, the paradise of the farmer, the grazer
and the dairyman, produced bountiful crops of all the
■cereals, especially wheat and corn; large numbers of


cattle and horses were reared, and much attention was^
given to dairying as well as to general husbandry.

It should be borne in mind that in i860 there was no sea-
board connection in Virginia with the great prairie States.
The Baltimore & Ohio railroad had but just opened,
communication by rail with that region. None other of
the railways of Virginia had then crossed the Appalachi-
ans, consequently there was none of that destructive com-
petition which has now made farming unprofitable in the
Atlantic States. The wheat from Virginia, much of it
ground into flour by local mills, especially in the Valley
and in Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Richmond and Peters-
burg, found good markets, notably in Baltimore and
Richmond, for the West Indies and South America, or
the grocery trade of the United States, which then had
its best entrepots at Norfolk and Baltimore.

The people in the valleys of the Appalachian country-
and on the sloping uplands of Trans- Appalachia, were
mainly engaged in the rearing of cattle, hogs, horses and
other animals, which were driven eastward, either as
young cattle to be sold to the farmers of the Valley ahd
Piedmont for fattening from their ample corn-fields, or
were driven direct, as fat cattle, to the eastern cities,
sometimes as far northward as New York. There were
also many dwellers in cabins, surrounded by a few acres
of cleared land, within these mountain regions, wha
had little or no occupation beyond fishing and hunting.
But these were the breeding places of hardy folk, who-
were constantly drifting westward as they grew to matur-
ity, to form a considerable element in the great popula-
tions of newer States. Virginia, peopled with land-hun-
gry Anglo-Saxons, made the great mistake, from the ear-
liest days of her history, of parceling out her magnificent
domain into great patents, some of them including a half
million acres, and many of them from 50,000 to 100, ooo-
acres, at the nominal price of but a few cents an acre.
This policy prevailed, as population advanced westward,
from the Atlantic to the Ohio, until these patents, often
overlapping and loosely located, covered a large area
of all the Appalachian and Trans-Appalachian country,
left no land to be divided into parcels of moderate size
for the use of the home-builder, and introduced uncer-
tainty of land titles, all greatly detrimental to the peo-
pling of that very desirable and intrinsically rich region^


across which and from which, largely because of this uncer-
tainty of title and of the tempting parceling out of the
great prairie States into sections and fractions of sec-
tions of land, the population of Virginia, from the sea-
board to the mountains, drifted westward, leaving only
stranded fragments of good stock along the way which
ignorant writers describe as "poor whites" of a different
origin from the main sturdy stock of the Virginia people.

The northwesterly portion of the Trans-Appalachian
country and the broad bottom lands of the Ohio and its
tributaries, early attracted from the eastward a thrifty
and intelligent class of people, who made that a highly-
productive grazing and agricultural region, which found
markets for its products on the hoof eastward, or in flat-
boats westward on the flood tides of its numerous rivers.
The manufacture of salt at various localities, especially
on the Great Kanawha, was one of the leading indus-
tries of that section, supplying much of the Mississippi
valley with its prime necessity of human life. Coal min-
ing was also becoming an important industry on the
Kanawha, the Monongahela and along the Ohio, the
product of the mines finding markets in Cincinnati,
Louisville, and even New Orleans. The distilling of
petroleum, from cannel coal, had assumed very consid-
erable proportions, especially along the Kanawha, when
the discovery of natural petroleum, near i860, by the
boring of wells on the waters of the Little Kanawha,
marked the beginning of the trade in petroleum, which
has become one of the largest and most profitable in the
whole world.

Of the 297,354 of Virginia's white population reported
as engaged, in i860, in gainful occupations, 108,958 were
farmers and 30,518 were farm laborers; showing that
a very large proportion of her people were engaged
in farming or planting. Of the so-called profes-
sional classes, there were 3,441 lawyers, 2,467 physi-
cians and 1,437 clergymen. Her population was mainly
rural in habitation ; she had no cities of large size. Rich-
mond contained but 37,910 inhabitants; Petersburg,
1 8, 266, and Norfolk and Portsmouth but 24, 1 1 6 ; Wheeling,
the metropolis of northwestern Virginia, contained but
14,083. The manufacturers of all kinds were compara-
tively few in number; they were mostly the black-
smiths, bricklayers, carpenters, shoemakers and wheel-


■Wrights of the towns and villages throughout the com-

Her military population, the white men of the State
between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, was 196,587 ;
a striking contrast to the 1,099,855 at that time within
the limits of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, States to the
west of her borders that had, by her own action, been
cut from her territory, and a very large percentage of
whose population was of Virginian origin; and yet her
fighting population was considerably larger than that of
any other Southern State except Missouri. The avail-
able number of Virginia's arms-bearing population in i86o-
was so decreased by the Union element and the secession
from the State by West Virginia that she had not more
than 150,000 fighting men to respond to her call for
troops after the secession from the Union in 1861.

Prior to the first census Virginia had 10 representatives
in the United States Congress; the first census, that
of 1790, gave her 19, the second 22, the third 23, the
fourth 22, the fifth 21, the sixth 15, the seventh 13, and the
eighth, that of i860, 11. The center of population of the
United States at each of the five decades, from 18 10 to
1850, was within her borders. Her density of population
in i860 was about 25 to the square mile.

From the historical standpoint, Virginia occupied an.
enviable position. From the threshold of i860 she looked
back upon an heroic and glorious past. Her Capt. John
Smith — leader, diplomat, fighter, explorer, geographer,
historian and adventurer — would have been a notable
figure in any age. In 161 9, before the establishing of
any other English colony in America, she assembled an
elected house of burgesses and entered upon a represent-
ative career which, from that time forward, stoutly main-
tained the rights of her people to govern themselves;
and even in submitting to the Cromwellian parliament in
1652, she secured a continuance of her representative
law-making privileges. Proud of her loyalty in the resto-
ration of 1660, she hesitated not to rebel, in 1676, against
the usurping authority of the royal parliament, and
against that of the royal governor who failed to obey her
orders and protect the colony against Indian outrages, and
endeavored to rule without consent of the people. Her
Governor Spotswood, who came in 17 10, was by far the
most prominent figure of his time in the American col-


onies. In 1714 he established the first blast-furnace for
the manufacture of iron, on the bank of the Rappahan-
nock, within the afterward famous battlefield of Chancel-
lorsville. He was the first, in 1716, to lead an expedition
across the Blue ridge into the famous Shenandoah valley,
and in 1730 became the deputy postmaster-general of all
the colonies.

When the French and Indian war of 1750 began, and
France claimed the territory drained by the Ohio, Vir-
ginia had a young Washington to send on a diplomatic
errand to the French, at the head of that river; to lead
her citizen soldiery, in 1754, in the unequal combat of the
Great Meadows, and in 1755 to save from complete dis-
aster the British regulars under Braddock. When
England attempted taxation without representation,, in
1765, her Patrick Henry fired the colonies to resistance.
In 1769 she called a revolutionary convention, which
denounced the acts of the British parliament. In 1774
she sent representatives to the first Continental Con-
gress, in the persons of Peyton Randolph, Richard
Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard
Bland and Edmund Pendleton, all men of mark, who
helped, then and there, to lay the foundations for a Fed-
eral union. In 1774 her brave and hardy men of the
Great Valley and the mountains beyond, the fighting
Scotch- Irishmen under the leadership of Lewis, met the
combined Indian power of the Northwest, in a fierce
struggle at the mouth of the Kanawha on the bank of
the Ohio, and not only established Virginia's claim to
the Northwest, but broke up the combination that, by
Indian invasions in the rear, would have defeated the
contention of the colonies with the mother country, if it
had succeeded.

In 1775 the elected delegates of her people assembled
in convention in Richmond, and resolved to put the col-
ony in a state of defense against the aggressions of the
crown, and followed these resolutions by ordering the
enlisting and drilling in companies of soldiers throughout
the commonwealth. A troop of these from Hanover,
led by Patrick Henry, compelled the royal governor to
pay for the powder of the colony that he had unlawfully
removed from Williamsburg to shipboard. When the
second Continental Congress met, in 1775, Peyton Ran-
dolph, of Virginia, was again chosen to preside over it ;


and when that body, moved to action by the conduct of
the British troops in Boston, formed a Federal union
under the name of the United Colonies, and authorized
the raising of a Continental army, her George Washing-
ton was chosen its commander-in-chief and took com-
mand at Cambridge, Mass., on the 2d of July, 1775.

The Virginia people again met in convention on the
17th of July, 1775, and chose a committee of safety to
take charge of the affairs of the colony, ordered the enlist-
ment of troops, passed laws for the raising of money, the
procuring of arms and military supplies, and for the con-
ducting of elections by loyal voters. The story of the
revolution need not be repeated. Virginia's Washington,
after seven long years of arduous struggle and endur-
ance, brought it to a successful termination, at her York-
town, in 1 781. But it is well to recall that it was Virginia,
the most conservative of the colonies, which in the con-
vention of 1776, on the 6th of May, instructed her dele-
gates in Congress to propose "to declare the United Col-
onies free and independent States;" and that this resulted
in a Declaration of Independence, on the 4th of July,
J 7 76, which was drawn by her Thomas Jefferson.



WHILE the war of 1861-65 between the Union, or
Northern and non-slaveholding States, and the
Confederate, or Southern and slaveholding was
not fought by the South as a whole, and certainly
not by Virginia, for the perpetuation of slavery, nor by
the North, at least in its inception, for its abolition ; yet
every candid student of the history of the colonies and
the States must admit that the slavery question, often
under the name of "State rights" of one kind or
another, was a dominant factor making issues that led
to the temporary disruption of the Union. The history
of Virginia during that war would be incomplete without
a brief review of the story of her prior connection with
African slavery.

Slaves were introduced into Virginia by Dutch mer-
chantmen in 1619 ; from that time the importation of Afri-
can negroes was engaged in by nearly all the commercial
nations of Europe, especially by the Dutch, Spanish,
French, Portuguese and British. In 1646, a ship from
Boston was the first from the American colonies, so far
as known, to engage in this traffic, which from that time
until 1808 was more or less shared in by the commer-
cial Northern States. In 1670 there were 2,000 slaves in
Virginia. At the breaking out of the revolution, slavery
extended over the North American continent wher-
ever settled by Europeans. In 1774, Rhode Island,
which up to that time had been considerably engaged in
the slave trade, interdicted the importation of slaves into
her borders. In 1778, Virginia, the second of the States
to act, prohibited the introduction of slaves from abroad.
Other States followed and gradual emancipation began in
many of the Northern States. When Maryland refused
to sign the articles of confederation of 1777, unless Vir-


Va 2


ginia would give up to the confederation the great North-
west Territory beyond the Ohio, which all concede be-
longed to her by rights of charter, conquest and treaty,
Virginia generously granted the request and conveyed
that great region to the Union in 1787, only providing,
that it should eventually be divided into four or five
States, to be admitted on an equal footing with the orig-
inal thirteen ; that she should have land there, in desig-
nated localities, to distribute to her revolutionary soldiers,
and that slavery should be forever prohibited from that
region, but that slaves fleeing there from other States
should be returned to their owners. By this deed of gift
Virginia did more to draw the line of actual separation
between the North and South on the question of slavery
than did any or all other States combined ; for the great
and populous States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin
and part of Michigan, which were created from that ter-
ritory, were the strongest factors in sustaining the North
during the civil war,* and in eventually saving the Union.

The federal convention of 1787, which framed the Con-
stitution of the United States, provided, as one of its
compromises, that the slave trade should not be abolished
by Congress until 1808. This was opposed by Virginia,
who desired its immediate prohibition ; but it was adopted
by a vote of the New England States joined with South
Carolina and Georgia. Virginia was the author of the
compromise upon the question of negro representation
in the convention of 1787, and probably saved that body
from disruption and secured the adoption of the Constitu-
tion. South Carolina determined to leave the convention
if her negroes were not counted for her representation in
the Congress, and it was evident that Georgia and North
Carolina would follow her example ; in which event the
number of States to ratify the action of the convention
would be wanting. Virginia proposed and carried
through, as a compromise, the provision that five negroes
should be counted as equivalent to three white people
in making up Federal representation.

As one after another of the Northern States abolished
slavery and the States carved from the Northwest Terri-

* It is diffictdt to give the proper title to the war of 1861-65. It
was not technically civil war, because it was not waged among citi-
zens. Strictly speaking, it was not "Confederate," as it was not
instituted by the Confederacy. The term civil is now commonly
used.— [Editor.


tory were organized as free States, the agitation of the
slavery question continued. In 1820 another compromise
was adopted upon the admission of Missouri as a State,
which provided that slavery should not be allowed in aiiy
State of the Union north of 36° 30', the latitude of the
southern boundary of Missouri. In effecting this com-
promise, Virginia took a prominent part, acting as medi-
ator between the two sections.

The agitation of the slavery question continiied not
only between the States of the Union, but within the lim-
its of Virginia herself, as nearly one-third of her terri-
tory, mainly the Trans-Appalachian region, was prac-
tically a free State, and its citizens, many of whom were
from the adjacent States of Pennsylvania and Ohio, con-
stantly demanded special legislation on questions of rep-
resentation in the general assembly, in consequence of
the large preponderance of negroes east of that chain of
mountains. Many citizens of the Great Valley and of
Appalachia were much in sympathy with this feeling,
and in 1823 the State came very near adopting gradual
emancipation, a large number of the most influential men
in every portion of the commonwealth favoring it. The
chief hindering cause was the question, still unanswered,
"What shall be done with this great body of negroes
when emancipated?" About that time the abolitionists
throughout the free States became very zealous in the
propagation of their peculiar views upon the subject of
slavery, and deluged Congress with petitions against it
and flooded the country with abolition publications. This
provoked a reaction in sentiment in Virginia and the
other Southern States, which again led, in 1838, to the
adoption of "State rights" resolutions lay Congress, re-
affirming that the Federal government had no right to
interfere with slavery in the States where it existed.
This for the time being quieted the agitation, but the
question came up again in 1845, when it was proposed to
annex Texas; and was again settled by a compromise
agreement, that four new States might be formed out of
that great country, those north of 36° 30' to be free
States, and those south of it either free or slave as their
citizens might elect.

The propagandists of the North and the ultra slave-
holders of the South, as contending factions, still contin-
ued the agitation of this question. The three leading


religious denominations of the United States divided into
northern and southern churches. In 1849 the question
of the admission of California again brought strife on
this subject into the Congress. After a long contention,
the compromise measures of 1850, introduced by Henry-
Clay, were adopted, the majority of Virginians favoring
them ; but the question of the rights of the separate States
in the territories was still left open. Then began "the
irrepressible conflict, ' ' which could only be settled, as it
subsequently proved, by a gigantic war.

The execution of the fugitive slave law, one of the com-
promise measures of 1850, soon became a flaming fire-
brand waving between the free and the slave States. In
1854 the Kansas- Nebraska bill brought to fever heat the
question of the control of slavery in the territories by
those living therein ; but, in spite of bitter opposition, a
bill favoring the claims of the South was passed by a major-
ity of nearly two- thirds of the Senate and 13 in the
House, although representation in Congress at that time
was Northern by a large majority. This result was largely
brought about by the influence of Stephen A. Douglas, of
Illinois, who contended that under the legislation of 1850
the citizens settled in the territories had the right to de-
cide the question of slavery for themselves.

A reign of terror followed in Kansas, in 1855, when the
two factions, each aided by extremists from either section
of the Union, met in conflict, and opposing territorial gov-
ernments were organized. In 1856, John Brown, a fanat-
ical abolitionist, backed by others of that faction, mainly
in New England, took an active part in these contentions
in Kansas, leading a night attack against his pro-slavery
neighbors. Riots occurred in Boston when a United
States marshal attempted to enforce the fugitive slave
law, and New England sent men, money and arms for
the Kansas conflict.

In 1856 the question of the right of the owners of slaves
to carry them into the territories came before the Supreme
court of the United States for a decision, in the case of
Dred Scott. The court held that the "Missouri compro-
mise" was unconstitutional, that the territories were the
common property of all the States, and that the Federal
government was bound to protect the slaves as well as the
other property of citizens settling in these territories. This
added fuel to the flame of abolitionism. In the presi-


dential election of 1856, a Free Soil or Abolition party,
under the name of the Republican party, engaged in the
contest for the presidency which resulted in the election
of James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, a Democrat. The
Congress that met in December of that year was organ-
ized with a Southern speaker, Orr, of South Carolina, and

Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 2 of 153)