HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, May 26, 1861.
SOLDIERS: You are ordered to cross the frontier and enter upon the soil of Virginia. Your mission is to restore peace and confidence, to protect the majesty of the law, and to rescue our brethren from the grasp of armed traitors. Your are to act in concert with the Virginia troops, and to support their advance. I place under the safeguard of your honor the persons and property of the Virginians. I know that you will respect their feelings and all their rights. Preserve the strictest discipline; remember that each one of your holds in his keeping the honor of Ohio and of the Union.
If you are called upon to overcome armed opposition, I know that your courage is equal to the task; but remember that your only foes are the armed traitors, and show mercy even to them when they are in your power, for many of them are misguided. When under your protection the loyal men of Western Virginia have been enabled to organize and arm, they can protect themselves, and you can then return to your homes with the proud satisfaction of having preserved a gallant people from destruction.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding Department.
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. II. With additions and corrections. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902.