HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, May 26, 1861.
To the Union Men of Western Virginia:
VIRGINIA: The General Government has long enough endured the machinations of a few factious rebels in your midst. Armed traitors have in vain endeavored to deter you form expressing your loyalty at the polls. Having failed in this infamous attempt to deprive you of the exercise of your dearest rights, they now seek to inaugurate a reign of terror, and thus force you to yield schemes, and submit to the yoke of the traitorous conspiracy dignified by the name of Southern Confederacy.
They are destroying the property of citizens of your State and ruining your magnificent railways. The General Government has heretofore carefully abstained from sending troops across the Ohio, or even from posting them along it s banks, although frequently urged by many of your prominent citizens to do so. I determined to await the result of the late election, desirous that no one might be able to say that the slightest effort had been made form this side to on fluency the free expression of your opinion, although the many agencies brought to bear upon you by the rebels were well known.
You have now shown, under the most adverse circumstances, that the great mass of the people of Western Virginia are true and loyal to that beneficent Government under which we and our fathers have lived so ling. As soon as the result of the election was known the traitors commenced their work of destruction. The General Government cannot close its ears to the demand you have made for assistance. I have ordered troops to cross the river. They some as your friends and brothers – as enemies only to the armed rebels who are preying upon you. Your homes, your families, and your property are safe under our protection. All your rights shall be religiously respected.
Notwithstanding all that has been said by the traitors to induce you to believe that our advent among you will signalized by interference with your slaves, understand one thing clearly–not only will we abstain from all such interference, but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand, crush any attempt at insurrection on their part. Now that we are in your midst, I call upon you to fly to arms and support the General Government.
Sever the connection that binds you to traitors. Proclaim to the world that the faith and loyalty so long boasted by the Old dominion are still preserved in Western Virginia, and that you remain true to the Stars and Stripes.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
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.