Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
May 13, 1861

Richmond Daily Dispatch
May 20, 1861

"Union Meeting" in Berkeley.

--A meeting of "Union-loving" citizens was held in Martinsburg, Berkeley county, Va., last week, and after the adoption of a long preamble and resolutions, nominated C. M. Shaffer and B. M. Kitchen for the General Assembly, and John Janney for the Northern Congress. Alluding to the meeting, that conservative journal, the Alexandria Gazette, says:

We have not a word to say against the worth, respectability and intelligence of those who composed the meeting. Their language is earnest and determined : but it is respectful, and, as citizens of a free Commonwealth, called by law to decide upon the subject which they discuss, they are entitled to hold and express their opinions, in their county meeting, freely and fearlessly. It is probable, too, that some not agreeing with them in their conclusions as to the best course now to be adopted, may unite with them, in dissenting from some of the movements in this State. But when they ask if this can be a holy war, we answer, in so far as it is waged against the South, it is an unjust and unconstitutional war; when they "protest" against the excesses in Virginia, they should still more violently protest against the conduct of Lincoln's Administration : and when they oppose separation from a broken-up government, they should show how longer continuance under such a government is compatible with the preservation of our rights, or a regard to our best interests.--Indeed, the course of events seems to have merged all other questions into the one of resisting further aggression from the North.

Richmond Daily Dispatch
May 21, 1861

Mr. Janney and the Berkeley meeting.

--A meeting of citizens of disloyal proclivities was lately held in Berkeley county, at which, among other traitorous proceedings, a resolution was adopted nominating Mr. John Janney as a candidate for Congress. The committee appointed to notify that gentleman received the following stinging rebuke for themselves and their coadjutors:

Leesburg, May 15, 1861.

I have this moment received your letter of the 14th inst., informing me that at a public meeting of the citizens of Berkeley county, held in Martinsburg on the 13th inst., my name was announced as a candidate for Congress, and your express the hope that I will respond favorably to the nomination, and make my acceptance of it as public as possible, previous to the election, to be held on the 23d inst.

If the political condition of our country were now as it was two years ago, reasons of a private and personal character would oblige me to decline your nomination; but halving all considerations of this kind, there are now existing the gravest causes of a public character, which, in my judgment, make it my imperative duty to decline its acceptance without a moment's hesitation.

On the 23d instant, the people of Virginia are to cast their votes for the ratification or rejection of the Ordinance of Secession, adopted by the Convention on the 17th of April, and by the result, it is now, and has long been, my fixed purpose to abide. My own opinions of past events have been as decided and as firm as those of most men, and they have on all proper occasions been freely expressed, but I have now to deal with the practical issues which he before us. The destiny of Virginia is my destiny, and with her I shall sink or swim.

John Janney.

Very respectfully, your fellow-citizens,
Messrs. Cramer, Herring, Dorsey, Miller, Curtis, Conrad and others.

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: May 1861

West Virginia Archives and History