Once again, those who would have us believe that the northwestern counties of Virginia opted to support the union in the late War Between the States have sounded an interesting – if untrue – account of the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
On the anniversary of that battle, recent pro-union accounts extolled the virtues of the union soldiers from West Virginia who participated. No mention was made, by United States Senator Joe Manchin, Charleston Councilman Andy Richardson and others, of the Confederate participants from the Mountain State counties.
It is true that anyone visiting Gettysburg’s battlefield will see four memorials erected in honor of so-called West Virginia soldiers. There are no monuments to the huge majority of West Virginians who participated on the Confederate side. These West Virginians were part of the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee. Since the Confederacy did not recognize the illegal, breakaway “government” of the Restored State of Virginia, West Virginians in Confederate units remained Virginians, and rightly so.
On the subject of those “West Virginia” units at Gettysburg, Artillery Co. C was based in Ohio; the First West Virginia Infantry had about 61 percent Ohio and Pennsylvania men; the Seventh West Virginia Infantry was about 40 percent non-West Virginia. The only unit made up of a large majority of West Virginians was the Third West Virginia Calvary.
In fact, Jenkins’ Confederate Brigade, 1,300 strong, likely included more Virginians from present-day West Virginia counties than all the Federal forces combined.
On the Confederate side, the 16th Virginia Calvary included soldiers from Cabell, Putnam, Wayne and Kanawha counties. Mercer, Harrison, Lewis, Summers, Wood, Jackson, Wirt, Roane Kanawha and Nicholas countians dominated the 17th Virginia Calvary. Wayne, Logan, Cabell, McDowell, Mercer, Summers, Wyoming and Raleigh counties comprised the 34th Virginia Battalion; with Greenbrier, Monroe, Braxton, Clay, Roane, Nicholas, Cabell, Putnam, Ohio, Wood, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Boone and Jackson counties making up the 36th Virginia Battalion. Thomas E. Jackson’s Battery came from Kanawha, Mason and Wayne with Captain Robert A. Richardson’s 24th Virginia Infantry based in Mercer County.
Brigadier General William Smith’s 31st Virginia Infantry was made up of men from Marion, Taylor, Monongalia, Harrison, Gilmer, Braxton, Randolph, Pocahontas, Barbour and Lewis counties. The 18th Virginia Cavalry, under Brigadier General John Imboden, included Randolph, Pendleton, Tucker, Hampshire and Hardy counties. The 62nd Virginia (Mounted) Infantry came from Hardy, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Barbour, Tucker, Braxton, Webster, Upshur and Pendleton counties.
McNeill’s Rangers were from Hardy County. The 25th Virginia Infantry was made up of soldiers from Taylor, Ritchie, Upshur, Braxton, Webster, Pendleton, Hardy and Pocahontas. The Stonewall Brigade, under Brigadier General James A. Walker, came from Jefferson and Berkeley counties. The 27th Virginia Infantry was from Monroe, Greenbrier and Ohio counties with the 33rd Virginia Infantry coming from Hampshire and Hardy.
Manchin and others took time out to praise the union soldiers at Gettysburg but made no comment about the vast majority of West Virginians who fought and died for the Confederacy. Again, it is a revised form of history being perpetuated by these folks who want to glorify an illegal act that occurred 150 years ago. As I mentioned earlier, no new state can be created from an existing state without the permission of the current state. The Lincoln government installed a dictator (Francis Pierpont) and designated him “governor of the restored State of Virginia.” It was like a justice of the peace being a conspirator with law enforcement and that’s how West Virginia was made a state. Nobody elected Pierpont except Lincoln, creating a dictatorship that The Charleston Gazette, Manchin, Richardson and those of like mind applaud 150 years later.
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One might have expected opponents of new Delegate Josh Barker to attempt to create some sort of question involving his appointment. The unlikely source of the latest challenge to Barker is State Young Republican official Rob Cornelius. Cornelius even added in an email concerning the issue that he favored the appointment of a “union guy” over Barker. That seems odd for a GOP leader but it is exactly what Cornelius said.
For the record, there is nothing in state code that requires a lengthy residence by anyone to be appointed to the legislature. Unlike one who stands as a candidate on the ballot, appointees must meet two requirements: he or she must live in the district at the time of the appointment and be a member of the same political party as the official being replaced. Barker scores 100 percent on both counts. He definitely now resides in the 22nd Delegate District and he is a Democrat, like Josh Stowers, the man he is replacing.
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I originally suggested it was smart politics for Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to appoint Barker, thus avoiding the political in-fighting in Lincoln County, where Stowers resides. Some readers were disturbed that I was “endorsing” Barker over Lincoln Countians. I simply pointed out the political realities. With Lincoln’s Democrat party nearly equally divided between two factions, I could not see how Tomblin gained any ground by appointing one of the Lincoln Countians.
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Union organizer Gary McCallister, with whom I serve on the Lincoln Public Service District board, is an honorable man who I suspect tries to do the right thing as he sees it. I cast no negative reflections on McCallister and, if he had been appointed, he would have served the district well.
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The switch of State Senator Evan Jenkins from Democrat to Republican in order to run against Democrat Congressman Nick Joe Rahall was greeted with much fanfare by state GOP officials. Although Party Chair Conrad Lucas has said the party organization will take no position in a primary election, party officials could barely contain their enthusiasm for Jenkins’ switch.
My conclusion, when asked, is that Jenkins is “Spike Maynard without Don Blankenship’s money.” I think Jenkins is a weak candidate who will be short on donations and have a real problem making much of a run against the entrenched Rahall.
In addition, Jenkins cannot “sneak up” on Rahall. The congressman knows he has to mind his p’s and q’s to win re-election. Rahall is excellent at one-on-one campaigning and has the knack for making anyone feel he is more interested in his or her well-being than anything else. Jenkins has made a terrific political miscalculation and I predict he will be a man without a party or a political future when this race is done.
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Jenkins faces the very real possibility that Rick Snuffer, the GOP’s most recent candidate against Rahall, will seek the GOP nomination again. Snuffer is, arguably, a “real Republican” as opposed to what appears to be the opportunism of Jenkins. I doubt that state Republicans will embrace Jenkins as party leaders did. Snuffer says internal national polling shows him defeating Jenkins, two-to-one. It is entirely possible that Jenkins will not make it out of the GOP primary.
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Some readers have inquired as to what I think Southern West Virginia’s thoughts on gay rights would be, if the question was put to the voters. The issue came up when nominees for the 22nd Delegate District seat pledged support of the national Democrat platform, which embraces gay and abortion rights.
My basic response has been that the overwhelming fundamental, Bible-thumpers are anti-gay. One of the nominees, McCallister, told me he could not support gay rights “because of my church.”
Those who berate and degrade homosexuals apparently do not believe their God created men and women as He saw fit. Somehow, they claim to believe in an all-powerful God who makes no mistakes while holding that He created men and women who are not in step with His doctrines.
My own position is that there should be no discrimination against those who are gay.
Here I go again as a Republican, but I see no reason to ban gay marriages. What others do will not effect my relationship with Heaven.
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Condolences are due to my closest friend, Alicia McCoy, on the passing of her fantastic cat, Charles Ray. He was loved by her and others for the 13 years he spent with Alicia and she is so devastated at his passing.
Charles Ray was a special cat, with obvious intelligence and human-like qualities. I have shed a tear, as well, at his passing. As I told Alicia, I can only hope that she finds some comfort in knowing she provided Charles a loving home for 13 years. I know that cat knew how much “mommy” cared about him.
Regular readers will recall it is Alicia who created the “Gregory’s Web” logo that appears with this column.
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Keep me up-to-date on your thoughts, rumors and story ideas. Use the email listed or call me on my cell at 304-533-5185.