It is not expected that we should give here a history of the recent war, from 1861 to 1865; but a brief account of the state of affairs in the county during that period will be attempted. Much has been written and published about the battles of the war and the life of soldiers in the field; we propose to relate succinctly how the people at home fared, what they saw and heard, what they thought, and how they felt.
Until the war actually arose, the sentiments of the people of Augusta, with the exception of a few individuals, was earnestly in favor of maintaining the Union. At the Presidential election, Breckinridge, who was regarded as the secession candidate (although most of his supporters denied that he was), received only 218 votes in the county, while Bell received 2,553, and Douglas, 1,094.
As soon as the result of the election was known, the people of South Carolina took steps to secede from the Union; and thereupon many citizens of Augusta published a call for a county mass-meeting on Saturday, November 17, to consult as to what course was necessary “for the preservation of the Union in the present alarming condition of our country.” The meeting was held in the court-house on the day named, and was large and enthusiastic. Alexander H. H. Stuart presided, and John L. Peyton acted as secretary. It was resolved to appoint a committee of thirteen to report to a meeting at November court such resolutions as they might deem proper for the people o f Augusta to adopt. By vote of the meeting, Mr. Stuart was made chairman of the committee, and the other members were Hugh W. Sheffey, George Baylor, John B. Baldwin, John L. Peyton, Kenton Harper, John D. Imboden, George M. Cochran, Jr., Joseph A. Waddell, John McCue, Benjamin Crawford, Gerard B. Stuart, and Robert Guy.
On November court day, (the 26th), the court-house was crowded with people anxious to participate in the proceedings, and never were more interest and anxiety exhibited by a popular assembly. A series of resolutions, written by Hugh W. Sheffey, and with some modifications
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Edited Annals of Augusta County,Virginia, from 1726 to 1871 copyright © 2006-2017 by EagleRidge Technologies, Inc..