A Guide to the Executive letter book of Governor Francis H. Pierpont, 1861-1864. Governor, Office of the. Virginia.37226

A Guide to the Executive letter book of Governor Francis H. Pierpont, 1861-1864.

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 37226


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Processed by: Craig S. Moore

Repository
The Library of Virginia
Identification
37226
Title
Executive letter book of Governor Francis H. Pierpont, 1861-1864.
Extent
1 v. (117 p.)
Creator
Virginia. Governor (1861-1865 : Pierpont)

Administrative Information

Conditions of Use

There are no restrictions.

Access Information

For preservation purposes, please use microfilm (Misc. reel 6191)

Preferred Citation

Virginia. Governor (1861-1865 : Pierpont). Executive letter book of Governor Francis H. Pierpont, 1861-1864. Accession 37226. State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.

Acquisition Information

Acquisition information unknown


Biographical/Historical Information

Francis Harrison Pierpont was born on January 25, 1814, just east of Morgantown, W. Va. After working on his father's farm and tannery business in Fairmont, W. Va., Pierpont studied law at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., in 1835. He was admitted into the bar in 1842 and served as counsel for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad until 1856. Pierpont was also involved in various business ventures including mining and shipping coal by rail. In December 1854, Pierpont married Julia Robinson, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. Pierpont was an active member of the Whig political party and an anti-slavery proponent. Although he did not hold political office, Pierpont acted as a spokesman for northwest Virginia delivering speeches and writing commentaries in the newspapers attacking the Democrats and slavery. When the Virginia Convention voted on April 17, 1861, to pass the Ordinance of Secession, mass meetings were held in opposition to secession in northwest Virginia. Pierpont took an active part in these meetings and in the Wheeling Convention on May 13, 1861, in which he represented Marion County. The Convention voted to defy the Secession Convention. The Second Wheeling Convention met on June 11, 1861, and Piepont was unanimously elected governor of the Restored Government of Virginia on June 20, 1861 with the recognition of President Lincoln.

Biographical/Historical Information

As governor of the Restored Government of Virginia at Wheeling, Pierpont concentrated on raising regiments and commissioning officers for the Union cause. Meanwhile, continued calls for a new state to be created from the existing state of Virginia resulted in "An Ordinance to Provide for the Formation of a New State out of a Portion of the Territory of this State" at the Second Wheeling Convention. A special session of the Assembly adjourned on May 15, 1862, and Congress was presented with the constitution and proposal for the new state of West Virginia. The Senate passed the bill admitting West Virginia on July 14, 1862, and the House of Representatives on December 10, 1862. With prodding by Pierpont, President Lincoln signed the bill creating the state. West Virginia did not officially enter into the Union until June 20, 1863. Arthur I. Boreman became the first governor of the new state at this time and Pierpont continued as governor of the state of Virginia (which consisted of the counties of Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun, Accomac, Northampton, and Norfolk) in the new capital at Alexandria.

Biographical/Historical Information

Pierpont was again elected governor for a four-year term on May 28, 1863. During this time, Pierpont clashed with General Benjamin F. Butler who was appointed to command the eastern military district of Virginia and North Carolina in Norfolk. Butler abused his military authority, according to Pierpont, by controlling the liquor traffic in Norfolk and through his disregard for the civil authority there. President Lincoln intervened in this controversy and Butler was removed of his command following a Congressional investigation. Following Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Pierpont called for a new Constitutional Convention. The Convention assembled on February 3, 1864, and adjourned on April 11, 1864, having adopted an amendment for the abolition of slavery. Following the Civil War and the death of President Lincoln, the Virginia government, under Pierpont, was removed to Richmond by an executive order of President Johnson on May 9, 1865. Pierpont finished his 4-year term on April 4, 1868. He died at the home of his daughter in Pittsburgh, Pa., on March 24, 1899.

Scope and Content Note

Executive letter book contains the outgoing correspondence of Governor Francis H. Pierpont between 1861 and 1864 with the majority of material documenting the year 1862.

Scope and Content Note

Pierpont corresponded with a variety of individuals regarding numerous issues including supplies for Virginia Volunteers, misconduct of officers, and certificates of passport for transport of companies of soldiers. Noteworthy are three letters to President Abraham Lincoln (June 29, 1861; Sept. 3, 1861, & May 20, 1862). In the first letter, Pierpont appoints Col. Benjamin Kelley Brigadier General of the Virginia Volunteers. Pierpont suggests the President call out the militia in West Virginia fearing an imminent Confederate attack in his second letter. In the last letter, the Governor asks that A.W. Campbell accompany General McClelland into Richmond in order to take possession of one of the printing presses. Pierpont wrote Secretary of War E.M. Stanton and his predecessor Simon Cameron on a few occasions regarding the commissions of U.S. Army officers into the Virginia Volunteers and an expedition by Union troops from the Kanawha Valley towards the Tennessee railroad. In another letter to Stanton on Feb. 23, 1864, Pierpont asks his help in procuring the McVey House in Alexandria for his family. Additional correspondents include Samuel P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury; James Wheat, Adjutant General; M.C. Miegs, Quarter Master General; and General William S. Rosecrans.

Arrangement

Organized into the following series: I. Executive letter book of Governor Francis H. Pierpont, 1861-1864.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.


Subjects and Indexing Terms

  • Cameron, Simon, -- 1799-1889.
  • Chase, Salmon P. -- (Salmon Portland), -- 1808-1873.
  • Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865
  • Meigs, Montgomery C. -- (Montgomery Cunningham), -- 1816-1892.
  • Pierpont, Francis Harrison, -- 1814-1899.
  • Rosecrans, William S. -- (William Starke), -- 1819-1898.
  • Stanton, Edwin McMasters, -- 1814-1869.
  • Wheat, James S.
  • Virginia. -- Governor (1861-1865 : Pierpont)
  • Alexandria (Va.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • Virginia -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865.
  • West Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • West Virginia -- Politics and government.
  • Wheeling (W. Va.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Governors -- Virginia.
  • State governments -- Virginia -- Officials and employees.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Letter books. -- aat.
  • State government records -- Virginia. -- aat.
  • Pierpont, Francis Harrison, -- 1814-1899.

Additional Note

These records are part of the Governor's Office record group (RG# 3).

Additional Note

Indexed alphabetically by correspondent in front of volume.

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Alexandria (Va.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • Virginia -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865.
  • West Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • West Virginia -- Politics and government.
  • Wheeling (W. Va.) -- History -- 19th century.