A Guide to the Francis H. Pierpont Restored Government Executive Papers, 1861-1865 Pierpont, Francis H., Restored Government Executive Papers, 1861-1865 36928

A Guide to the Francis H. Pierpont Restored Government Executive Papers, 1861-1865

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 36928


Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia
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© 2002 By the Library of Virginia.

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Craig Moore

Library of Virginia
Accession number
Francis H. Pierpont Restored Government Executive Papers, 1861-1865
Physical Characteristics
6.30 cubic feet.
Physical Location
State Government Records Collection, RG 3.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Francis H. Pierpont Restored Government Executive Papers, 1861-1865. Accession 36928, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Acquired prior to 1905.

Alternative Form Available

Also available on microfilm - Miscellaneous Reel 5827-5856.

Biographical 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.

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.

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 Information

Governor Pierpont's Executive papers are organized into two series. Series have been designated for Chronological files and Subject files. The bulk of the material can be found in the Chronological files' series which primarily consists of incoming correspondence between February 1861 and May 9, 1865. Although Pierpont did not become governor until June 20, 1861, there are a few miscellaneous documents related to Pierpont and the Wheeling Convention prior to this date. Note that there are very few items which document the time between January 1 and May 9, 1865. The materials in this series represent the work of Governor Pierpont and the Restored Government of Virginia at Wheeling and later Alexandria, Va. Correspondence, certificates of qualification, certificates of election, invoices, bonds, oaths of allegiance, commissions, applications, ordinances, telegrams, election returns, proceedings, receipts, checks, clippings, reports, petitions, resignations, proclamations, maps, resolutions, special orders, and other items can be found in this series.

The majority of the correspondence relates to requests to raise troops and also requests for commissions in the Virginia Volunteers. Individuals wrote Pierpont recommending others for positions in the Restored Government or the army. Pierpont received various letters of application and issued commissions for these positions. Letters supporting Pierpont and the Union cause are also present. Other correspondence to Pierpont regards requests for arms and equipment and protection against rebel forces. Pro-Union citizens informed Pierpont of rebel movements and warned him about individuals with secessionist tendencies. Many of these individuals were imprisoned in Camp Carlisle and later Camp Chase. The Governor received correspondence and petitions asking for the release of some of these prisoners. He also often corresponded with Samuel Galloway, the Special Commissioner at Camp Chase. The Governor also received correspondence from his Adjutant General James S. Wheat (resigned Sept. 27, 1861) and later Henry J. Samuels. Other noteworthy correspondents include: L.A. Hagans, Secretary of the Commonwealth; General L. Thomas, U.S. Adjutant General; George D. Ruggles, Assistant Adjutant General of the U.S.; Edwin M. Stanton, U.S. Secretary of War; P.H. Watson, Assistant Secretary of War; Governor A.G. Curtin of Pennsylvania; Governor Arthur I. Boreman of West Virginia; James Darr, Jr., Provost Marshall General for Virginia; and others.

Other types of documents found in Pierpont's papers include certificates of qualification for positions in the Restored Government such as the Governor's Council, Auditor of Public Accounts, Attorney General, etc. As a result of a resolution passed at the Wheeling Convention of 1861, oaths of allegiance were required by all state officials. Many of these oaths can be found in these papers. The Allegheny Arsenal in Pittsburgh, Pa., supplied the Virginia Volunteers with ordnance or ordnance supplies. There are a few invoices and correspondence from the arsenal. Finally, materials related to elections including orders to hold elections, certificates of election, election returns, etc., are included in Pierpont's papers.

Noteworthy documents include ordinances from the Wheeling Convention of 1861 (June 13, 1861); a 17-page draft of a message of the Governor re. Virginia and the state of the rebellion (June 25, 1861); a telegram from Major General George B. McClellan re. control of Capt. Craig's camp (July 6, 1861); a proclamation re. an oath to support the Constitution of the United States required by law (Aug. 2, 1861); special orders from General William S. Rosecrans appointing instructors of tactics (Aug. 28, 1861); a proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving (Nov. 14, 1861); reports by companies in the Virginia Volunteers on shoes (Nov. 21, 1861); an official report of the Battle of Guyandotte (Dec. 6, 1861); election return of officers of Virginia regiments from Putnam County re. proposed constitution of the proposed state of West Virginia (April 3, 1862); Governor's address to the Senate and House of Delegates in extra session re. the division of the state of Virginia (May 6, 1862); an act giving the consent of the formation & erection of a new state within the jurisdiction of Virginia (May 13, 1862, oversized); insurance policy from the Home Insurance Company for Pierpont's home near Fairmont in Marion Co. (June 27, 1862); a list of prisoners released at Wheeling (Aug. 21, 1862); letter from Governor Pierpont to E.M. Stanton, Secretary of War, re. captured guns, etc. (Aug. 22, 1863).

Other noteworthy documents include: certificates re. the result of the election for the annexation of Berkeley and Jefferson counties into West Virginia (July 22 & Sept. 14, 1863); a printed proclamation pursuant to an act of the General Assembly passed Feb. 5, 1863, authorizing the governor to select some point as the capital of the state (proclamation names Alexandria the new capital of Virginia) (Aug. 26, 1863); letter from David Wills, submitted by the authority of Governor Andrew G. Curtin of Pennsylvania, re. creation of a cemetery at Gettysburg (Aug. 15, 1863); U.S. Military Telegraph from President Abraham Lincoln requesting opinion re. refunding money collected from the people of the Eastern Shore of Virginia as indemnity for the lighthouse depredation (including reply from Pierpont) (Sept. 21, 1863); map of the Washington, Alexandria, and Georgetown Railroad and its connections (Oct. 1, 1863, oversized); letter from Pierpont to E.M. Stanton asking for his help in locating a house in Alexandria for his family (Dec. 14, 1863); letter from Pierpont to President Lincoln re. General Butler's interference with the civil government in Norfolk, also follow-up letters to E.M. Stanton (Jan. 15-16, 20, 1864); letter to E.M. Stanton re. the quartering of colored troops in Accomac, Northampton, and Portsmouth (Jan. 27, 1863); and an ordinance providing for the establishment of the Restored Government (April 14, 1864).

The second series is devoted to subject files and primarily contains indictments for treason and other legal documents relating to the prosecution of individuals for treason against the Constitution of the United States between 1861 and 1862. The indictments are standard forms with names and dates inserted. The indictments are arranged in alphabetical order and often include other documents such as oaths of allegiance, recognizances, etc. In addition, affidavits, bonds, injunctions, information, subpoenas, and writs of habeus corpus are included in this series.



These files are arranged chronologically by the date on the endorsement which indicates when the document was received and what action was taken by the governor.


Organized into the following two series: I. Chronological files; and II. Subject files.

Contents List

Series I: Chronological Files, 1861-1865 May
  • 1861
    • Box 1 Folder 1
    • Box 1Folder 2
      June 1-24
    • Box 1Folder 3
      June 25-29
    • Box 1Folder 4
      July 1-10
    • Box 1Folder 5
      July 11-20
    • Box 1Folder 6
      July 21-31
    • Box 1Folder 7
      August 1-10
    • Box 1Folder 8
      August 11-20
    • Box 2Folder 1
      August 21-31
    • Box 2Folder 2
      September 1-10
    • Box 2Folder 3
      September 11-20
    • Box 2Folder 4
      September 21-30
    • Box 2Folder 5
      October 1-10
    • Box 3Folder 1
      October 11-20
    • Box 3Folder 2
      October 21-31
    • Box 3Folder 3
      November 1-10
    • Box 3Folder 4
      November 11-20
    • Box 3Folder 5
      November 21-30
    • Box 3Folder 6
      December 2-10
    • Box 4Folder 1
      December 11-20
    • Box 4Folder 2
      December 21-31
    • Box 4Folder 3
  • 1862
    • Box 5Folder 1
      January 1-15
    • Box 5Folder 2
      January 16-31
    • Box 5Folder 3
      February 1-15
    • Box 5Folder 4
      February 16-28
    • Box 5Folder 5
      March 1-15
    • Box 5Folder 6
      March 16-27
    • Box 5Folder 7
      March 28-31
    • Box 6Folder 1
      April 1-23
    • Box 6Folder 2
      April 24-30
    • Box 6Folder 3
      May 1-15
    • Box 6Folder 4
      May 16-31
    • Box 6Folder 5
      1862, June 1-20
    • Box 6Folder 6
      June 21-30
    • Box 6Folder 7
      July 1-10
    • Box 7Folder 1
      July 11-20
    • Box 7Folder 2
      July 21-28
    • Box 7Folder 3
      July 29-31
    • Box 7Folder 4
      August 1-8
    • Box 7Folder 5
      August 9-15
    • Box 7Folder 6
      August 16-20
    • Box 8Folder 1
      August 21-27
    • Box 8Folder 2
      August 28-31
    • Box 8Folder 3
      September 1-10
    • Box 8Folder 4
      September 11-17
    • Box 8Folder 5
      September 18-27
    • Box 8Folder 6
      September 28-30
    • Box 8Folder 7
      October 1-10
    • Box 9Folder 1
      October 11-20
    • Box 9Folder 2
      October 21-31
    • Box 9Folder 3
      November 1-15
    • Box 9Folder 4
      November 16-31
    • Box 9Folder 5
      December 1-10
    • Box 9Folder 6
      December 11-20
    • Box 9Folder 7
      December 21-31
    • Box 9Folder 8
  • 1863
    • Box 10Folder 1
    • Box 10Folder 2
    • Box 10Folder 3
      March 1-10
    • Box 10Folder 4
      March 11-31
    • Box 10Folder 5
    • Box 10Folder 6
    • Box 10Folder 7
    • Box 10Folder 8
    • Box 11Folder 1
    • Box 11Folder 2
    • Box 11Folder 3
    • Box 11Folder 4
    • Box 11Folder 5
      December 1-22
    • Box 11Folder 6
      December 23-31
    • Box 11Folder 7
  • 1864
    • Box 12Folder 1
      January 1-20
    • Box 12Folder 2
      January 21-30
    • Box 12Folder 3
    • Box 12Folder 4
    • Box 12Folder 5
    • Box 12Folder 6
    • Box 12Folder 7
    • Box 12Folder 8
    • Box 12Folder 9
      , August-November
    • Box 12Folder 10
  • 1865
    • Box 13Folder 1
    • Box 13Folder 2
    • Box 13Folder 3
      May 1-9
Series II: Subject Files
Box-folder: Box 13, Folder 4 - Box 14
  • Box 13Folder 4
    Affidavits, 1862
  • Box 13Folder 5
    Bonds, 1861-1862
  • Box-folder: Box 13, Folder 6 - Box 14, Folder 4
    Indictments for Treason
    • Box 13Folder 6
    • Box 13Folder 7
    • Box 13Folder 8
    • Box 13Folder 9
    • Box 14Folder 1
    • Box 14Folder 2
    • Box 14Folder 3
    • Box 14Folder 4
  • Box 14Folder 5
    Information, 1862
  • Box 14Folder 6
    Injunctions, 1862
  • Box 14Folder 7
    Miscellaneous, 1861-1862
  • Box-folder: Box 14, Folder 8-9
    Subpoenas, 1861-1862
    • Box 14Folder 8
    • Box 14Folder 9
  • Box 14Folder 10
    Writs, 1862
  • Box 15Folder 1
  • Box 15Folder 2
  • Box 15Folder 3
  • Box 15Folder 4