Sunday, August 14

This Week in The Civil War: Sunday, Aug. 14

Second Wheeling Convention

Delegates in what is present-day West Virginia gather Aug. 6-21, 1861, for the "Second Wheeling Convention" to consider breaking with Virginia over the state's secession from the Union. The delegates adopt several resolutions, including one nullifying measures of counterparts in Richmond, seat of the Confederacy, who declared the ongoing pro-Union deliberations in Wheeling to be "null, void, and without force or effect." The delegates debate boundaries for a future state and a committee on Aug. 20 proposes that it be named "Kanawha" and consist of dozens of breakaway-minded counties. Voters in those counties in October will ultimately approve a statehood referendum, clearing the way for a later constitutional convention to establish a state government framework. In a legal step, President Abraham Lincoln on Aug. 16, 1861, declares the 11 states of the Confederacy and its denizens "in a state of insurrection against the United States" and proclaims all commercial trade to other parts of the United States to be "unlawful" while the insurrection continues. The move effectively stymies a once bustling cotton trade between the South and Border states and further bolsters the federal naval blockade of Southern ports and waterways. In this week, Gen. George McClellan is seen organizing his command of the Army of the Potomac and reports on his work to Lincoln, who also visits the Washington area Navy Yard as preparations are made for the next phase of the conflict. 

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