To the People of Western Virginia:
The army of the Confederate States has come among you to expel the enemy, to rescue the people from the despotism of the counterfeit State government imposed on you by Northern bayonets, and to restore the country once more to its natural allegiance to the State. We fight for peace and the possession of our own territory. We do not intend to punish those who remain at home as quiet citizens in obedience to the laws of the land, and to all such, clemency and amnesty are declared; but those who persist in adhering to the cause of the public enemy and the pretended State government he had erected at Wheeling will be dealt with as their obstinate treachery deserves. When the liberal policy of the Confederate Government shall be introduced and made known to the people, who have so long experienced the wanton misrule of the invader, the commanding general expects the people heartily to sustain it, not only as a duty but as a deliverance from their task-masters and usurpers. Indeed, he already recognizes in the cordial welcome which the people everywhere give to the army a happy indication of their attachment to their true and lawful Government. Until the proper authorities shall order otherwise, and in the absence of municipal law and its customary ministers, martial law will be administered by the army and provost-marshals. Private rights and property will be respected, violence will be repressed and order promoted, and all the private property use by the army will be paid for.
The commanding general appeals to all good citizens to aid him in these objects, and to all able-bodied men to join his army to defend the sanctities of religion and virtue, home, territory, honor, and law, which are invaded and violated by an unscrupulous enemy, whom an indicant and united people are now about to chastise on his own soil. The Government expects an immediate and enthusiastic response to this call. Your country has been reclaimed for you from the enemy by soldiers, many of whom are from distant parts of the State and the Confederacy, and you will prove unworthy to possess to beautiful and fruitful a land if you do not now rise to retain and defend it. The oaths which the invader imposed upon you are void. They are immoral attempts to restrain you from your duty to your State and Government. They do not exempt you from the obligation to support your Government and to serve in the army, and if such persons are taken as prisoners of war the Confederate Government guarantees to them the humane treatment of the usages of war.
By command of Major-General Loring:
Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Charleston, W. Va., September 14, 1862.
The commanding general congratulates the army on the brilliant march from the southwest to this place, in one week, and on its successive victories over the enemy at Fayette Court-House, Cotton Hill, and Charleston. It will be memorable in history that, overcoming the mountains and the enemy in one week, you have established the laws and carried the flag of the country to the outer borders of the Confederacy. Instances of gallantry and patriotic devotion are too numerous to be specially designated at this time; but to brigade commanders and their