Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/295

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Famous Retreat from. Philippi. 287

pleted in the year of 1853. The "Parkersburg branch," a dis- tance of 1 01 miles from Graf ton to Parkersburg-, had been com- pleted about two years later. And, in passing, the writer de- .sires to say that when General McClellan heard that Governor Letcher had ordered the State troops to rendezvous at Grafton it greatly excited him.

At that time the people of the State of Ohio looked upon the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as their own special property, and were exceedingly jealous of the exercise of any rights over this corporation, and the subsequent events show that the Bal- timore and Ohio Railroad was one of the most effectual means in the hands of the Lincoln government for the subjugation of the Southern States.

PORTERFIELD GIVEN COMMAND.

Colonel Geo. A. Porterfield, from the Virginia Militarv Institute was sent by Governor Letcher to take command of all State troops at Grafton. On Friday, the 3ist day of May, Dr. Price makes this entry: "I met Colonel Porterfield, and was invited to take tea with him at his quarters, and I found him a very intelligent and affable gentleman." * * "Colonel Porterfield spoke rather despondently of the unprepared condition of Vir- ginia to meet invasion successfully. He regretted very much the lack of order, preparation and discipline among the troops now at the front, but he hoped all might come right after while." On the 3Oth day of May, Mr. Wilson makes this entry: "Our head officer is a tall, slender young man, with red, curly hair, no whiskers, dark eyes, and good looking, especially his face. He was in company with another officer, whose uniform is a blue coat, blue pants, stick cap. His complexion fair, light hair and eyes, rather heavy beard."

Such is the personal description of Colonel Porterfield by two of the writers of the diaries at that time.

From Staunton, Va., to Grafton, over the turnpike roads, it is a distance of 143 miles. The first 112 miles is over the Staunton and Parkersburg pike," when you reach Beverley, that was the county seat of Randolph county. There you take Phil- ippi pike, and you reach Philippi, the county seat of Barbour county, at a distance of thirty-one miles, and from Philippi to