June 1861: Virginia's pro-Union corner
First, South Carolina seceded in December 1860, and then six other Southern slave-holding states followed soon thereafter. Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina were the last to secede in 1861, bringing to 11 the number of Southern slave states in the Confederacy.
Yet almost every border state in the Confederacy faced difficulties with those in their territory who sided with the Union.In Virginia, the mountainous northwest corner heavily favored the Union. A correspondent for The New York Times writes in a dispatch June 19, 1861, that a convention of 40 mostly mountain counties held in Wheeling had voted to secede from Virginia. A pro-Union Virginia government in exile was named, headed by lawyer Francis H. Pierpoint.
“The Convention now in session have, by a formal and unanimous vote, resolved to cut loose from the Old Dominion and form for themselves a new and independent State the great State of Virginia is to be dismembered by the voluntary act of over a half million of her late citizens; and a new State formed from the Western part of her territory will claim a place in the Union ”
It is not until June 1863, however, that West Virginia is formally admitted as a separate state in the Union.