|Date||June 25, 1861|
|Scope & Content||
Head-Quarters, Department of the Ohio(?)
Grafton, Va. June 25th, 1861
To the Soldiers of the Army of the West
You are here to support he Government of your country and to protect the lives and liberties of your brethren, threatened by a rebellious and traitorous foe. No higher and nobler duty could devolve up you, and I expect you to bring to its performance the highest and noblest qualities of soldiers - disciplines, courage and mercy. I call upon the officers of every grade to enforce the strictest discipline, and I know that those of all grades, privates, and officers will display in battle cool heroic courage and will know how to show mercy to a disarmed enemy
Bear in mind that you are in the country of friends, not of enemies; that you are her to protect no to destroy. Take nothing, destroy nothing, unless you are ordered to do so by your General officers. Remember that I have pledged my word to the people of Western Virginia that their rights in person and property shall be respected. I ask every one of you to make good this promise in its broadest sense. We come here to save, not to upturn. I do not appeal to the fear of punishment, but to your appreciation of the sacredness of the cause in which we are engaged. Carry with you into battle the conviction that you are right and God is on your side.
Your enemies have violated every moral law - neither god nor man can sustain them. They have without cause rebelled against a mild and paternal Government; they have sized upon public and private property; they have outraged the person of Northern men merely because they came from the North, and of Southern Union men merely because they loved the Union; they have placed themselves beneath contempt unless they can retrieved some honor on the field of battle. You will pursue a different course. you will be honest, brave, and merciful; you will respect the right of private opinion; you will punish no man for opinion's sake. Show to the world that you differ from our enemies in the points of honor, honesty and respect for private opinion, and that we inaugurate no reign of terror where we go.
Soldiers! I have heard that there was danger here. I have come to place myself at you head and to share it with you. I fear now but one thing -- That you will not find foemen worthy of your steel. I know that I can rely upon you.
Geo. B. McClellan,
Major Gen'l Commanding.
McClellan, George Brinton