Loyal Conventions in Wheeling Restore Virginia to the Union
Before the first session of the convention adjourned in Richmond on May 1, 1861, several of the leading northwestern Unionists returned home and called for a convention to meet in Wheeling. It issued a formal call for the election of delegates to a June 1861 convention that also met in Wheeling and that replaced the state officials of Virginia with officials loyal to the United States. The convention also obtained recognition from the president of the United States that the Virginia state government in Wheeling was the loyal government of Virginia and that it remained part of the United States. Later, in August 1861, a third convention in Wheeling issued the call for election of a constitutional convention to create a new state consisting of western and northwestern counties of old Virginia. Initially called Kanawha and later called West Virginia, it was admitted to the Union as a free state in June 1863.
Men in western Virginia assembled at conventions in Wheeling during the summer of 1861 and took steps toward separating some of the western and northwestern counties from Virginia and creating a new state.
From June 1861 until April 1865 Virginia had two state governments. The state government with its capital in Richmond was part of the Confederate States of America, and the state government with its capital in Wheeling until the summer of 1863 and thereafter in Alexandria was part of the United States of America.