Virginia was a “Battle Ground” from the beginning to the end of the war. No people who have not had this experience can form any conception of what it means, and this was literally true of Virginia “from her mountains to her seashore.” Every day and every hour for four long years the tramp of the camp, the bivouac or the battle of both armies were upon Virginia’s soil.
Six hundred of the two thousand battles fought were fought in Virginia, and the fenceless fields, the houseless chimneys, the charred ruins and the myriad graves left all over Virginia at the close of the war marked and measured the extent to which her material resources had contributed to that struggle, and the devotion of her people to the Confederate cause. These things also showed in the utter desolation produced by the war, and in the difficulties and disadvantages the State and her people have labored under ever since.
Virginia was the only Southern State dismembered by the war. One third of her territory (richest in many respects) and one third of her people were actually torn from her by the mailed hand of war not only without her consent but contrary to an express provision of the Federal Constitution. The true history of this “political rape,” as it was termed by General Wise, is one of the blackest political crimes in the annals of America history.