To the Army of the West
To the Soldiers of the 4th Army Head-Quarters, Dep't of the Ohio of the West: Grafton, Va., June 25th, 1861.
You are here to support the 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 upon you, and I expect you to bring to its performance, the highest and: ablest qualities of soldiers discipline, 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 here to protect, not 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 eastern 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 that 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 seized upon public and private property; they have outraged the persons 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 retrieve 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 rein of terror where we go.
soldiers! I have heard that there was danger here. I fear now but one thing that you will not find foe men worthy of your steel. I know that 1 can rely upon you.
Geo B McClellan
Maj Genl USA
Comdg Dept of the Ohio