Thanks, Hank - after I posed that add-on, I refreshed my memory on that issue - but it's still very confusing - the Federal Congress recognized the State government in Wheeling as the legitimate State Government of Virgina, then gave permission to create another state withing that state (in accordance with the 1789 Constitution) ... but ... then what happened to the State Government of Virginia (according to the Federal Congress) ?
I've been slowly slogging thru the Federal Congressional Records from the 1870s, trying to uncover a primary source for the "re-admittance" question - almost all of the downloadable .pdf books available from gutenberg.org and google books are not OCR-scanned, so keyword searching is not possible ... I've got almost all of the paperwork that re-admits the Southern States, but I sure can't find the original argument that those States *had to* be re-admitted.
I feel sure it's in there some place, or maybe I'm looking up the wrong tree. I was really hoping that some one here would know right off the top of their heads; it's a question that's been bothering me for about 10 years, since I first thought of it. On the surface, it seems too silly & simple a thing - "If the Southern States did not legally secede from the Union, why were they required to be re-admitted ?"
So I've always assumed I'm missing something here ...