On April 17, 1861, Virginia’s secession convention voted to secede from the United States and became the 8th member of the Confederate States of America.
This report on the decision and its immediate impact on the Commonwealth appeared in the Richmond Enquirer on April 18, 1861.
We have this morning to call attention to the bold and noble Proclamation of Governor Letcher. With calm dignity and determined purpose, the Executive of Virginia has spoken, and from the Atlantic to the Ohio every citizens of the State is prepared to sustain him. Gov. Letcher has fully met the expectations of the People of Virginia, and his patriotic efforts to protect his State will be fully sustained by all men in Virginia.
His reply to Simon Cameron is perfect. Short, dignified, and with bitter irony he condemns the weak and vacillating powers at Washington.
Men of Virginia, we thank God that nothing is necessary at this time to rouse you to action. Before the proclamation of Gov. Letcher was known, regiments and companies had been tendered to the Executive, and men were eager to enter the service of defending Virginia. Aggressing upon the rights of none, seeking no war. Virginia may be dragged from her efforts at peace and reconciliation by the usurpations of the Federal Executive. Her Convention has up to this time withstood every appeal to the Secessionists, and were quietly making efforts at reconstruction; her peace efforts are despised by the Federal Executive, and civil war inaugurated to bolster up the waning fortunes of a corrupt and imbecile Administration. The blood of the conflict rests upon Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet.