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Union or Secession
  • "Animated with the spirit of determined resistance"
On May 16, 1861, an unnamed correspondent of the Alexandria Gazette described preparations for the defense of King George County.
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"Animated with the spirit of determined resistance"

Extract from an unsigned letter, dated at Shiloh, King George County, May 16, 1861, printed in the Alexandria Gazette, May 22, 1861.

An unnamed correspondent of the Alexandria Gazette described preparations for the defense of King George County, in the Northern Neck. He noted that local citizens had hoped there would be a compromise to preserve the Union, but that after President Abraham Lincoln called for militiamen to put down what he called a rebellion, King George County residents "have been tireless in their movements towards defensive preparation. They are now fully aroused. There is no division of sentiment to embarrass their operations. All are animated with the spirit of determined resistance to Northern vandalism. Our old men vie with the young and middle aged in expressing their ready purpose to resist to the death any effort made to subjugate the South." The district consisting of the counties of King George and Stafford had elected an opponent of secession to the Virginia Convention in February 1861. He voted against secession on April 4, when the motion failed, but for secession on April 17, when the motion passed. At the May 23, 1861, referendum on the Ordinance of Secession, the voters of King George County ratified it by a vote of 478 to 1.

Extract from an unsigned letter, dated at Shiloh, King George County, May 16, 1861, printed in the Alexandria Gazette, May 22, 1861.

Our county may have been somewhat slow in her movements towards preparation for the threatened invasion from the North, but her action has not been delayed by indifference or lack of a proper appreciation of her responsibility in this crisis. Her citizens, for the most part, comprise men of a cool, calm, calculating temperament—men of sound common sense, who take rational views of all matters, whether of individual or public interest—men guileless in their own motives, and slow to suspect the actions of others. They were for a long time loath to believe that the degeneracy of the Northern people had so far advanced, and the fanaticism of their leaders become so intensified, as thus soon to culminate in a perfidious crusade by those people against the rights and liberties of the South. We have been of those who were most hopeful that reason and sound policy, to say nothing of common justice, would have dictated a different course from that which the Lincoln Government has seen fit to pursue.
I have said this much by way of apology for the apparent tardiness of our people. When the base treachery of Lincoln and his miserable junto of counsellors left no hope for a peaceful settlement, there was no longer delay in our midst. For the last three or four weeks, our people have been tireless in their movements towards defensive preparation. They are now fully aroused. There is no division of sentiment to embarrass their operations. All are animated with the spirit of determined resistance to Northern vandalism. Our old men vie with the young and middle aged in expressing their ready purpose to resist to the death any effort made to subjugate the South. Many of the boys, those too young to be brought under the requisition of law, have volunteered in spite of parental remonstrance, and donned the paraphernalia of soldiers.
An efficient Home Guard has been formed, under command of Col. E. T. Tayloe.
The Volunteer Company, recently organized, has been fully armed and equipped, and is now ready for active service.
The militia of the county has also received arms, and are regularly drilled.
A Cavalry Company is now forming, with a fair prospect of soon becoming fully organized. Let it be understood that our old county is no longer behind the times.
The Montross Guards, under command of Capt. Wharton, arrived here yesterday afternoon on their way to King George C. H., where they will remain quartered to await orders.