William A. Burwell to Christoper Yancy Thomas, January 22, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.
William A. Burwell wrote on January 22, 1861, from Patrick Court House to Christopher Yancy Thomas, a member of the Senate of Virginia, describing how the people of Patrick County were reacting to recent political events. He related that "the people are all asking what is to become of us. . . . They are running about asking 'are you a Union Man?'" Burwell also asked that copies of the Richmond Daily Dispatch to be sent to him and mentioned that he had been asked to be a candidate in the February 4 election for a seat in the Virginia Convention called to consider Virginia's response to the secession crisis. Samuel G. Staples, an opponent of secession, won the election to represent Patrick County.