Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
THIS PAGE HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Union or Secession
  • "We are now short of Cash"
On May 13, 1861, a Baltimore mercantile house reported to a Henry County merchant on the effects on the tobacco markets of the political crisis and the naval blockade.
Related documents:
  • "The Panick has destroyed business"
  • Unsettled business conditions
    Merchants discuss unsettled business conditions
  • "Less hopeful than we were"
« Return to Civil War Begins

"We are now short of Cash"

John P. Pleasants and Sons to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, May 13, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.

On May 13, 1861, the Baltimore mercantile house of John P. Pleasants & Sons reported to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, a merchant in Henry County, on the effects of the political crisis on the tobacco markets. He informed Gravely that tobacco still had a market in the western states, but "For such as you make" in the south-central counties of Virginia and exported to other states or countries by ship, "there is no demand—The blockade of the Southern Ports has cut off the outlet for it." President Abraham Lincoln had announced on April 19, 1861, a naval blockade of the ports of the states that had seceded from the Union and on April 27 emended it to include Virginia and North Carolina.

John P. Pleasants and Sons to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, May 13, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.

Duplicate
Balto 13th: May 1861.
Mr. B. F. Gravely
Leatherwood
Henry Co
Va
Dear Sir,
We have not heard from you since you left Balto. A few days since, we learned from Mr. S. R. Aterell, that he had ordered some Smoking Tobacco from you to be sent to Winchester.—He is responsible, please send it. During the last week, we have had an active demand for black, sweet Tobacco—Such as is made in Richmond and Petersburg, and sold in the North and West.
For such as you make, there is no demand—The blockade of the Southern Ports has cut off the outlet for it—
Inasmuch as there will be very little Tobacco made in Virginia and North Carolina this Season, we think that by holding what we have, that we can in the course of two or three months, find some way to work it off at better rates than it would now bring.
Please draw and remit a check on Baltimore or New York for the amount of your draft, say $3000—
By paying out pretty freely, and getting very little back, we are now short of Cash—
Yours Truly
Signed
Jno P Pleasants & Sons