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.