William T. Sutherlin to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, July 22, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia.
Danville tobacco merchant William T. Sutherlin, who served in the Virginia Convention during the winter and spring of 1861, wrote to Henry County merchant Benjamin Franklin Gravely on July 22, 1861, with the first news of the Battle of Manassas and reports of the tobacco market. "We have at great cost won a victory at Manassas," Sutherlin wrote after receiving the first reports by telegraph. The outnumbered Confederates forced the United States Army to retreat, from which Sutherlin concluded, "They must see by this fight that we can never be concoured."