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

Union or Secession
  • "Submission or war"
On April 17, 1861, a veteran of the War of 1812 offered his services to the governor of Virginia.
« Return to Lincoln Calls out the Militia

"Submission or war"

Francis G. Taylor to Governor John Letcher, April 17, 1861, Executive Papers of Governor John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.

Following the surrender of Fort Sumter, in South Carolina, on April 13, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln requested 75,000 militiamen, including 2,340 officers and men from Virginia, to put down the Southern rebellion. Governor John Letcher refused to comply with the president's request. Believing that "President Lincoln has left us no alternative, but submission or war," Francis G. Taylor, of Hanover County, in central Virginia, who twice volunteered for service in the field during the War of 1812, wrote to the governor and offered his services, "as a volunteer, to place me either in the ranks, or any other post, you may think proper to assign me."

Francis G. Taylor to Governor John Letcher, April 17, 1861, Executive Papers of Governor John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.

Hanover April 17th 1861.
To his Excellency Govr Letcher.
Dr. Sir.
My voice has been for peace, being a warm strong Union man; But President Lincoln has left us no alternative, but submission or war: Virginia's rights, interest, honour patriotism, all declare peremptorily for war.
Having been twice a volunteer in the war, of 1812, I now, Sir, tender you my services, as a volunteer, to place me either in the ranks, or any other post, you may think proper to assign me.
I am bordering on three score & ten, but I feel willing & able, to discharge any duty to my Country. I hope my example will be followed by both old & young.
With great respect
I remain yr Obt. Servt.
FRAS. G. TAYLOR
To Govr. John Letcher.