Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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Map of April 17, 1861, Vote on Secession

Union or Secession
  • Map of April 17, 1861, Vote on Secession
On April 17, 1861, when civil war was breaking out and the delegates had to decide which side to take, the Virginia Convention voted 88 to 55 in favor of secession.
Related documents:
  • Map of April 4, 1861, Vote on Secession
    Map of April 4, 1861, Vote on Secession
  • First signed Ordinance of Secession
    Ordinance of Secession (First Signed Version)
  • Ordinance of Secession (Calligraphy)
    Ordinance of Secession (Calligraphy Version)
  • Roll Call of Vote on Secession
    Roll Call of Vote on Secession, April 17, 1861
« Return to Virginia Convention Votes for Secession

Map of April 17, 1861, Vote on Secession

Residences of delegates who voted for and against secession on April 17, 1861, displayed on E. Hergesheimer, Map of Virginia Showing the Distribution of its Slave Population from the Census of 1860, C. B. Graham, Lithographer (Washington, D.C.: Henry S. Graham, 1861), Library of Virginia.

On April 17, 1861, the Virginia Convention voted 88 to 55 in favor of secession. That vote took place when civil war was breaking out, and the delegates had to decide which side to take. Plotting the places of residence of the delegates on an 1861 map showing the distribution of slaves in Virginia illustrates that most of the 55 delegates who opposed secession resided in the greater Ohio Valley, in or near the Shenandoah Valley, or near the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Those delegates may have had closer personal or business ties to people in the free states than the delegates who lived in the interior and who voted for secession. Slavery was also less important in many of the counties and cities where the 55 delegates lived than it was elsewhere in Virginia. Several of them later changed their votes, and many of them signed the Ordinance of Secession.

Some counties contain no marker because 9 delegates were absent on April 17, and some counties were parts of districts that included more than one county and the district's delegate resided in another county.