Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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Union or Secession
  • "I shall be true to the Union"
The day after the Virginia Convention defeated a motion to secede, a man in northwestern Virginia wrote to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer to affirm his continued devotion to the Union.
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"I shall be true to the Union"

Excerpt from an unsigned letter to the editor, dated April 5, 1861, printed in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 9, 1861.

On April 5, 1861, the day after the Virginia Convention voted in Richmond to reject a motion to secede by a vote of 90 to 45, an unnamed person in northwestern Virginia wrote to the editor of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer. The writer had evidently been reading accounts of the debates in the Richmond newspapers. "Let others do as they may," he wrote (in what the editor described as "a good Union letter"), "I shall be true to the Union; and the pen of the historian shall never write me down as a traitor to my country."

Excerpt from an unsigned letter to the editor, dated April 5, 1861, printed in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, April 9, 1861.

Mr. Editor, I am more than ever convinced that Western Virginia will rebel before she will be dragged out of the Union at the tail of the East; or be "hitched on to South Carolina like a tea kettle to the tail of a dog"—to use the graphic language of a member of the Virginia Convention.
I have sworn to support the Constitution of the United States, and, come weal or woe, I intend to do it. That oath means something—it means just what it says; and they who take it and advocate the breaking up of the government are traitors and perjured villains before God; and to Him they shall account for it. Let others do as they may, I shall be true to the Union; and the pen of the historian shall never write me down as a traitor to my country.