John Letcher was then governor—a States Rights Democrat, of course; but a Union man. By him the legislature of the State was called together in special session, and that legislature, in January, passed what was known as a convention bill.
Practically Virginia was to vote on the question at issue.
Events moved rapidly.
South Carolina had seceded on December 20; Mississippi on January 8; Florida on the 10th; Alabama on the 11th; Georgia followed on the 19th; Louisiana on the 26th, with Texas on February 1.
The procession seemed unending; the record unbroken.
Not without cause might the now thoroughly frightened friends of the Union have exclaimed, with Macbeth—
What! will the line stretch out to the crack of doom? Another yet?
If at that juncture the Old Dominion by a decisive vote had followed in the steps of the cotton States, it implied consequences which no man could fathom.
It involved the possession of the national capital, and the cont