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[37] convention, still anxiously seeking to secure peace, selected three of its most distinguished members, Alexander H. H. Stuart, William Ballard Preston and George W. Randolph, to visit Washington and confer with President Lincoln in reference to the course he intended to pursue in dealing with the Confederate States. This delegation met Mr. Lincoln on the 12th, and on the next day, by appointment, had a conference with him, during which he read and handed them a paper setting forth his views and declaring his intention to coerce the seceding States into obedience to Federal authority. That same day Fort Sumter surrendered to the Confederate States.

On the 15th of April, President Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 militia, apportioned among the States, to serve for three months, to suppress combinations against the laws of the United States in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. He also summoned the Congress to meet on the 4th of July, 1861. That there might be no misunderstanding of the object of his call for troops, Lincoln stated in his proclamation: ‘I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places and property which have been seized from the Union.’ In pursuance of Lincoln's call, the following letter was sent to Governor Letcher:

War Department, Washington, April 15, 1861.
To His Excellency the Governor of Virginia:
Sir: Under the act of Congress for calling forth ‘militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, repel invasions, etc.,’ approved February 28, 1795. I have the honor to request your Excellency to cause to be immediately detached from the militia of your State the quota designated in the table below, to serve as infantry or riflemen for the period of three months, unless sooner discharged.

Your Excellency will please communicate to me the time, at or about, which your quota will be expected at its rendezvous, as it will be met as soon as practicable by an officer to muster it into the service and pay of the United States.

Simon Cameron, Secretary of War.

The quota of Virginia called for in the table attached to this letter was three regiments, embracing 2,340 men, to rendezvous at Staunton, Wheeling and Gordonsville. To this communication Governor Letcher made prompt reply, as follows:

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