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[688] the Confederacy was drawing near, and for a brief period he had the hope that reunion could be brought about upon a basis which, while it would in no way tarnish the honor of the armies or people of the South, would save the lives of thousands of noble men, and preserve some of their property from the wreck of war. After the failure of the Hampton Roads conference, he continued at his post in Richmond, awaiting the end. After the surrender of the armies, General Wickham addressed himself to the effort to restore friendly relations between the sections of the Union; to reorganize on a mutually satisfactory basis the labor necessary for the farming operations of the country, and to induce his fellow-citizens to accept the situation. The condition of the South was terrible. General Wickham stood side by side with his old constituents and shared their fate. He had been educated a Whig and a Union man. When the war ended, his political faith remained unchanged, and as the Whig party had disappeared, he adopted the principles of the party which he regarded as its legitimate successor. On April 23, 1865, in an open letter, he aligned himself with the Republican party. This step estranged very many of his old associates from him. In November, 1865, he was elected president of the Virginia Central railroad company; in November, 1868, president of the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad company, and in 1869 was made vice-president of the company with C. P. Huntington as president, and continued as such until 1875, when he was appointed its receiver, which position he held until July 1, 1878, when he became its second vice-president and so continued until his death. He was elected chairman of the board of supervisors of Hanover county in 187, and was continuously re-elected as long as he lived. In 1872 he was a member of the electoral college of Virginia, and cast his vote for General Grant. In 1880 he was honored by a tender of the secretaryship of the navy by President Hayes, but declined on account of business engagements. In 1881 he was tendered the nomination for governor of the State by the Republican convention, but declined to accept it. Opposing the ‘readjuster party’ in 1883, he again became a member of the State senate, and was the chairman of the finance committee of that body until his death, although he occupied an independent position and declined to go into any caucus.

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