On this day in 1861, and after all the nastiness of Fort Sumter, Abe Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 troops. What’s worth remembering is that Virginia had not yet seceded; in fact, the Virginia Convention then in session in Richmond had voted more than once AGAINST secession. But the president of the United States asking the commonwealth to provide 2,340 troops to potentially march on South Carolina (which is to say, “to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, repel invasions,” etc.) — that was the last straw, apparently.
The convention voted to secede two days later, and forevermore, we have celebrated this anniversary as Tax Day!
Regardless, check out our overview entry on the Civil War, penned by yours truly with an eye toward making it a) especially accessible to students; and b) full of links to our other Civil War content.
Also take a look at the Library of Virginia’s wonderful site: Virginia Memory: Union or Secession.
IMAGE: From the Library of Virginia’s site, an 1861 broadside whipping up support for the Confederacy in Virginia