"I fear it is now too late"
Extract of a letter from M. to the editor, dated at White Post, Clarke County, on January 5, 1861, printed in the Alexandria Gazette, January 8, 1861.
At the beginning of January 1861, a man in Clarke County feared that Southerners had not adequately protected their interests as slaveowners, and as a consequence antislavery Republicans were about to take control of the federal government. More than 47 percent of the residents of Clarke County lived in slavery, a much-higher percentage than in the surrounding counties in the lower Shenandoah Valley. He wrote, "We cannot accustom ourselves to the idea that our once free and happy country is to become the scene of discord and hate, and, it may be, of blood and untold woes."