"Troublous times are upon us"
Jacob Bechtel to George Bechtel, November 7, 1860, Jacob H. Bechtel Papers, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.
On the day after the presidential election in November 1860, Jacob Bechtel, a Pennsylvania native residing in Richmond, reported to his brother in Philadelphia on the election's outcome. The 1860 presidential election was the closest ever in Virginia. The Constitutional Union Party nominees, John Bell, a former Whig from Tennessee, and Edward Everett, a former Whig from Massachusetts, narrowly defeated the Democrats. Bechtel rejoiced at the success of the Whigs. "Virginia will I believe acquiesce quietly in the result," he correctly predicted, "and await further developments.— Her position as a border state will induce this policy—for in Case of rupture, upon her soil the first battle would have to be fought." Bechtel also correctly predicted that in the end Virginia "may be dragged into the affray in spite of ourselves because in the Event of a Civil War, Virginia Would I believe ally her destiny with the other slave states."