"War is upon us."
Excerpt from a speech of Allen Taylor Caperton in the Virginia Convention on April 17, 1861, printed in George H. Reese and William H. Gaines, Jr., eds., Proceedings of the Virginia State Convention of 1861 (Richmond, Va.: Virginia State Library, 1965), 4:101–102.
On April 17, 1861, Allen Taylor Caperton, of Monroe County in the mountains of western Virginia, explained to the Virginia Convention why he planned to vote for secession that day. He had voted against secession on April 4, but conditions had changed radically, and he decided that it was essential to have "a unanimous vote in this Convention in favor of the ordinance of secession. I see nothing else that may save us from that disaster." Caperton, like many other men who had originally opposed secession, changed his mind after President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers to suppress the Southern rebellion. "War is upon us," Caperton admitted, "and we are compelled to make the best of it."