Virginia Convention at work
Peyton Gravely to Benjamin Franklin Gravely, April 1, 1861, Gravely Family Papers, Acc. 34126, Library of Virginia
On April 1, 1861, Peyton Gravely, a member of the Virginia Convention from Henry County, reported on the work of the convention. Elected as an opponent of secession, Gravely commented on the "Strong out Side pressure" the delegates faced from Richmond's newspapers, most of which favored seceding from the Union. Three days after writing his letter, Gravely voted with a two-to-one majority against a motion to secede. Gravely mentioned speeches of Timothy Rives, of Prince Edward County, Thomas S. Flournoy, of Halifax County, James Barbour, of Culpeper County, William Leftwich Goggin, of Bedford County, William Ballard Preston, of Montgomery County, William T. Sutherlin and William M. Tredway, both of Pittsylvania County, and James Cole Bruce, of Halifax County. The great length of many of the speeches eventually led the delegates to place a time limit on each speaker. Jubal A. Early, whom Gravely thought might be a good candidate to oppose Representative Thomas Salem Bocock for Congress, represented Franklin County in the Virginia Convention.