"Thanking God that I have a son to offer"
Richmond Daily Dispatch, April 29, 1861.
"Your country calls; will you respond now?" Ann Catron, of Washington County in southwestern Virginia, wrote to her son when men throughout Virginia were volunteering for military service in April 1861. "I now offer you, a beardless boy of 17 summers,—not with grief, but thanking God that I have a son to offer. May God be with you." This brief, moving letter, was reprinted in many of the state's newspapers. Washington County's male voters had elected two opponents of secession to the Virginia Convention in February 1861, but in the May 23 referendum, voters in the county ratified secession by a vote of 1,907 to 20.