"The proper position for Virginia is in the Union"
Editorial in Staunton Spectator, January 22, 1861
In January 1861, the editor of the Staunton Spectator, in the Shenandoah Valley county of Augusta, was strongly opposed to secession. "The proper position for Virginia is in the Union," he wrote, "and there is where she can use her potential influence with some effect for its preservation or reconstruction. If she remains in the Union, she can exercise, as mediator, great influence with both the North and the South; but if she will go out her influence will be lost, and she will be irretrievably hitched to the car of the Cotton States." In the presidential election in November 1860, Constitutional Unionist John Bell and Democrat Stephen A. Douglas together had received more than 94 percent of Augusta County's votes. On February 4, 1861, the county's voters selected three firm opponents of secession to represent them in the Virginia Convention.