"Grand Secession demonstration"
Two news items from Alexandria Gazette, April 1, 1861.
Advocates for secession organized a public meeting in Richmond on April 16, 1861. Among the signers of the call, Samuel Woods, John Randolph Chambliss, Henry Alexander Wise, and James White Sheffey were members of the Virginia Convention. The summons indicated that the meeting would be "to consult with the friends of Southern rights as to the course which Virginia should pursue in the present emergency." By the meeting date, rumors were circulating that the members might seize control of the government from Governor John Letcher if the state convention failed to act. On April 16, after the events at Fort Sumter and President Abraham Lincoln's call for volunteers to put down what he called a rebellion in South Carolina, the Virginia Convention went into secret session and the next day adopted an ordinance of secession.