Francis G. Taylor to Governor John Letcher, April 17, 1861, Executive Papers of Governor John Letcher, Acc. 36787, State Government Records Collection, Record Group 3, Library of Virginia.
Following the surrender of Fort Sumter, in South Carolina, on April 13, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln requested 75,000 militiamen, including 2,340 officers and men from Virginia, to put down the Southern rebellion. Governor John Letcher refused to comply with the president's request. Believing that "President Lincoln has left us no alternative, but submission or war," Francis G. Taylor, of Hanover County, in central Virginia, who twice volunteered for service in the field during the War of 1812, wrote to the governor and offered his services, "as a volunteer, to place me either in the ranks, or any other post, you may think proper to assign me."