Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia
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Union or Secession
  • "Thanking God that I have a son to offer"
On April 29, 1861 the Richmond Daily Dispatch published a letter from Ann Catron, of Washington County in southwestern Virginia, to her son urging him to volunteer for military service.
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"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.

Richmond Daily Dispatch, April 29, 1861.
A VIRGINIA MOTHER.
The following letter was written by Mrs. Ann Catron, of Washington county, to her son, who promptly enrolled himself in the Mounted Rifles:
"The time has come. Will you go? Now you can decide. The next dispatch will be you must go. Your country calls; will you respond now? With trembling hand but unfaltering heart I address you this note, firmly relying upon Him who sways the destiny of nations;— He is able to defend you. With all the timidity due to my sex, I am ready to offer you up in defence of your country's rights and honor; and 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."