From June 1861 until April 1865 Virginia had two state governments. The state government with its capital in Richmond was part of the Confederate States of America, and the state government with its capital in Wheeling until the summer of 1863 and thereafter in Alexandria was part of the United States of America. During the first years of the Civil War, seven men serving in five seats represented Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, and the General Assembly that met in Wheeling elected two United States Senators to represent the state. Voters in nearly every county that had been part of Virginia in 1860 elected members of the General Assembly that met in Richmond, and voters in many of the counties that later became West Virginia and also in the upper regions of the Potomac River Valley, on the Eastern Shore, and in the vicinity of Norfolk and Portsmouth elected members of the General Assemblies that met in Wheeling and later in Alexandria.
The two Virginia governments both operated under the Virginia Constitution of 1851 until the spring of 1864. The General Assembly meeting in Alexandria called for election of delegates to a constitutional convention, which wrote a new constitution for the state. On March 10, 1864, that convention adopted a constitutional provision that forever abolished slavery in Virginia, and on February 9, 1865, the General Assembly meeting in Alexandria ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that abolished slavery.
The outcome of the Civil War on the battlefields dictated that after the collapse of the Confederate States of America in April 1865, the Constitution of 1864 and the government officials elected and working in Alexandria became the government of all that encompassed the state of Virginia at the end of the Civil War.