THIS DAY IN VIRGINIA HISTORY
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December 18, 1863
William Breedlove Applied for a Pardon
In November 1863 during the height of the U.S. Civil War, William Breedlove (ca. 1820–1871), a free African American man in Tappahannock, transported another African American man across the Rappahannock River under the impression that he had a pass authorizing him to travel, when in fact he was a runaway slave. Arrested and convicted, Breedlove was sentenced to be sold into slavery. Signed by Lieutenant Governor Robert Latané Montague (1819–1880) and attorney James M. Matthews, this petition described Breedlove as a valuable member of the community. On December 19, Governor John Letcher (1813–1884) pardoned Breedlove, who was later elected to the state constitutional convention in 1867 and held several local offices.