Letter from Hon. John Letcher on the Condition of the Sentiment in the State.

May 9, 1866


Radicals have ill-feelings toward the South mostly because of slanders and misrepresentations made by the Freedman's Bureau who need to retain their positions and pay. Southerners hope that the North will eventually figure out the truth, but the South needs to be patient and keep their faith in Johnson.


My Dear Sir, - As I have heard nothing from you since my reply to your letter of the 4th of January last, I have concluded that owing to the great derangement of the mails it has failed to reach you. I therefore write again, hoping for better luck this time. Everything is moving along very quietly in this part of the country. The people are orderly and law-abiding, fulfilling strictly the obligations they have assumed to the Government of the United States, as an evidence of the feeling which exits, I send you so much of Judge Sheffey's charge to the Grand Jury delivered here on the 12th instant as relates to the freedmen. This charge has been universally approved by the bar and the people, and will, I am sure, command your approbation. I sent a copy of our town paper containing it in full to the President, and requested him to read it. Much of the ill-feeling manifested by the Radicals toward the people of the South grows out of the misrepresentations and slanders prepared and circulated by the agents of the Freedmen's Bureau. They desire to retain their positions, as their duties are light and their pay good- better, indeed, than they can hope for in any other business. Hence the persistent efforts made by nine-tenths of them to prove to the authorities that our people are disloyal. Sooner or later the minds of the Northern people will be disabused, and we must be patient until that time shall come. As to the firmness, courage, patriotism and integrity of the President, there is no division among our people. They have entire confidence in him, believe he is endeavoring to save the country by a restoration of the Union, and while, under present circumstances, they can render him no material aid in the struggle with the Radicals, he has their best wishes for his success.
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“Letter from Hon. John Letcher on the Condition of the Sentiment in the State.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 30, 2023, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/143.