This Friday begins Confederate History Month in six states throughout the South. Appropriately on March 30, 1861, Judge James H. Cox delivered Chesterfield’s decision to secede from the Union to Virginia’s state-wide convention.
The secession pot began boiling in the county a week earlier, when residents around Chester met and adopted two notable resolutions, according to Francis Lutz’s Chesterfield: an Old Virginia County, “one for immediate secession and the other proposing the Virginia join the Southern Confederacy.” Charles W. Friend presided at the meeting and J.L. Snead and Henry A. Winfrey, the founders of Chester, sponsored the resolution.
Lutz wrote that, when Virginians were called on to bear in sustaining their state, Chesterfieldians responded with nearly the same resolve as they had when voting on secession – unanimously.
When 50 Columbiad cannons, manufactured at the Bellona Arsenal in Chesterfield, near Bon Air, were due to ship to Fort Monroe, Va., the Richmond Dispatch reported that “certainly the people of Chesterfield, Powhatan, and Richmond will not permit this removal of arms to be effective at this juncture of affairs,” according to Lutz. Eventually some of the guns were sent to Drewry’s Bluff and used in saving Richmond from the Federal fleet the following year.