Letcher, John

Letcher, John, 1813–84, American politician, b. Lexington, Va. He studied law and practiced at Lexington, where he also edited the Jacksonian Democrat Valley Star. In Congress (1851–59), he was known as “Honest John” because of his opposition to government extravagance. As governor (1860–64) of Virginia, Letcher opposed secession until the state was asked to supply its quota of troops for action against the South. Upon Virginia's secession, he turned the state's military forces and supplies over to the Confederacy, which he supported vigorously throughout his Civil War governorship.

See biography by F. N. Boney (1966).

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