John M. Sutherlin Letter
John M. Sutherlin wrote this letter to his brother, Virginia tobacco entrepreneur William T. Sutherlin, on 3 May 1862 from Knoxville, Tennessee. In it, he reports on sales conditions in the South during the Civil War, writing that I came down here … to see what the chance was to get my tobacco through from here to Atlanta … I regard bringing tobacco through East Tenn. now like drawing it through a furnace of fire, there has been in the last few days a very heavy engagement between our forces and the Federals at Cumberland Gap but cannot learn any of the particulars except our forces still hold their position there.
- 1862 May 3
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John M. Sutherlin wrote this letter to his brother, Virginia tobacco entrepreneur William T. Sutherlin, on 3 May 1862 from Knoxville, Tennessee. In it, he reports on business conditions in the South during the Civil War.
William Thomas Sutherlin (born on April 7, 1822) and John Marshall Sutherlin (born on July 11, 1830) were the sons of George Sanders and Polly (Norman) Sutherlin of Danville, Virginia. William Sutherlin became a prominent tobacco merchant and innovator, constructing a new tobacco factory (which eventually served as Confederate Prison No. 6) in 1855 and becoming the first person in Virginia to apply steam power to hydraulic tobacco presses. He also founded the Bank of Danville and was elected as Mayor of Danville in 1855. He resigned as mayor in 1861 when he was elected as a delegate to the Virginia Convention for secession.
During the War, Sutherlin was incapable of active service due to his health but served as Quartermaster of Danville and ultimately rose to the rank of Major. When the Union invaded Richmond, Virginia in April of 1865, forcing Jefferson Davis to flee south to Danville, William Sutherlin opened his house to the President and his cabinet. Indeed, Jefferson Davis composed his last letter as President of the Confederacy in Sutherlin’s home at the time of surrender. After the war, Sutherlin’s business continued, and he was elected to the Virginia General Assembly in 1871. He died in Danville on July 22, 1893 and is buried in Green Hill Cemetery. His home now houses the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History.
This collection consists of a single folder.
This collection was purchased by Special Collections on 2008 January 16.