Uncle Sam Splits Virginia

 

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Uncle Sam Splits Virginia

Uncle Sam and Virginia

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This is one of the earliest published pictures of Uncle Sam. It is from the December 21, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly. The image has the caption:

Chief Cook CAMERON divides the VIRGINIA GOOSE between MARYLAND and DELAWARE.

In this cartoon, Uncle Sam is shown carving up a goose, and giving portions to two black men.  The goose is a symbol of the State of Virginia, and the cartoon is referring to one of the amazing events of early in the Civil War.

The United States was terrified by the Secession of Virginia.  The concern was to have a Rebel State so close to the Nation's Capitol in Washington DC.  The solution was proposed by the Secretary of War, Mr. Cameron.  Cameron proposed that:

"The geographical position of the metropolis of the nation, menaced by the rebels, and required to be defended by thousands of our troops, induces use to suggest for consideration the propriety and expediency of a reconstruction of the boundaries of the States of Delaware, Maryland, and
Virginia."

Basically, Mr. Cameron suggested splitting up Virginia, and giving large amounts of territory to the loyal states of Delaware and Maryland.  The map below shows Mr. Cameron's proposed "redistricting" of Virginia.


Proposed Division of the State of Virginia

This cartoon shows Uncle Sam carving up the state of Virginia, reducing the area of the state by one half, and giving a large chunk of territory to Maryland. Secretary Cameron's full proposal for dividing up Virginia can be found here.

 
 

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