Secession Vote Will Be Reenacted in Vienna
In May 1861, Vienna residents assembled in front of the Lydecker Store (today the Freeman Store and Museum, 131 Church Street, SE), to vote on the referendum for Virginia to secede from the Union. The vote was 76 against the ordinance of secession, 44 for it. Mr. Earnest Birdsong, the first to cast a vote said, “We are now a separate nation, my vote is for secession from the Union.” However, another, United States federal sailor Nathaniel Bosworth, said that while his allegiance was with Virginia, he believed, “The South will lose the war, and I vote to reject the ordinance.”
On May 16, 2015, at 1:00 p.m., a reenactment of the 1861 vote will take place at the exact same location, the steps of the Freeman Store and Museum. Civilians from the 19th century will cast their vote, for or against seceding from the Commonwealth of Virginia, an event that was repeated in 1861 at more than a dozen other locations in Fairfax County, as well as across Virginia. While the majority of Fairfax County and Virginia, as a whole, voted to leave the Union, Vienna voted against secession and in favor of remaining in the Union. The public is invited to attend and participate in the reenactment.