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5 Fun Facts About March 1 In Virginia History

---Learn Every Day: VA Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history va To: 618-270-4005---

1. Virginia became a state: March 1, 1781, marked Virginia's entry into statehood as the 10th state in the newly formed United States of America. The Virginia State Capitol in Richmond became the site of the General Assembly and the governor's office.

2. Emancipation Day: In 1864, Virginia Governor William "Extra Billy" Smith signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that all enslaved individuals in Virginia were free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued by President Abraham Lincoln the previous year, it did not apply to areas that were under Union control. Governor Smith's proclamation applied specifically to the state of Virginia, making it one of the first states to formally abolish slavery.

3. Women's Strike for Peace: On March 1, 1961, the Women's Strike for Peace (WSP) held its first national protest, a one-day strike against nuclear weapons testing. In Virginia, WSP members held a vigil outside the White House and met with government officials. The WSP became one of the most influential peace movements of the Cold War era, with chapters throughout the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.

4. Virginia Tech shooting: March 1, 2007, was the date of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history when 32 people were killed and 17 others were injured at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. The shooter, a senior at the university, killed two students in a dormitory before killing 30 more in a classroom building. The tragedy led to renewed calls for gun control and greater attention to mental health issues on college campuses.

5. Civil War battles: Several significant battles took place in Virginia on March 1 during the American Civil War. In 1862, Union forces under General George B. McClellan moved to attack Richmond, the Confederate capital, in what was known as the Peninsula Campaign. In 1864, Confederate troops led by General Jubal Early won a victory at the battle of Waynesboro, Virginia, during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign. And in 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered his troops to evacuate Richmond, leading to the fall of the Confederate capital and the end of the Civil War.
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