February 1861

The sectional rift between North and South had escalated from uncertainty to crisis, as six states had left the Union and began seizing Federal arsenals and forts. Desperate attempts to compromise had failed in Congress. Northerners were growing frustrated by the Buchanan administration’s reluctance to stop the secession, while southerners were citing their rights under the Constitution to justify leaving the Union.

The Texas Secession

1 Feb – Delegates to the Texas State Convention at Austin voted 166 to 7 to secede from the United States.

The National Peace Convention

4 Feb – The Peace Convention called by the Virginia legislature in January assembled at Washington.

The Confederate States of America

8 Feb – Delegates to the Montgomery Convention approved the Provisional Constitution of the Confederate States.

The New Confederate Government

9 Feb – The Provisional Confederate Congress assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, and delegates to the Montgomery Convention selected a provisional president and vice president.

Lincoln Leaves Springfield

11 Feb – President-elect Abraham Lincoln and Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln left their hometown of Springfield, Illinois on their long journey to Washington, D.C.

Davis Arrives at Montgomery

16 Feb – Jefferson Davis reached the Confederate capital at Montgomery, Alabama after a five-day journey from his plantation home south of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

The Inauguration of Jefferson Davis

18 Feb – Jefferson Davis of Mississippi became the provisional president of the new Confederate States of America.

Lincoln Sneaks Into Washington

22 Feb – President-elect Abraham Lincoln secretly left for Washington in response to rumors that Confederate sympathizers planned to assassinate him in Baltimore.

Final Compromise Efforts

27 Feb – The U.S. House of Representatives considered and defeated various measures seeking to reconcile North and South.

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Last Updated: 2/4/2017

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