The Mississippi Secession

January 9, 1861 – Delegates to the Mississippi State Convention at Jackson voted 84 to 15 to secede from the United States.

Mississippi State Flag | Image Credit:
Mississippi State Flag | Image Credit:
"Bonnie Blue Flag" sheet music | Image Credit:
“Bonnie Blue Flag” sheet music | Image Credit:

Mississippi joined South Carolina as the second state to secede. Many delegates had opposed secession, but when an anti-secessionist Whig’s measure to negotiate with the Federal government failed by a vote of 78 to 21, most opponents changed their votes. Delegates paraded a blue banner with a single white star through the convention hall in celebration; this was said to have inspired the patriotic song “Bonnie Blue Flag,” written by comedian Harry McCarthy using the tune from “The Irish Jaunting Car.”

Three days later, the Mississippi congressmen resigned their seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The state legislature approved a call to form a convention of delegates from the seceded states, and state militia seized Fort Massachusetts and other Federal property on Ship Island at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Governor John Pettus commissioned recently resigned U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis as a major-general in the Mississippi militia. Davis and Pettus soon began discussions on how best to defend the state.



  • Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 11
  • Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 22-28 White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Q161
  • Wikipedia: Harry McCarthy


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