January 11, 1861 – Delegates to the Alabama State Convention at Montgomery voted 61 to 39 to secede from the United States.
A week before convention delegates approved secession, Governor Andrew B. Moore issued orders for state troops to seize all Federal forts and military facilities in Alabama. Troops complied by seizing the Federal arsenal at Mount Vernon, taking some 20,000 stand of arms. They also took Forts Morgan and Gaines, two vital posts protecting the entrance to Mobile Bay.
The secession ordinance passed by a slimmer margin than in previous states, mainly because of anti-secession sentiment in northern Alabama. The margin may have been slimmer had some delegates who opposed secession not changed their votes to support it when they saw the ordinance would pass.
Large celebrations took place on the streets of Montgomery, as cheering crowds fired rockets and firecrackers, and many displayed the Southern Cross and the Lone Star emblems. In Mobile, a Federal judge yelled out his courtroom window that the U.S. Court for the South District of Alabama was “adjourned forever.”
The same day the delegates approved secession, they also resolved:
“In order to frame a revisional as a permanent Government, the people of the States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri, be and they are hereby invited to meet the people of the State of Alabama, by their delegates in convention, on the 4th day of February next in Montgomery.”
The delegates also retroactively endorsed Governor Moore’s order of last week to seize forts and military installations. Later this month, Alabama troops seized the lighthouse tender U.S.S. Alert and the revenue cutter U.S.S. Lewis Cass at Mobile.
- Davis, William C., Brother Against Brother: The War Begins (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 128
- Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 8
- Faust, Patricia L., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 507
- Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 21-22, 30
- Pollard, Edward A., Southern History of the War (New York: The Fairfax Press, 1990), p. 46