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Secession and the Civil War in Alabama:
A Detailed Time Line

Dr. R. B. Rosenburg, University of North Alabama
Correlates to Alabama Course of Study: Social Studies 10th Grade Content Standard 10, p. 73
Correlates to Graduation Exam Eligible Standard Content IV, Objective 1

Nov. 6, 1860: Presidential candidate John C. Breckenridge carries Alabama with 49,019 votes to John Bell's 27,827 and Stephen A. Douglas' 13,657. Republican Abraham Lincoln is not on the ballot.

Dec. 6, 1860: Alabama Governor Andrew Barry Moore calls for the election of delegates to secession convention.

Dec. 24, 1860: Election of delegates to Alabama secession convention.

Jan. 4, 1861: Four companies of state militia based in Mobile seize the U.S. arsenal at Mount Vernon.

Jan. 5, 1861: Fort Morgan (Baldwin County) and Fort Gaines (Mobile County) are seized and occupied by the 1st Regiment of Alabama Volunteers (state troops).

Jan. 7, 1861: Secession convention commences in Montgomery.

Jan. 11, 1861: Delegates vote (61-39) to secede, becoming the fourth state to do so. The Republic of Alabama is declared.

Jan. 13, 1861: Second Regiment of Alabama Volunteers ordered to Pensacola.

Feb. 4, 1861: Montgomery becomes provisional capital of the Confederate States of America (CSA).

Feb. 8, 1861: Provisional Constitution of the CSA is adopted.

Feb. 18, 1861: Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as provisional President of CSA on portico of state capitol building.

Mar. 4, 1861: First National Confederate flag raised over capitol in Montgomery.

Mar. 13, 1861: The Republic of Alabama formally joins the CSA.

Apr. 11, 1861: CSA Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker of Huntsville authorizes bombardment of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, by telegraph from Montgomery.

May 21, 1861: CSA capital relocated to Richmond.

Aug. 8, 1861: John Gill Shorter of Eufaula is elected governor 37,849 to 28,121 over Thomas Hill Watts.

Dec. 2, 1861: Governor Shorter vows in his inaugural address that "Alabamians never will surrender."

Feb. 8, 1862: Federal gunboat flotilla on Tennessee River reaches Florence (first invasion by Federal troops in Alabama, 200 miles behind CSA lines).

Mar. 1, 1862: Governor Shorter calls on Alabama planters to limit cotton production. Eight months later the legislature imposes a tax of ten cents per pound on all cotton grown above 2,500 pounds of seed cotton per worker.

Mar. 1862: Tuscaloosa is temporarily placed under martial law owing to food shortages.

Apr. 1, 1862: Governor Shorter gives order that distillation of ardent spirits [hard liquors] in Alabama must cease, except that which he would license for medicinal and war purposes.

Apr. 11, 1862: Federal forces under Gen. Ormsby (Old Stars) Mitchel march into defenseless Huntsville.

May 1-2, 1862: Athens is sacked by three Federal regiments under Col. Ivan Vasilevitch Turchininov (John Turchin, a former Russian artillery officer and veteran of the Crimean War).

May 9-10, 1862: Pensacola evacuated by CSA forces.

May 12, 1862: Governor Shorter calls on the entire male population between the ages of 16 to 60 to organize themselves into volunteer units to be called the State Guard.

Aug. 31, 1862: Federals evacuate Huntsville and temporarily withdraw from the Tennessee Valley.

Oct. 1862: The legislature authorizes Governor Shorter to impress slaves for war work: railroad grading projects, erecting fortifications, and river defenses. By August 1863 more than 10,000 slaves impressed.

Nov. 1862: The legislature appropriates $250,000 for the manufacture or purchase of 50,000 pairs of shoes for Alabama troops.

Nov. 26, 1862: Governor Shorter calls on Alabamians to "give no shelter to deserters." Between 8,000-10,000 "tories" and deserters, who formed marauding bands called "Prowling brigades" and "Destroying Angels," terrorized parts of 11 counties in the northern and southeastern portions of the state.

Dec. 1862: Union raid up the Choctawhatchee River (northern Florida/southeastern Alabama).

Jan. 1863: Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation "frees" slaves in areas under Confederate control, which included most of Alabama.

Apr. 19-May 3, 1863: Col. A. D. Streight's "Jackass Cavalry" (so named because they rode mules instead of horses) conducts raid across North Alabama, terminating at Lawrence, Ala., with Streight's capture by CSA forces under Gen. N. B. Forrest.

Aug. 17, 1863: Governor Shorter appeals to a special called legislature and the people of Alabama to resist "that abolition despotism which has decreed the emancipation of the slaves."

Oct. 1863: Raid by Union colonel George E. Spencer's 1st Alabama Cavalry, USA, commences at Corinth, Mississippi, and is turned back at Jasper, Alabama.

Dec. 1, 1863: Former CSA Attorney General, Thomas Hill Watts, is inaugurated as governor.

Dec. 12, 1863: The legislature appropriates $3 million to be distributed to purchase corn for indigent soldiers' families.

Jan. 19, 1864: Governor Watts complains bitterly to Secretary of War James A Seddon: "Many of the impressing officers care neither for God nor man."

Mar. 30, 1864: Gen. James H. Clanton to Governor Watts: "Our own cavalry has been a great terror to our own people. Stealing, robbing, and murdering is quite common."

July 1864: Directed by Gen. W. T. Sherman, 2,300 Federal cavalrymen under Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau drive from Decatur into central Alabama to destroy the Montgomery & West Point Railroad, a vital link to Atlanta.

Aug. 5, 1864: Adm. David Farragut's Federal flotilla steams into Mobile Bay.

Aug. 7, 1864: Fort Gaines surrenders.

Aug. 23, 1864: Fort Morgan surrenders.

Sept. 28-29, 1864: President Jefferson Davis appears in Montgomery and addresses the legislature in special session the next day. A resolution in the House calling for a negotiated peace is defeated 42-32.

Oct. 1864: Castle Morgan, POW camp at Cahaba, holds as many as 2,151 Federal prisoners.

Nov. 30, 1864: Lt. Col. H. C. Lockhart, commandant for conscription in Alabama, reports desertions spreading to "some of the most wealthy and enlightened counties in the State"— Marengo, Greene, Sumter, Perry, and Dallas counties.

Dec. 9, 1864: Governor Watts to Gen. Richard Taylor: "The cries of starving people are coming up to me almost every day from that section [north Alabama]."

Mar. 3, 1865: Governor Watts issues proclamation: "We must either become the slaves of Yankee masters, degrading us to equality with the Negroes or we must with the help of God, and our own strong arms and brave hearts, establish our freedom and independence."

Mar. 16-Apr. 24, 1865: A 12,000 man combined arms Federal force under Gen. James H Wilson conducts a blitzkrieg maneuver from Chickasaw Landing to Blue Ridge, destroying in several weeks what it took the CSA four years to create and wrecking the state's burgeoning coal and iron industries.

Apr. 2, 1865: CSA ordnance center at Selma falls to Wilson's Raiders.

Apr. 3, 1865: Wilson's Raiders under Gen. John Croxton capture Tuscaloosa and burn the University of Alabama.

Apr. 8, 1865: Spanish Fort (Baldwin County) evacuated.

Apr. 9, 1865: Fort Blakeley (Baldwin County) assaulted and captured.

Apr. 12, 1865: Mayor W. L. Coleman and the city council surrender Montgomery to Wilson's Raiders on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Fort Sumter.

Apr. 13, 1865: Mobile surrenders to Federal forces under Gen. Edward R. S. Canby.

Apr. 14, 1865: Abraham Lincoln dies.

Apr. 1729, 1865: Federal forces under Gen. Benjamin Grierson raid from Blakely to Eufaula.

May 1, 1865: Governor Watts is captured in Union Springs, sent to Montgomery and later Macon, Georgia, before being released by mid-June.

May 4, 1865: Gen. Richard Taylor, commanding the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana, surrenders all troops under his command at Citronelle, Alabama, becoming the last organized CSA force to surrender east of the Mississippi River.

May 25, 1865: Mobile is nearly destroyed by fire following a deadly accidental explosion of a powder magazine.

June 21, 1865: President Andrew Johnson appoints Lewis E. Parsons of Talladega as provisional governor.