The Vagabond recently discovered a rare resolution among other papers found at the Etowah Historical Society. The resolution is dated 1860 and led to events that were the start of what became the War Between the States. The story begins here…
Tensions had been buil-ding for years in Alabama. When Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency in November of 1860, there was an outburst throughout Southern states. Many politically powerful Alabamians viewed the election as an opening wedge that threatened the state economically.
The nearby Jacksonville Republican and other Ala-bama newspapers were awash with news of this election. The results were many Southern screams for secession from the Union.
In Mobile, citizens passed a series of resolutions calling Lincoln’s election “a virtual overthrow of the Constitution and the equal rights of the States” and demanding that Alabama “withdraw from the Federal Union without any further delay.”
Residents in small towns followed suit by passing their own resolutions. One such resolution was in St. Clair County, of which included the southern part of the present Etowah County (Etowah County did not exist back then). This resolution recently was found among other documents in the archive library at the Etowah Historical Society.
“Resolution adopted at a meeting of some of the citizens of St. Clair [County] held at Ashville on Monday night the 17th November 1860.
“Resolved that as Citizens of the Sovereign State of Alabama and Saint Clair County, we believe the time has come for us to assert our rights and we now stand ready pledged to second any act that the Sovereign State of Alabama may take in assembling her rights either in or out of the Union by Separate State action or in uniting with her sister states of the South in forming a Southern Confederacy if such means should become necessary, however much we may deplore the sad alternative.”
The next month, on December 24, Governor A.B. Moore called an election for delegates to a constitutional convention. In anticipation of the state’s secession, on Jan. 4-5, 1861, Governor Moore ordered the state’s militiamen to seize the federal forts Morgan and Gaines at the entrance to Mobile Bay and the Mount Vernon arsenal north of Mobile.
Assembling on Jan. 7, 1861, the delegates four days later voted to declare Alabama’s immediate independence from the Uni-ted States. Guns blared and the bell at Gadsden’s First Baptist Church rang all night.
Montgomery women presented to the secession convention a flag bearing a single star, thus announcing that Alabama had withdrawn its star from the U.S. flag and was now flying it alone. This created the new nation of the Alabama Republic. It was on this date and until Feb. 18, 1861, that Alabama was a free republic. Those present understood that soon Alabama would add its star to a new confederacy of states.
A month later, delegates from six other seceded states met in Montgomery to create the new government of the Confederate States of America.
Alabama quickly offered Montgomery to serve as the new government’s ca-pital.
The new president, Jefferson Davis, arrived on Feb. 16. He was the first and only President of the Confederate States of America, stating clearly that he hoped for peace. Davis pointed out that the Confederacy was living proof that “governments rest upon the consent of the governed, and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish governments whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were established.” Davis also reiterated Southern economic strength and plans for free trade.