Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 1861 - Alabama Secedes & Demand for Surrender of Fort Sumter is Refused

Alabama State Capitol
January 11, 1861

Just 24 hours after Florida seceded the previous day, Alabama joined the growing number of Cotton States in leaving the Union on January 11, 1861.

As the ladies of Montgomery unveiled a blue flag that included the words "Independent Now and Forever" on one side and the Latin words "Nole Me Tangere" or "Touch Me Not" on the other, the delegates to the Alabama Secession Convention passed an ordinance of secession that specifically blamed the "election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States of America."

The document also included an invitation to the other Southern states to meet in Montgomery on February 4, 1861, to consider measures for the "common peace and security." This convention, of course, would lead to the formation of the Confederate States of America.

Please click here to learn more about Alabama's historic old capitol, where the ordinance of secession was passed: http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/montgomerycapitol2.

In Louisiana, meanwhile, state troops took possession of Forts Jackson and St. Philip on the Mississippi River below New Orleans. The forts were the primary river defenses for New Orleans and were considered of vital military importance.

Fort Sumter in 1861
In South Carolina, the first demand for the surrender of Fort Sumter was made by the State of South Carolina. Major Robert Anderson, commanding the fort, refused. Work continued on the fort at a rapid pace as soldiers and workmen struggled to place the unfinished citadel into a defensible condition. Guns were mounted and traverses constructed to protect exposed positions inside and on the top of the fort.

Around Charleston Harbor, state forces pushed forward with the construction of battery positions. Defenses facing the harbor and Fort Sumter were improved at Fort Moultrie and sand batteries were thrown up at other positions. The progress was rudimentary at this stage of the growing siege, but would intensify over the coming months.

To learn more about Fort Sumter, please visit http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/fortsumter.

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