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The Civil War Month by Month: Feb 1861

CW - 150

Civil War 150th anniversary

The Civil War 150th Anniversary

Interesting facts, links, and suggested books for each month of the Civil War.

February 1861

This Month's Events

  • This month in North Carolina former governor William Alexander Graham is a candidate for election to the state convention to consider secession. He makes notes for himself on 5 points to use in his speeches. Points 1 and 5 are especially interesting. "1st. If slavery is concerned, if we fail, it will certainly be abolished. ... 5. The idea that there will be no war because the Northern people will not fight is absurd. The North Western men [he means Indiana, Illinois, etc.] are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, their ancestors in many cases having gone from the old Southern States, and in all our wars have proved themselves worthy soldiers."

  • 4 February. Delegates from the six seceded states meet in Montgomery, Alabama to form the Confederate States of America. The North Carolinians who attend (Matt W. Ransom, David L. Swain, and John L. Bridgers) are designated as "observers" since North Carolina has not yet withdrawn from the United States. Montgomery becomes the capital of the Confederacy.

  • 4 February. While the secession convention is meeting in Alabama, another group meets in Washington. This is the Peace Conference or Convention with more than 130 delegates who hope that they can forge a compromise and "adjust the present unhappy controversies". North Carolina sends 5 delegates headed by former governor John Motley Morehead. The other members are Thomas Ruffin, George Davis, Daniel Barringer, and David S. Reid. The conference does offer a proposed constitutional amendment, but it pleases neither pro- nor anti-slavery supporters.

  • 7 February. The Choctaw Nation votes to ally itself with the Confederacy.

  • 9 February. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi is elected president of the Confederacy; Alexander Stephens of Georgia is vice-president. Their inauguration is on the 18th. Since the Confederate constitution provides for one 6-year term for the president, Davis will be the Confederacy's only chief executive.

  • 11 February. The train carrying Abraham Lincoln to Washington leaves Springfield, Illinois.

  • 18 February. In Texas General David Twiggs surrenders all U. S. military posts in the state to the Confederacy.

  • 23 February. Texas secedes from the Union.

  • 28 February. Efforts to call a secession convention in North Carolina fail by 651 votes out of nearly 94,000 cast in a statewide referendum.

This Month's Fiction

Adult fiction

Children's Fiction

This Month's Non-Fiction

Adult Nonfiction

Children's Nonfiction

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