The Tragic Conflict: The Civil War and Reconstruction

By William B. Hesseltine | Go to book overview

7
The Confederate States of America

Jefferson Davis

Mississippi was the second State to withdraw from the Union, her ordinance of secession being adopted on the 9th of January, 1861. She was quickly followed by Florida on the 10th, Alabama on the 11th, and, in the course of the same month, by Georgia on the 18th, and Louisiana on the 26th. The Conventions of these States (together with that of South Carolina) agreed in designating Montgomery, Alabama, as the place, and the 4th of February as the day, for the assembling of a congress of the seceding States, to which each State Convention, acting as the direct representative of the sovereignty of the people thereof, appointed delegates.

Telegraphic intelligence of the secession of Mississippi had reached Washington some considerable time before the fact was officially communicated to me. This official knowledge I considered it proper to await before taking formal leave of the Senate. My associates from Alabama and Florida concurred in this view. Accordingly, having received notification of the secession of these three States about the same time, on the 21st of January, Messrs. Yulee and Mallory, of Florida, Fitzpatrick and Clay, of Alabama, and myself, announced the withdrawal of the States from which we were respectively accredited, and took leave of the Senate at the same time.

In the action which she then took, Mississippi certainly had no purpose to levy war against the United States, or any of them. As her Senator, I endeavored plainly to state her position in the annexed remarks addressed to the Senate in taking leave of the body:

I rise, Mr. President, for the purpose of announcing to the Senate that I have satisfactory evidence that the State of Mississippi, by a solemn ordinance of her people, in convention assembled, has declared her separation from the United States. Under these circumstances, of course, my functions are terminated here. It has seemed to me proper, however, that I should appear in the Senate to announce that fact to my associates, and I will say but very little more. The occasion does not invite me to go into argument; and my physical

JEFFERSON DAVIS, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, 2 vols. ( New York, 1881), Vol. 1, Pt. 3, Chs. 3-10.

-138-

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