Alabama legislation in February 1860 was passed requiring the Governor to call for election of delegates to a convention to consider how to protect the “rights…of the state of Alabama” if the U.S. elected a Republican president, which happened with Abraham Lincoln’s election in November.

This convention of state delegates was held in the historic House of Representatives in the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery on January 7, 1861 to discuss secession. Several days of debate followed, and the vote was taken on January 11. When the roll call was finished there were sixty-one ayes and thirty-nine nays. The presiding officer declared: “The Ordinance of Secession is adopted. I declare the State of Alabama now free, sovereign and independent.”

I read in an article by David White in the Birmingham News that “the hall was loud on Jan 11. After the secession vote, door to the chamber were opened and crowds swarmed into the hall.” He was quoting from “The Alabama Confederate Reader” a book edited by Malcolm McMillan and published by the University of Alabama Press in 1963.

In a letter quoted from the book, a man named Jeremiah Clemens wrote: “If we are not already involved in a war, we soon will be. There is no hope of peace and he is but little better than a madman who dreams of a long exemption from invasion”. And so it was.