Yesterday I went on a walking tour of Civil War sites in downtown Montgomery, in commemoration of the part Montgomery played during the War. As we all know, Montgomery served as Capitol of the Confederacy for a little over three months in the spring of 1861 before the seat of power moved to Richmond.
And all Confederate history buffs likewise know that the telegram that gave the order to fire on Fort Sumter was sent from the Winter building in downtown Montgomery 150 years ago tomorrow. Much of the political behind the scenes activity took place across the square, on the opposite corner of Market street (now Dexter Avenue and Commerce Street) at the old Exchange Hotel. We visited both sites. The Winter building still stands.
The hotel and the Winter building were about two blocks from the State Capitol, located at the east end of Market street. Two blocks north of the hotel was the Confederate Government building, and a block west of that was the First White House, ideally located for President Davis, as he could, and often did, easily walk from his house to any of the above locations.
Local historian and tour guide Mary Ann Neeley pointed out that Montgomery also served as a trade and industrial center, thanks to the Alabama river. The ironclad ship C.S.S. Nashville was built in Montgomery near the river. It became the last Confederate vessel to surrender on May 25, 1865, about two and a half months after General lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, according to Mary Ann. We visited the spot on the river where the ship was probably launched.
The tour was most enjoyable and informative (and 88 degrees temp) and I will tell you about some of the other things we saw tomorrow.