As we reflect on the upcoming Sesquicentennial we ask ourselves, why was Montgomery chosen as the site of the new Government? It was just a small inland river town of 8,000 souls – half of them slaves – and barely forty years from the wilderness. Montgomery had only been the capital since 1847. But probably because of its central location the several delegates from the Southern states who came together to discuss the formation of “a Southern Confederacy” chose Montgomery.
Here is the timeline: Alabama adopted the Ordinance of Secession January 11, 1861 and withdrew from the Federal Union. She invited the people of all the Southern States and Maryland and Delaware to meet in a convention on the fourth of February. Several states sent delegates.
The Confederate States of America (CSA) was organized on a bright sunshiny, clear, invigorating day, February 4th. The Provisional Congress assembled in the Senate Chamber in the Alabama State Capitol Building. (The First White House has one of the Senate desks and one of the chairs from that Chamber in President Davis’ Study.)
On the fifth of February Congress elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as President of the Confederate States and Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia as Vice-President. Mr. Davis was inaugurated on the 18th of that month. On March 4th Mrs. Davis and family arrived and they moved into the home rented for them. As we all know it later came to be known as the First White House of the Confederacy.