Monday, February 28, 2011

NC referendum fails to call secession convention

  • North Carolina Capitol at Raleigh, 1861
    North Carolina voters in a referendum split on the question of calling a secession convention. Out of over 93,000 votes cast statewide, the proposal is voted down by merely 194 votes. The vote totals: Union- 46,603 to Secession- 46,409./1861
  • In Montgomery, the Confederate government begins debate on a draft of the Permanent Constitution/1861 
  • Confederate Congress authorizes $50,000,000 in the form of 8% bonds/1861 
  • Missouri opens a state convention to consider secession./1861
  • In Washington, Congressman Elbridge G. Spaulding (N.Y.), capitalist, gives a private dinner at the National Hotel in honor of President-elect Lincoln and Vice President-elect Hamlin; General-in-Chief of the Army Winfield Scott is present, along with some Republican leaders depressed by the prospect of losing Southern business. In a remark that is as telling of Lincoln’s attitude toward the South as it is humorous, the evening was enlivened by his comment on a news item about a Georgian's oath to wear no clothes produced under the coming Republican regime. Lincoln quipped that he would like to see some Georgia gentlemen clad in the costume produced in their state—a shirt collar and a pair of spurs./1861
  • [SIEGE OF FORT SUMTER] At Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, Major Robert Anderson stays in constant communication with Washington as the incoming Lincoln Administration awaits its opportunity to take control of the military situation and put the Southerners in their place. Meanwhile, the newly independent Southern states have a growing desire to establish clearly their independence. Americans in the North trust the new Administration will bring peace for the sake of business and federal tax revenues while those in the South increasingly expect a collision./1861

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Peace Conference ends, Lincoln unmoved

Peace Conference, Washington
  • In Washington at the Willard Hotel, the Peace Conference ends by offering six proposed Constitutional amendments, but none of them have any chance of acceptance. The Senate rejects the Peace Conference proposals, and the House does not even consider them. With a pre-inauguration climate of a President who talks peace publicly and prepares for war privately, it seems politics is turning toward conflict. The US Congress strikes down a proposal for a constitutional convention, votes down Constitutional amendments to interfere with slavery, and votes down again the Crittenden Compromise./1861

  • Meanwhile, Washington, D. C. Mayor James G. Berret extends an official welcome to President-elect Lincoln, who resides at the Willard Hotel. Mayor Berret expresses the hope that Lincoln will "restore peace and harmony to our now distracted country." Lincoln acknowledges the "ill feeling that has existed and still exists between the people of the section from whence I came and the people here." He declares, "I have not now any purpose to withhold from you any of the benefits of the constitution . . . that I would not feel myself constrained to withhold from my own neighbors." Later, Lincoln talks with Sen. Stephen Douglas (Illinois) who stays late to make impassioned plea for the conciliation of the South. At 9 PM, a group of border statesmen, including former Sec. of Treasury James Guthrie of Kentucky and Alexander W. Doniphan of Missouri, calls on Lincoln to talk compromise. Despite these pleas and many others, Lincoln is unmoved in his absolute recalcitrance when it comes to compromise./1861
  • P. Gustave T. Beauregard becomes Brigadier General of the Confederate States Army./1861
  • South Carolina Governor Pickens requests from President Davis that the Confederacy assume command of the situation at Fort Sumter to preserve “honor and safety.”/1861
  • President Davis writes President-elect Lincoln, commending “Martin J. Crawford, John Forsyth, and A. B. Roman, [as] appointed special commissioners of the Confederate States to the United States” with “an earnest desire to unite and bind together our respective countries by friendly ties,” asking Lincoln to receive and treat with them in formal negotiations for peace and friendship. Lincoln, disinterested in peace, will never acknowledge them./1861

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Davis calls for US release of Sumter, Pickens

President Davis
  • President Jefferson Davis nominates W. L. Yancey of Alabama, P. A. Rost of Louisiana, and A. Dudley Mann of the Confederate States as members of a European Commission to promote the interests of the Confederate States of America overseas./1861
  • President Davis also writes the US Congress calling on it to release all armaments rightfully belonging to Southern states (including Forts Sumter and Pickens), arguing that they now should transfer to the Confederacy./1861
  • In Washington, President-elect Lincoln holds an interview for several hours with Gov. Thomas H. Hicks (Md.), Sen. Douglas (Ill.), and others who recommend that he use his influence for the settlement of pending difficulties./1861

Friday, February 25, 2011

US warship lurks as peace commissioners sent to Lincoln

Confederate Senate in Alabama Senate chamber
  • President Davis and president of the Montgomery Convention, Howell Cobb, advise the US Congress that they are sending three commissioners from the Confederacy to the United States, A. B. Roman, of Louisiana; Martin J. Crawford, of Georgia; John Forsyth, of Alabama, to Washington to discuss peace terms with President-elect Lincoln. In other business, Confederate Congress declares that the Mississippi River is freely opened to navigation by all states of the Confederacy/1861
  • Governor Pickens of South Carolina telegraphs President Davis that a war steamer of the United States is lying off Charleston Bar laden with reinforcements for Fort Sumter and that he would like advice as to what to do. President Davis replies that Governor Pickens should use his own discretion/1861 
  • In Washington, President-elect Abraham Lincoln, escorted by former New York Senator and Secretary of State-designate William Seward, attends an informal reception in both houses of Congress and visits justices of the Supreme Court during the afternoon. Meanwhile, US Supreme Court Justice from Alabama, Hon. John Archibald Campbell, acting as mediator, tells the Peace Commissioners meeting in Washington's prestigious Willard Hotel that according to Seward, the new Administration will evacuate Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina, and not reinforce Fort Pickens at Pensacola, Florida, yet nothing will change./1861
Old Alabama Senate Chamber
Old Alabama Senate Chamber

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Permanent Confederate Constitution completed

    St. John's Church, Washington, DC
    • The Convention in Montgomery completes work on the writing of the Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States of America. Debate will soon begin./1861

    • In Washington, President-elect Lincoln and family attend church with Senator William Seward at St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the Executive Mansion, and in the afternoon and evening meets with Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden, Massachusetts Congressman Charles Francis Adams, and Vice President John C. Breckinridge as Senator Seward reviews and makes comments on Lincoln’s draft of his Inaugural Address./1861

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Lincoln arrives in Washington, Texas ratifies secession

    Washington, D.C. in 1861. Click to enlarge
    • President-elect Abraham Lincoln, by an unpublished schedule and route, switches trains at 4am in Baltimore and arrives safely in Washington, D.C., at 6:00am for his inauguration despite receiving an assassination threat a few days ago. After breakfast with Sen. Seward (N.Y.), they call upon President Buchanan at the White House and meet members of cabinet. Various groups greet him throughout the day including delegates from the Peace Convention at 9pm, an impromptu reception for members of Congress, then Buchanan’s Cabinet at 10pm. /1861

    • In Texas, a public referendum votes 34,794 to 11,235 to ratify their legislature’s February 1 ordinance of secession, sending a strong message to Texas Governor Sam Houston, a staunch Unionist who had refused to call a secession convention. This gallant founder of Texas will soon be sacked as governor for his Unionist position./1861

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Lincoln avoids assassination plot

    Lincoln at Philadelphia, Feb 22, 1861
      At Washington’s birthday celebration in Philadelphia, President-elect Lincoln hoists a 34-star US flag over Independence Hall, the 34th star for Kansas, admitted almost a month ago. In a moving speech, he says, "I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. . . . in my view of the present aspect of affairs, there is no need of bloodshed and war.", but vowed that he "would rather be assassinated than surrender that principle.” He then leaves at 9:30am for Harrisburg, PA, where he rides to the capitol to address the legislature in a carriage pulled by six white horses and enjoys the last 34-gun salvo of his trip.
    With a confirmed threat of a planned assassination attempt when he is to arrive in Baltimore, Maryland (a city in which he had garnered merely 2% of the popular vote), Lincoln, with the insistence of his wife and a security detail headed by his friend Alan Pinkerton, leaves Harrisburg to meet an 11pm train at Philadelphia bound for the nation’s capital. Telegraph lines from Harrisburg are cut and special guards posted at key points along the rail to Philadelphia to ensure that nothing goes awry. From Philadelphia, Lincoln transfers to Wilmington, Delaware, and then to Baltimore, Maryland, in secret. The media will attack Lincoln for cowardice and blame his advisors./1861
      Major Robert Anderson, commanding Fort Sumter, Charleston, South Carolina, in honor of George Washington's birthday, fires 34 guns for all 34 United States, in utter scorn for the Confederate States/1861
      Augustus Wright of Georgia introduces a bill to the Provisional Confederate Congress in Montgomery to allow volunteers to join the Army of the Confederacy. The bill will be passed./1861

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Plot to assassinate Lincoln in Baltimore

    Lincoln arriving at the Continental Hotel (Thomas Nast)
    • Abraham Lincoln, on his grand tour on the way to his Inauguration, speaks to the New Jersey General Assembly in Trenton, “I shall do all that may be in my power to promote a peaceful settlement of our difficulties. The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than I am. None who would do more to preserve it. But it may be necessary to put the foot down firmly." He then arrives in Philadelphia about 4pm to a crowd of 100,000 well-wishers. 
    Speaking from the balcony of Philadelphia's Continental Hotel after being welcomed by Mayor Alexander Henry, Lincoln says, “I have felt all the while justified in concluding that the crisis, the panic, the anxiety of the country at this time is artificial.” The Baltimore Sun writes, “"We are confident that not one person in the crowd below heard one word of Lincoln's speech." Later, Mrs. Lincoln objects to staying in private home in Philadelphia while waiting to occupy White House, so the Lincoln’s overnight arrangements are changed to a room at the Continental. 
    Toward the end of an evening reception, N. B. Judd asks Lincoln to meet with him and Frederick W. Seward who has just arrived from Washington with a letter to Lincoln from his father, New York Senator William Seward and Secretary of State-designate. The letter, based upon information obtained by General Scott and Captain Charles P. Stone, describes a plot to assassinate Lincoln while he is in Baltimore. Detectives employed by the railroad also report a similar plot which involves either derailing his train from Harrisburg to Baltimore and killing all those on board, or attacking his carriage as it moves from one railroad station to the next in Baltimore.
    The plot has been hatched by the National Volunteers, a secret group aligned with the anti-Lincoln Knights of the Golden Circle. In concert, they plan to prevent Lincoln from taking the oath on March 4th. Agents had infiltrated the group’s meeting at Baltimore’s City Hotel and learned of the planned attack on the President-elect. They have even identified two principals, Cipriano Ferrandini, a Corsican immigrant, and George Sanders. Lincoln thanks the younger Seward for bringing the letter and comments that he will consider the advice to change time and schedule, but he refuses to change plans until commitments in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., are completed./1861
      • In Montgomery, the provisional Confederate Senate is at work ratifying President Davis’ Cabinet appointments. The Honorable Robert Toombs of Georgia is appointed Secretary of State. The Honorable Christopher Gustavus Memminger of Charleston, South Carolina, is appointed Secretary of the Treasury. The Honorable Judah Philip Benjamin, a Jewish statesman, is appointed Attorney General/1861 
      • William M. Martin is today one of the first to die for Southern Independence. He dies of exposure in South Carolina/1861 

      Sunday, February 20, 2011

      Lincoln receives anonymous threat

      Lincoln meets NYC Mayor Fernando Wood
      • On his grand trip toward his inauguration as the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln arrives in New York City to a quarter million well-wishers, a significant development in the home state of New York Senator William Seward who was his rival for the Republican nomination. Lincoln has since wisely appointed Seward his Secretary of State for his new Administration. 
      But not everyone in town is happy. Lincoln meets New York City Mayor Fernando Wood who only recently remarked that he wished the city could secede from the Union and apologized to Robert Toombs for his inability to restrain the New York police from seizing Georgia rifles in the port. And who would have ever imagined that a Mayor of New York City would make several rude comments to the President-elect? He does, but Lincoln ignores them as he does also an invitation from P.T. Barnum to tour his museum. Lincoln’s wife, Mary, and sons, Robert and Willie, though, living it up in New York City, take Barnum up on his offer.
      Lincoln instead met with his Vice President Hannibal Hamlin for the first time since just after the election in Chicago . During his stay in New York City, Lincoln receives an anonymous threat. It reads, “Feb 20, 1861  Mr. Lincoln -  May the hand of the devil strike you down before long - you are destroying this country.  Dam you - every breath you take -  Hand of God against you.”/1861
      • In Montgomery, Alabama, the provisional Confederate government establishes the Department of the Navy, but with no ships, the department is more of an abstract idea. Secretary of the Navy-designate Stephen Mallory has an arduous task ahead of him. The Provisional Congress also gives President Davis power to make contracts for the manufacture and purchase of war goods, certain that the new radical US President-elect Lincoln will probably prosecute war against the South/1861
      • Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard Beauregard, recently removed after a few days as Superintendent at West Point simply for being a Southerner, resigns his commission in the United States Army./1861

      Saturday, February 19, 2011

      Davis makes Cabinet appointments

      Confederate Cabinet
      • Jefferson Davis begins to form a Cabinet in Montgomery. Robert Toombs will become Secretary of State. Leroy P. Walker will be Secretary of War. Christopher G. Memminger will head Treasury. Judah P. Benjamin will be Attorney General, the first Jewish Cabinet member in the history of North America. Stephen Mallory will be Secretary of the Navy, and John Reagan will become Postmaster General, a position he will hold throughout the life of the Confederacy./1861

      Lincoln at Astor House, NYC
      • President-elect Abraham Lincoln, using his trip to his inauguration to an advantage, is greeted by an estimated 250,000 well-wishers in New York City. According to the Morning Courier and New York Enquirer, Lincoln was greeted by “thunders of applause . . . deafening cheers, waving of handkerchiefs.” Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, however, stated that while the crowd showed “much respect” there was “little enthusiasm.”/1861

      • Louisiana state militia takes control of the US paymaster’s office in New Orleans./1861

      Friday, February 18, 2011

      Jefferson Davis inaugurated

      Inauguration of Jefferson Davis at Montgomery
      • His Excellency, Jefferson Davis, is inaugurated Provisional President of the Confederate States of America today. In his Inaugural Address, he points to “the American idea that governments rest on the consent of the governed.” While making it clear he wants to avoid armed conflict, he also leaves little doubt as to his dedication to the Southern position: "We have entered upon the career of independence, and it must be inflexibly pursued. Through many controversies with our late associates of the Northern States, we have vainly endeavored to secure tranquility and obtain respect for the rights to which we were entitled. As a necessity, not a choice, we have resorted to the remedy of separation, and henceforth our energies must be directed to the conduct of our own affairs and the perpetuity of the Confederacy which we have formed. With a Constitution differing only from that of our fathers insofar as it is explanatory of their well-known intent, freed from sectional conflicts, which have interfered with the pursuit of the general welfare, it is not unreasonable to expect that States from which we have separated may seek to unite their fortunes to ours under the government which we have instituted. For this your Constitution makes adequate provision, but beyond this, if I mistake not the judgment and will of the people, a reunion with the States from which we have separated is neither practicable nor desireable." /1861 
      • President-elect Lincoln, on his way to his inauguration in Washington, travels by train from Buffalo to Albany, New York, in a snowstorm. Making many stops along the way in such weather, Lincoln becomes very hoarse addressing the crowds. During one of the by-now-common cannon salvos, one shot is recklessly fired point blank at the train, covering some travelers with shattered glass. In a speech after arriving in Albany, Lincoln with glowing pride declares himself “the humblest of all individuals that have been elevated to the presidency.” Rivalry between the New York governor and members of the legislature hampers the visit and makes Lincoln declare he hopes never to return to the city./1861
      • In San Antonio, Texas, US Army commander, Brevet-Major General D.E. Twiggs orders all U.S. military forces in Texas to evacuate their garrisons and make their way out of Texas by way of the coast according to the surrender terms./1861

      Star marking the place Davis stood Feb 18, 1861

      Davis Statue in Montgomery
      Alabama Capitol with Davis Statue

        Thursday, February 17, 2011

        US Arsenal in San Antonio surrenders

        Ambrotype believed to be of Twigg's surrender
        • In San Antonio, the Texas Commissioners of Committee of Public Safety again demand immediate official surrender of the US Arsenal, noting that they are anxious to avoid a collision between US Army and over 1,000 Texas militia because of the national ramifications. Brevet Major-General D.E. Twiggs, a Georgian, immediately surrenders the garrison, keeping his men’s arms, equipment, medical, food, and transportation stores so that his force may be withdrawn./1861
        • On this Lord’s Day, President-elect Lincoln and his party, traveling to Washington for his inauguration as the sixteenth President of the United States, observe a day of rest in Buffalo, New York. Former President Millard Fillmore, a resident of Buffalo, calls on Lincoln at 10am and takes him by Fillmore’s own carriage to attend his Unitarian church service, returning to the hotel for Mrs. Lincoln, then to Fillmore’s home to dine with them. Back at the hotel, Lincoln receives friends, eats supper with his family, then hears an Indian preacher, Father John Beason, in the evening./1861

        Wednesday, February 16, 2011

        Davis arrives in Montgomery, Lincoln kisses a girl

        Jefferson Davis on a white horse
        • President-elect Jefferson Davis arrives at 10:00pm by train amid shouts from a large crowd in Montgomery, Alabama, from his plantation Brierfield near Vicksburg, Mississippi, to accept the call of the Southern people and be inaugurated to the Presidency of the Confederate States of America. Along the route, Davis made twenty-five speeches, returning thanks for the complimentary greetings to the crowds assembled at the various depots where he was received with military escorts and salutes. A Congressional committee and Montgomery authorities meet President Davis about eight miles from Montgomery, and formally received him. Two fine military companies from Columbus, Georgia, had joined the escort at Opelika, Alabama. Davis thanks the large crowd at the depot for the hospitality of the citizens of Alabama. In a short speech, he briefly reviews the present position of the South and says the time for compromises has passed. “We are now determined to maintain our position and make all who oppose us smell Southern powder and feel the Southern steel,” Davis says./1861 

        • At 6am in San Antonio, Texas, the Commissioners of the Committee on Public Safety, representing the seceded Republic of Texas, Thomas J. Devine, S. A. Maverick, and P. N. Luckett, demand the surrender of the US Arsenal at San Antonio even as “during the past night,” according to the US Arsenal authorities, “the town of San Antonio had been invaded by armed bodies of Texans [(over 1,000 Texas militia)], who had seized the property of the United States.” US Brevet Major-General D.E. Twiggs, after reading the demand for surrender, says he “gave up everything,” but nothing official happens./1861
        Lincoln and Grace Bedell, Westfield, NY
        • Even the anti-Republican Cleveland Plain Dealer “must confess to being most favorably impressed with both” Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. The whistle-stop train trip from their home in Springfield, Illinois, to his inauguration in Washington has begun paying political dividends. Leaving Cleveland at 9:00 a.m., the presidential party has a packed travel day to Buffalo, New York. At Westfield, New York, Lincoln meets now twelve-year-old Grace Bedell, who had written to Presidential candidate Lincoln suggesting he grow a beard. Back during the campaign on October 15, 1860, the 11 year old Bedell had written Lincoln to suggest a way for him to get elected: “I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you. You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.” 
        Lincoln replied four days later: “As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?” The silly affectation must have caught on for him, for today at Westfield, New York, Lincoln was sporting a beard. 
        The Philadelphia Enquirer reports what happened next and quotes Lincoln, “Some three months ago, I received a letter from a young lady here; it was a very pretty letter, and she advised me to let my whiskers grow, as it would improve my personal appearance; acting partly upon her suggestion, I have done so; and now, if she is here, I would like to see her; . . . A small boy, mounted on a post, with his mouth and eyes both wide open, cried out, ``there she is, Mr. LINCOLN,'' pointing to a beautiful girl, with black eyes, who was blushing all over her fair face.” The President left the car, and the crowd making way for him, he reached her, and gave her several hearty kisses, and amid the yells of delight from the excited crowd, he bade her good-bye.  
        In Buffalo, former President Millard Fillmore greets his arrival at 4:30pm. The crowd of 10,000 is so dense and aggressive that the guest party is separated and Maj. David Hunter dislocates his shoulder while escorting Lincoln./1861

        Tuesday, February 15, 2011

        Montgomery: Friendly but determined negotiation

        Alabama Capitol staircase where Confederate Congress met
        • The new Confederate Provisional Congress meeting in Montgomery passes a resolution that the new President-elect Davis should appoint a commission of three persons to be “sent to the government of the United States of America, for the purpose of negotiating friendly relations between that government and the Confederate States of America, and for the settlement of all questions of disagreement between the two governments upon principles of right, justice, equity, and good faith." In the event that peaceful negotiations are not possible, the Congress also resolves to take Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina, and Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Florida, by force if necessary. Delegates from recently seceded Texas arrive in Montgomery to take seats in the Confederate Congress./1861 

        • Assistant adjutant-general of the U.S. army, L. Thomas, writes today (received March 1) to the newly appointed army commander in Texas, Colonel C.A. Waite of the U.S. First Infantry, that General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, orders that, in the event of the secession of Texas, Colonel Waite should, "without unnecessary delay, put in march for Fort Leavenworth [Kansas], the entire military force of your department,” sending any supplies they cannot carry with them by water to New York. Scott’s purpose is twofold: to keep federal property out of the hands of a seceded Texas and to punish Texas for their action by leaving the state’s frontier open to Indian attack. By the time the order would arrive (March 1), the Texas state militia and the Commissioners of the Committee of Public Safety of Texas would have received the surrender of all federal property in the state and all US Army personnel would leave by way of the coast./1861

        • In Washington, the Peace Conference drags on interminably, discussing and debating every detail of several proposed compromises to the secession crisis, with no real hope for a durable solution, entirely because President-elect Lincoln has indicated his absolute opposition to any compromise with the Southern States./1861

        • Raphael Semmes resigns from the United States Navy to defend his state of Alabama/1861 

        • On his trip to be inaugurated the sixteenth President of the United States, President-elect Abraham Lincoln, from the Manongahela House balcony in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the longest address of his journey, strangely remarks that “there is no crisis, excepting such a one as may be gotten up at anytime by turbulent men, aided by designing politicians.” After a carriage ride through nearly impenetrable crowds to the train station, Lincoln continues to Cleveland, Ohio, by late afternoon in a rain and snow storm. While having his mid-day dinner with the president of the railroad at Sourbeck’s Hotel in Canton, Ohio, a company of Canton Zouaves stand guard while a band plays national airs, and a gun salute shatters a hotel window during meal, sprinkling glass on Mrs. Lincoln. Again he meets large crowds, though the Democrat-leaning Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter wonders if the warm receptions are thinly veiled requests for political appointments. Welcomed by tens of thousands with military escort, Lincoln says, “"I think that there is no occasion for any excitement. The crisis, as it is called, is altogether an artificial crisis." Later Lincoln’s son, Robert, causes some excitement when he misplaces the President-elect’s satchel of the Inaugural Addresses./1861

        Monday, February 14, 2011

        Columbus to Pittsburgh in cold, pouring rain

        • On the whistle-stop train trip to his Inauguration, President-elect Lincoln travels twelve hours from Columbus, Ohio, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a day-long pouring rain. Despite the weather, well-wishers turned out in little towns along the railroad route, and Lincoln became hoarse from the numerous brief impromptu speeches along the way. At Rochester, Pennsylvania, Lincoln answers a question, "What will you do with the secessionists then?" by saying, "My friend, that is a matter which I have under very grave consideration."/1861

        Sunday, February 13, 2011

        Lincoln: "nothing going wrong"

        Lincoln addresses the Ohio legislature
        • The Confederate State Department resolves to send commissioners to Washington, Britain, France, and other parts of Europe to secure recognition for the Confederacy/1861 
        • Virginia assembles a convention to consider the possibility of secession./1861
        • In Washington, The Electoral College of the United States meets and officially elects Abraham Lincoln the sixteenth President./1861
        • US President-elect Lincoln, on his pre-Inauguration trip from Springfield to Washington, travels from Cincinnati to Columbus, state capital of Ohio. The trip is supposed to build political capital from his election victory, but he is still doing damage control from his speech in Indianapolis which angered Democrats. In Columbus, Lincoln gives a speech to Ohio's General Assembly minimizing the difficulties of the country, saying “there is nothing going wrong.” He acknowledges that he has revealed little about "the policy of the new administration," but intimating a coming shift once he is in office, he explains, "In the varying and repeatedly shifting scenes of the present, and without a precedent which could enable me to judge by the past, it has seemed fitting that before speaking upon the difficulties of the country, I should have gained a view of the whole field . . . being at liberty to modify and change the course of policy, as future events may make a change necessary." At 5:00 p.m. Lincoln receives word that the electoral votes had been counted, and he has been officially elected the sixteenth President./1861

        Saturday, February 12, 2011

        Lincoln goes on damage control

        • On his trip to Washington, President-elect Lincoln makes numerous stops along the way, but in an effort to tone down his remarks yesterday in Indianapolis about the preservation of the Union which angered Upper South and other conservative Democrats, he goes out of his way to avoid expressing his real opinions, asking citizens in Cincinnati to be loyal to the Constitution, and even stating to several thousand of the German Industrial Association in Cincinnati that he will not reveal what he plans to do with the national crisis as President. "I deem it my duty that I should wait until the last moment, for a development of the present national difficulties, before I express myself decidedly what course I shall pursue.”/1861
        • Jefferson Davis, President-elect of the Confederacy, also makes whistle stops on his way to Montgomery, Alabama, at one stop admitting that secession could eventuate in war./1861
        • The Arkansas State Militia seizes the US Arsenal at Napoleon, Arkansas/1861
        • Louisiana adopts its own state flag. Louisiana's Governor Thomas O. Moore obtains control of Federal property in the State with the help of the Legislature./1861

        Friday, February 11, 2011

        Lincoln heads to Washington, Davis to Montgomery

        Reenactment of the 1861 Lincoln Train
        • President-elect Abraham Lincoln departs Springfield, Illinois, for Washington, D.C., as preparations are well under way in the nation’s capital for his inauguration as the sixteenth President of the United States. This whistle-stop train trip is designed to maximize the President-elect’s exposure to the populace and capitalize on his election victory by winning over those who may be still wary of the administration of a relatively new, left-wing Republican Party. 
        But in a speech in Indianapolis, Lincoln doesn’t help himself. He gives his  controversial views on the preservation of the Union, angering many of the more conservative Democrats across the country, especially those in the Upper South. The remarks seem to betray Lincoln’s ideas about state sovereignty and military invasion of the South at a time when he was playing down the idea of any crisis at all.
        From the balcony of the Bates House where he will overnight, he says: "The words 'coercion' and 'invasion' are in great use about these days. . . . Would the marching of an army into South Carolina, for instance, without the consent of her people, and in hostility against them, be coercion or invasion? . . . But if the Government, for instance, but simply insists upon holding its own forts, or retaking those forts which belong to it, or the enforcement of the laws of the United States . . . or even the withdrawal of the mails from those portions of the country where the mails themselves are habitually violated; would any or all of these things be coercion? . . . What is the particular sacredness of a State? . . . I am speaking of that assumed right of a State, as a primary principle, that the Constitution should rule all that is less than itself, and ruin all that is bigger than itself. But, I ask, wherein does consist that right? . . . I am deciding nothing, but simply giving something for you to reflect upon."
        There is also some excitement during the day when the satchel containing Lincoln’s copies of his Inaugural Address are missed, but later found./1861
        • His Excellency Jefferson Davis leaves his Mississippi plantation Brierfield near Vicksburg by train to accept the call of the Southern people to the Presidency of the Southern Confederacy/1861
        Vice-President Alexander Stephens
        • On his 49th birthday, the Honorable Alexander H. Stephens is inaugurated Provisional Vice President of the Confederate States of America, in Montgomery, Alabama, but perhaps in deference to Jefferson Davis he makes no official statement./1861 

        Thursday, February 10, 2011

        Davis surprised at his election

        The Davises receive news of his election at Brierfield
        • At home at Brierfield just south of Vicksburg, Mississippi, while pruning roses with his wife Varina Howell Davis, Jefferson Davis is completely taken aback at a telegram he receives today announcing his unanimous election to the Presidency of the new Confederacy of Southern States.   
        Mrs. Davis would later write, "He looked so grieved that I feared some evil had befallen our family. After a few minutes' painful silence, he told me, as a man might speak of a sentence of death ..."  
        Immediately he is involved in a swirl of activity involving plans to travel to Montgomery, Alabama, to take part in his inauguration. 
        The new Montgomery government keenly wants to hold Davis’ inauguration before Lincoln can take over the White House on March 4./1861

        Wednesday, February 9, 2011

        Jefferson Davis elected President

        J. Davis / A.H. Stephens
        • Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and Alexander Hamilton Stephens of Georgia are unanimously elected Provisional President and Vice President of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama. The men selected are at the moment unaware of the honor. The choice of these two devolved on the desire in the Convention to have the border states join the new Confederacy. Davis’ and Stephens’ moderate positions and able leadership will likely be attractive to these the border states. In a move to preserve order, the Provisional Congress resolves that the laws of the United States will remain valid unless they interfere with stated law of the new Confederacy./1861 
        • In Tennessee, a referendum votes down a proposal 68,282 to 59,449 to hold a convention to consider secession./1861
        • At Fort Pickens, Pensacola Bay, Florida, although the USS Brooklyn has arrived to reinforce the installation, both Federal and state authorities decide that the balance of power should not be disturbed and for now there will be no reinforcement of Fort Pickens./1861