If you aren’t familiar with the events that led to the South’s secession or you just want to hear my take on it read, Civil War, The Beginning, before going any further!
Now that you are caught up–the creation of the Confederate States of America.
Although representatives from the South had discussed the secession from the North (the Union), it was all talk until November 6th, 1860. On this day, the ballots were tabulated and the citizens of America had decided on the nation’s next President, Abraham Lincoln. The South believed that not only was Lincoln anti-slavery, which would have crippled the South’s economy, but that he had only the North’s interest at heart and would forsake the South when troubling times fell upon them. Once word was out that Lincoln would become the next leader of the nation, the southern states took action.
On February 4th, 1861 (before Lincoln was sworn in), representatives from the following seven original states–Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas–met in Montgomery, Alabama, (which served as the CSA’s original capital) to establish a new government, to draw up the fundamental documents that would make the secession official, and hold its first Congress for the Confederate States of America (CSA). It is here where the CSA appointed Jefferson Davis as President of their newly found government.
The first action that was taken by the CSA was overthrowing all unfriendly government establishments. President Davis ordered that the CSA remove US hostile forces from post offices, court houses, arsenals, and forts. On April 11, 1861, G.T. Beauregard (first prominent General of the CSA) sent three aides to demand the surrender of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Immediate waving of the white flag was not an option and US Army Major Robert Anderson sent the three aides away. The next morning, at 4:30 am, the Confederate Army unleashed an entire arsenal upon the fort. Enduring 34 hours of continuous gun fire and mortars, the Union Army, their flag having fallen and their ammunition low, resigned and surrendered the fort to the Confederate Army. While almost no deaths occurred as a result of this battle, it did show that the South meant business and was driven to move north. It would be almost two years before another battle was fought at Fort Sumter.
When Lincoln heard the news of losing Fort Sumter to the Confederate States of America, he immediately summoned for 75,000 militia men to re-occupy numerous US properties, now under the South’s control. As southern states’ citizens saw that war was imminent, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia all stepped up in support of the CSA and its secession from the United States. As the CSA had newly acquired Virginia, they moved their capital to Richmond on May 30th, 1861. President Davis immediately started to raise troops to fight and established three military branches: Army, Navy, and Marines.
This completes the background for the creation of the Confederate States of America. Stick around for the next lesson: Civil War III / 1861.