The Civil War in Alabama

An overview



  • (1859-1861) Andrew Barry Moore, governor of Alabama, is serving his second term of office
  • (January) Platform of the Alabama Democracy adopted, Montgomery
  • (February 24th) General Assembly adopts Joint Resolutions (2) to require the governor to call for elections of delegates to a constitutional convention, should a “Black Republican” be elected President of the United States
  • (December 24th) Governor Andrew Barry Moore issues writs of election immediately after the meeting of the electoral college
  • (December 27th) Alabama and Georgia offer troops to South Carolina, if needed
  • (December 27th) Commissioners are sent to other southern states for consultation on the best course to “protect their interest and honor in the impending crisis”
  • (December 27th) Commissioner S. F. Hale’s Letter to Kentucky Governor Beriah Magoffin


  • (January 4th) Alabama seizes the US Arsenal at Mount Vernon, on the Mobile River, following the secession of South Carolina
  • (January 5th) Alabama troops seize Forts Morgan and Gaines at the entrance to Mobile Bay
  • (January 11th) “An Ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of Alabama and other States united under the compact styled ‘The Constitution of the United States of America'” is passed
  • (January 11th) Speech of E. S. Dargan at the Secession Convention
  • (January 11th) Delegates to a Provisional Congress of seceded states are selected, and invitations to meet in Montgomery are issued
  • (January 11th) Alabama State Convention adopts a state flag which flew for one month, until damaged by a storm
  • (February 4th) The Provisional Congress of seven states assembles in Montgomery
  • (February 18th) Jefferson Davis inaugurated President of the Confederate States of America; his Inaugural address at his new capital, Montgomery
  • (March 4th) Provisional Congress adopts the “Stars and Bars” design of Nicola Marschall [illustration] as the national flag [above, left]
  • (March 21st) The Alabama Constitutional Convention adjourned indefinitely having ratified the Constitution of the Confederate States of America
  • (April 15th) The United States declares war on the Confederacy, and Alabamians began surging to military camps. Northern counties, strongly attached to the Union, openly discuss forming a new state in the Tennessee River Valley
  • (October 7th) Alabama supplies 27,000 men for military service, in “twenty-three regiments, two battalions, ten detached companies of horse, and as many of foot; and five other regiments were forming”
  • (December 2nd) John Gill Shorter becomes governor of Alabama


  • (April) Union forces occupy the northern portion of Alabama
  • (May 15th) Cruiser C.S.S. Alabama is launched
  • (August) Union forces are forced out of Alabama by Gen’l Braxton Bragg’s movement into Kentucky
  • (November 10th) Alabama supplies “over sixty thousand” of her citizens for military service
  • (December 24th-30th) US forces stage a raid up the Choctawhatchee River toward Geneva and seize the steamship, Bloomer


  • (April 11th-May 3rd) Streight’s Raid in Alabama and Georgia aimed at cutting the Western & Atlantic Railroad
  • (April 30th) Streight fights a rearguard action at Day’s Gap, in Cullman County against Gen’l Nathan B. Forrest [illustration] and Col. Philip D. Roddey
  • (May 2nd) Emma Sansom guides Forrest’s command across Black Creek
  • (May 3rd) Streight’s entire command (1500 men) is captured
  • (September 2nd) The Alabama legislature approves the use of slaves in Confederate armies
  • (December 1st) Thomas H. Watts becomes governor of Alabama
  • Captured Union soldiers are housed in Cahaba Federal Prison, near Selma


  • (January 26th) Confederate forces attempt to recapture Athens, without success
  • (June 14th) Confederate cruiser, C.S.S. Alabama destroyed by U.S.S. Kearsarge, off Cherbourg, France
  • (July 10th-22nd) Rousseau’s Alabama Raid; Union Gen’l Lovell H. Rousseau [illustration] crosses the mountains into Alabama’s eastern counties, tapping the Montgomery and West Point Railroad at Loachapoka (18 July) and destroying much property on his way into Georgia
  • (August 3rd) 1500 Union infantry land on Dauphin Island in a movement on Fort Gaines
  • (August 5th) Union Admiral David G. Farragut forces passage into Mobile Bay, passes the guns of Forts Gaines and Morgan, and encounters the Confederate fleet in the Battle of Mobile Bay
  • (August 8th) Fort Gaines surrenders, as does Fort Morgan following siege operations (23 August)
  • (September) A faction in the Alabama House introduces resolutions seeking peace negotiations
  • (September 24th) Gen’l Nathan B. Forrest captures 1900 Union infantry at Athens, in Limestone County
  • (October 26th-29th) Gen’l John B. Hood begins his Franklin-Nashville Campaign by demonstrating against Decatur, but is unable to cross the Tennessee River
  • (December 1st) Thomas Hill Watts enters his second term as governor of Alabama


  • (March) A Union army of 32,200 men under Gen’l Edward R. S. Canby [illustration] marches from Fort Morgan to assault Confederate defenses on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay
  • (March) A column of 13,200 Union soldiers advances from Pensacola towards Montgomery but turns left to reinforce the main column moving on Spanish Fort and Ft. Blakeley
  • (March 22nd-April 2nd) Wilson’s Raid to Selma; Gen’l James H. Wilson [photograh], with 13,500 mounted troopers, advances from Chicasaw, Franklin County, harassed by Gen’l Nathan B. Forrest
  • (April 1st) Battle of Ebenezer Church, twenty miles north of Selma
  • (April 2nd) Selma is stormed by Wilson’s troops, and most of the garrison is captured
  • (April 3rd) A Union brigade, under Gen’l John T. Croxton, is detached from Wilson’s column at Elyton [Birmingham] and moves to Tuscaloosa where it burns the University of Alabama buildings. Croxton was later beaten in a skirmish at Pleasant Hill
  • (March 27th-April 8th) The Siege of Spanish Fort, defended by about 2800 men, with Batteries Huger and Tracy protecting the water approaches from the rear
  • (April 8th) The garrison of Spanish Fort escapes to Mobile
  • (April 11th) Batteries Huger and Tracy are evacuated safely
  • (April 2nd-9th) Fort Blakely, defending Mobile and manned by about 3700 men, is besieged , and captured
  • (April 12th) Mobile is evacuated by the Confederates and occupied by Union forces
  • (April 12th)Gen’l Wilson advances to Montgomery and peaceably occupies it
  • (May 4th) The Confederate Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana is surrendered by Gen’l Richard Taylor to Gen’l Edward R. S. Canby at Citronelle, ending active operations in Alabama
  • (June 21st) Lewis Eliphalet Parsons is appointed Provisional Governor of Alabama and announces that 122,000 Alabamians had enlisted in Confederate service; at least one-quarter of them died
  • (September 12th) Governor Parsons convenes a convention in Montgomery to “alter and amend” the state constitution to present a republican form of government and restore the State to its constitutional relations with the federal government
  • (September 30th) The convention abolishes slavery, annuls the ordinance of secession, annuls all ordinances of 1861 which conflict with the Constitution of the United States, and adjourns sine die
  • (December 13th) Robert Miller Patton becomes governor of the state