Friday, January 11, 1861
Though its vote was not nearly as one-sided in favor of secession as the three states before it, Alabama became the fourth state (and the third in as many days) to leave the Union. At first, the margin was very narrow, nearly being split down the middle at 53 to 46 favoring secession. But as another vote was taken and news from across the South filtered in, the margin widened to the final vote: 61 to 39. Fifteen of those thirty-nine immediately came out in support of Alabama. They would rather stay in the Union, but since Alabama is leaving, they would stand behind her.
Crowds were jubilant all over the state. In Mobile, 100 cannons were fired in celebration (and $100,000 was subscribed for the defence of the city).1
War of Words in Charleston
Because, at this point, they couldn’t use arms, they used pens in Charleston Harbor. South Carolina’s Governor Pickens wrote to Major Anderson, commanding Fort Sumter, requesting that he surrender the fort.
He tried to appeal to the “deepest interest to all who deprecate the improper waste of life, to induce the delivery of Fort Sumter to the constituted authorities of the State of South Carolina….”
Anderson, however, wrote back, telling the Governor that he “deeply regretted” that he “could not comply.” He then played the “Man Upstairs” card, “Hoping to God that in this and all other matters in which the honor, welfare and life of our fellow-countrymen are concerned, we shall so act as to meet His approval….” The long and the short of it was that Anderson wasn’t going to just surrender the fort. It was against orders, honor and nature to do so.2
Unionists Break Up Another Anti-Slavery Meeting
An anti-slavery meeting was attempted in Rochester, New York. Susan B. Anthony and “others of that stripe” were to speak. However, as in Boston, it was broken up by citizens who supported the Union. Again, the meeting was taken over and resolutions passed supporting the Federal government, not abolition. Three cheers were given for Major Anderson and General Scott.
The abolitionists requested to hang a flag which read “No Compromise With Slavery” across Buffalo Street, but were denied by the civic authorities.3