Preparations for Two Meetings: Montgomery and Washington

Sunday February 3, 1861

In January, after seceding from the Union, Alabama invited delegates from all the slave states to meet in Montgomery to see about forming a union of their own. The meeting was to take place on February 4, 1861. On this date, delegates were filtering into the city. The faces seen on the streets of Montgomery were the same faces from Washington’s streets not too long ago. Overnight, Montgomery took on a cosmopolitan air.

The Alabama Senate chamber was selected as the meeting place and to prepare for the historic convention, prints and paintings of historical heroes were placed throughout the hall. George Washington, Andrew Jackson, John C. Calhoun and others would look down in hopeful approval at what would become the first session of the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America.1

Delegates from Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana were to officially be part of the proceedings. Texas, having just seceded, would be there shortly. Unofficial representatives from states still true to the Union, such as North Carolina and Virginia, were there as well.2


Virginia, now clearly hedging its bets, had proposed a Peace Conference to be held in Washington, DC on the same day that the Convention of Seceded States was to be held in Montgomery. Ex-President John Tyler was to oversee the Washington conference and had been in and around the capitol for over a week.

Aside from the former President, delegates were to include one Governor, eight ex-Governors, one ex-Attorney General, and two ex-Secretaries of the Treasury with most of the others being US Senators. All 34 states were invited and, if they would all appear, some sort of peace plan might be able to be hammered out before blood would have to be spilled.

The Peace Conference was scheduled to meet at Willards Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.

  1. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 1 by Thomas McAdory Owen, The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921. []
  2. Richmond Daily Dispatch, February 7, 1861. []
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Preparations for Two Meetings: Montgomery and Washington by CW DG is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International


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