Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feb. 1, 1861: Texas Secession Advances Disunion

Feb. 1, 1861: A young nation shudders as disunion advances. On this date, Texas sided with the six Southern states that already had seceded from the Union. South Carolina first pounded the drums of war in late December 1860. As President Lincoln's election became clear, the state adopted an ordinance "to dissolve the union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled 'The Constitution of the United States of America.' "

Texas, the "Lone Star State," had joined the United States in 1845, not even 16 years before walking away from it in 1861. The nation itself had celebrated almost 85 birthdays, if we use the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 as the benchmark.

The last four states of the 11-state Confederacy wouldn't leave the Union until after Confederate troops fired on federally held Fort Sumter in Charleston (S.C.) Harbor on April 12 and 13, 1861. North Carolina, where the ancestors I am following for my book (tentatively titled “Dear Father I’m Sorry To Tell You”), threw in with the rebellion only after it was sandwiched by Confederate states. North Carolina would have occupied the heart of "enemy" territory if it had remained part of the United States.

A terrible inner civil war raged in North Carolina, especially in the Randolph County area where my ancestors lived. The South itself was a house divided about secession and war, but nowhere more than in the Tar Heel State. More on that later.

Here’s a chart showing the timeline of secession. I’ve noted in the right column when my Confederate ancestor Lyndon McGee Welborn volunteered for the standing Confederate army against the wishes of his father, an anti-secessionist. Lyndon's action initially fractured my family, echoing the phrase often used in describing the Civil War, "brother against brother."

Date of Secession
Civil War Events
South Carolina
Dec. 29, 1860
Jan. 9, 1861
Jan. 10, 1861
Jan. 11, 1861
Jan. 19, 1861
Jan. 26, 1861
Feb. 1, 1861
Feb. 9, 1861: Confederacy Forms
April 12-13: Firing on Ft. Sumter
April 17, 1861
May 6, 1861
North Carolina
May 20, 1861
May 31, 1861: Lyndon Welborn volunteers for Confederate army
June 8, 1861
July 21, 1861: First Battle of Bull Run/Manassas

Following Tennessee’s secession, the war plunged violently ahead in July. The First Battle of
Bull Run (also called First Battle of Manassas for its geographical location near Manassas Junction, Virginia) shocked both the Union and the Confederacy. It became clear that no one was going to back down; both sides prepared to fight, and fight they would for years to come.

This week I hope to be on the road. I’m following the path Lyndon Welborn and three of his Confederate brothers traveled 150 years ago as disunion tore at the nation, individual states and families.

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