Lincoln’s Election, Southern Secession: 1860 to April 1861

Lincoln’s Journey, Davis’ Speech

What was the first Confederate inaugural like?

Montgomery was a small place with a population of 10,000, but the number had perhaps been doubled by the visitors who wanted to see and hear Jefferson Davis. February 18, 1861, dawned fair and mild, meaning that the observers could wear their light, rather than heavy, clothing.

Precisely at noon, a carriage pulled by four white horses took President-elect Davis and Vice President-elect Alexander H. Stephens up the street from the Exchange Hotel to the Alabama Capitol building; the band played “I Wish I Was in Dixie’s Land” as they ascended. Coming out of the carriage, Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens both made brief addresses to the provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America and then went out of the building to a stage erected on the front portico.


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