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

Lincoln’s Journey, Davis’ Speech

When did Jefferson Davis leave Brierfield?

On the same day that Lincoln left Springfield, February 11, 1861. The six states in secession had called a provisional congress that met in Montgomery, Alabama, at the beginning of February. Of the fifty delegates, forty-nine were slaveholders, and almost twenty of these belonged to the class called “planter,” meaning that they owned more than twenty persons. Because of the great need for speed, the provisional government elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi the provisional president of the Confederate States of America without even asking him beforehand. When he received the news, Davis was thunderstruck. It was not that he lacked ambition, but he had hoped to be awarded a military, not a political, command. Duty called, however, and on February 11, Davis bade farewell to his household staff and the 113 slaves on his plantation. He and his wife Varina were soon on a five-day journey, by water and by rail, to Montgomery.


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