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Georgia Secession

Georgia Secedes from the Union

Up | Georgia Secession Ordinance | Georgia Declaration of Causes for Secession | Jan. 5, 1861 Civil War News

Georgia Secedes

January 18, 1861

Georgia passed its Ordinance of Secession on January 18, 1861.  The January 5, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly carried a front page illustration of the Georgia Congressional Delegation, and carried a story on the anticipated secession of Georgia.


The Seceding Georgia Congressional Delegation

The story indicated that Georgia's Senator Toombs', pictured at right, favored immediate secession for the state of Georgia.  Mr. Toombs is the gentleman on the top of the second column in the illustration.  We present the key Harper's Weekly stories on Georgia Secession Below.  We want you to see how the story unfolded just the way the people living then saw it.

Harper's Weekly January 5, 1861

Senator Toombs for Secession at Once

Mr. Toombs telegraphed on the 23rd, the following address to the people of Georgia:

"I came here to secure your constitutional rights, and to demonstrate to you that you can get no guarantee for those rights from your Northern confederates.  The whole subject was referred to a Committee of Thirteen in the Senate.  I was appointed on the Committee, and accepted the trust.  I submitted propositions, which, so far from receiving decided support from a single member of the Republican party of the Committee, were all treated with derision or contempt. A vote was then taken in the Committee on the amendments to the Constitution, proposed by Hon. J. J. Crittenden, and each and all of them were voted against unanimously by the Black Republican members of the Committee.  In addition to thee facts a majority of the Black Republican members of the Committee declared distinctly that they had no guarantees to offer, which was silently acquiesced in by the other members.  The Black Republican members of the Committee of Thirteen are representative men of the party and section, and, to the extent of my information, truly represent them.

"The Committee of Thirty-three on Friday adjourned for a week without coming to any vote, after solemnly pledging themselves to vote on all the propositions then  before them on that day.  It is controlled by the Black Republicans, your enemies, who only seek to amuse you with delusive hope until your election, that you may defeat the friends of secession.  If you are deceived by them, it shall not be my fault.  I have put the test fairly and frankly.  It is decisive against you now.  I tell you, upon the faith of a true man, that all further looking to the North for security for your constitutional rights in the Union ought to be instantly abandoned.  It is fraught with nothing but ruin to yourselves and your posterity.  Secession by the 4th day of March next should be thundered from the ballot-box by the unanimous voice of Georgia on the 2nd day of January next.  Such  voice will be your best guarantee  for liberty, security, tranquility, and glory.

R. Toombs

 - - - - - End of January 5 story - - - -

The January 12th edition of Harper's Weekly indicates that election returns point to an eminent secession in Georgia, and some hostile actions in Georgia:

Harper's Weekly January 12, 1861

The Forts Seized in Georgia:

A dispatch from Charleston states that returns from Georgia indicate that the State has gone largely for secession.

Forts Pulaski and Jackson have positively been occupied by the Georgia State troops, under the Governor's instructions, and it is said that but for this the fortress would have been taken by an uprising of the people.

Senator Toombs received a dispatch on 3rd from Governor Brown, of Georgia, stating that he had ordered the Georgia troops to occupy Fort Pulaski to prevent the Federal troops from taking it until the meeting of their Convention.  Neither Fort Jackson nor the arsenal had been taken, and the Governor gave no intimation that he intended to take them.  The Governor issued the order to occupy Fort Pulaski for the reason that he had learned that the Administration had given orders to reinforce all the forts in the South.  Other forts have undoubtedly been taken for the same reason.  The President, it is understood, did issue such an order, but it was afterward revoked.  The President also received a dispatch, announcing the occupation of Fort Pulaski by the Georgia troops.

 - - - - End of January 12 story - - - -

Harper's Weekly January 26, 1861

The Georgia Secession Convention:

This body met last week, and duly organized.  On the 18th it adopted a resolution declaring - first, that it is the duty of Georgia to secede from the Union; and second, appointing a committee to prepare an ordinance of secession.  The resolution was adopted by a vote of 165 to 130.

 - - - - End of January 26 story - - - -

As you can see the news was initially somewhat sketchy, and not many details were offered. 

The Key Documents Related to Georgia Secession:

Georgia Declaration of Secession

Georgia Causes of Secession



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