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This Week in Georgia Civil War History
January 13, 1861: Georgia writer Augusta Jane Evans wrote her cousin, Henry Lewis Benning (a Muscogee County delegate to Georgia's secession convention), requesting that her name not be associated with a pro-Union memorial to be presented at the convention.
January 14, 1861: While the nation's attention was about to be turned on Georgia with the opening of its secession convention in two days, another pivotal Southern state made an important decision on this day. The Virginia Assembly approved a convention to consider secession, to convene in April of 1861.
January 15, 1861: On the eve of Georgia's secession convention, the Columbus Enquirer ran an editorial entitled "The Important Position of Georgia" which showed that support for immediate secession was far from unanimous, although the need to have the South's grievances addressed was so.
January 16, 1861: Georgia's secession convention convened and opened in Milledgeville. While Georgia began its official process of secession, one of the last attempts to avoid the splitting of the Union failed in the U.S. Senate. The Crittenden Compromise had been proposed on December 18, 1860, but on this day the Senate - both Republicans and Southern Democrats (those still serving) - refused to consider it.
As the Georgia secession convention began, the Southern Watchman of Athens hoped that they would still try to lay their grievances before the U.S. Congress, attempting to cooperate instead of seceding immediately.
Their counterparts at the Southern Banner had no such qualms; they were confident Georgia would be the next state to secede, but far from the last.
January 17, 1861: Alexander Stephens delivered a speech against secession at the convention (the precise date of the speech is not given). In his introduction he uttered what turned out to be some prophetic statements about the consequences of secession.
January 18, 1861: In Georgia's secession convention, Eugenius A. Nisbet introduced a resolution calling for Georgia to immediately secede from the Union and cooperate with other seceded states to form a Southern Confederacy. Herschel Johnson offered a substitute resolution calling on southern states to send delegates to a congress to be held Feb. 16, 1861 in Atlanta to decide on a joint course of action. According to this proposed resolution, the essential elements for Georgia remaining in the Union were:
Johnson's resolution failed, while Nisbet's was adopted. Following the vote, Nisbet was named to chair the committee to draft a secession ordinance for Georgia.
The Milledgeville Southern Recorder wasted no time in reporting on this historic vote.
January 19, 1861: Georgia officially adopted an Ordinance of Secession, by a vote of 208-89, becoming the fifth state to secede from the Union.
The text of the Ordinance of Secession read:
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