Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The First Confederate Capital - Montgomery Alabama

  Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the first and only president of the Confederate States of America after the South seceded. The ceremony was held at Montgomery, the first Confederate capital, on February 18, 1861. When we visited my brother-in-law Ronnie Phillips and my sister-in-law Jamie in Montgomery Alabama during the 1980's we got the opportunity to see the first Confederate Capital which is the present day state capital building of Alabama. Right across the street is the original White House of the Confederacy where the Davis family lived. I have always thought it ironic that Montgomery was also the birthplace of the modern Civil Rights movement. Just down the street in sight of the Capital is the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. began his ministry and became the leader of the Montgomery bus boycott.

  Strategically Montgomery was a better choice as a capital than Richmond. Montgomery was in the deep South and would have been easier to defend, if for no other reason than it's location. The logistics of capturing Montgomery would have been a challenge for any invading Union Army as opposed to Richmond which was only 100 miles from Washington. The capital was moved to Richmond for political considerations after Virginia seceded from the Union. Virginia was a heavily populated state and had much more prestige than Alabama. In addition the Tredegar iron works were there which produced much of the Confederate artillery and ammunition. However Selma, which is near Montgomery was also a major producer of munitions and could have compensated for Tredegar. 

  Much blood and treasure of the South was wasted trying to protect Richmond. The need to protect Richmond also was a great factor in planning Southern war strategy. In my view moving the capital from Montgomery to Richmond was a great mistake. Whether or not the political controversy of leaving the capital in Montgomery could have been overcome is open to debate. In my opinion it would have been well worth the effort.

Dexter Ave. Baptist Church

Martin Luther King Jr. Preaching At Dexter

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