Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 16, 1861: The Man and the Hour

On February 16, 1861, Jefferson Davis arrived in Montgomery, Alabama, to serve as president of the Confederate States of America.

That evening, Davis appeared on the balcony of the Exchange Hotel and addressed a large, enthusiastic crowd.
It may be that our career will be ushered in in the midst of a storm; it may be that as this morning opened with clouds, rain and mist, we shall have to encounter inconveniences at the beginning; but as the sun rose and lifted the mist it dispersed the clouds and left us the pure sunshine of heaven. So will we progress the Southern Confederacy, and carry us safe into the harbor of constitutional liberty and political equality. We fear nothing...because, if war should come, if we must again baptize in blood the principles for which our fathers bled in the Revolution, we shall show that we are not degenerate sons, but will redeem the pledges they gave, preserve the rights they transmitted to us, and prove that Southern valor still shines as bright as in 1776...I will devote to the duties of the high office to which I have been called all that I have of heart, of head, of hand.

William Yancey also spoke. Paying tribute to Davis, "the statesman, the soldier and the patriot," he declared, "the man and the hour have met."

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