Confederate exhibit at Alabama archives this month

It’s been 150 years this month since delegates from the Southern states met in Montgomery to form the Confederate government. A new temporary exhibit at the Alabama Department of Archives and History commemorates the event.


The daybook of Dr. Thomas Fearn, a Huntsville delegate, is on display this month, along with other items documenting the birth of the Confederate government in February 1861, archives officials announced.


Also included in the display are an original draft of the Confederate Constitution with handwritten notations and corrections made by a secretary of the Confederate Congress, rare printed copies of the constitutions approved in Montgomery and original images depicting the events.

Alabama seceded from the Union in January 1861, and its Ordinance of Secession invited other seceding states to send delegates to Montgomery to discuss their future options. The convention met in February, organizing the Confederate States of America, writing a provisional constitution and electing Jefferson Davis as provisional president. 

Fearn’s daybook records his six-day train trip from Huntsville to Montgomery, via Chattanooga and Atlanta. recorded his six-day train journey from Huntsville to Montgomery, via Chattanooga and Atlanta. Along the way he encountered a rock slide, an unsafe bridge and a lost locomotive. 

Olin King, who now lives in Fearn’s Huntsville house, recently donated the daybook to the state archives. 

The exhibit can be seen in the archives’ lobby, 624 Washington Ave. in Montgomery Mondays through Fridays now to March 1. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The archives’ museum will be open on two Saturdays this month, Feb. 12 and 19, from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

This exhibit is part of the statewide Becoming Alabama initiative, which commemorates the bicentennial of the Creek War, the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and the 50th anniversary of major events of the Civil Rights Movement.


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