In an effort to better understand the individuals that we portray, or that we have chosen to study, it is imperative that we learn not only what they did during the war, but who they were before it. This timeline has been created to help with that understanding. Major events in each of our own lives have had a profound impact on our personality as well as our beliefs. The same is true for the boys of 1861-1865.
As we portray the 35th Alabama Infantry, this timeline will be listing events focused on northern Alabama. Other major events will also find its way here on this timeline. Some parts may be merely a mention, while others may be a detailed analysis of an event. Regardless, this list will never be finished. New things are discovered all the time, and our understanding of certain events may also change. A researcher’s work is never over.
This is meant only as a starting point, not a definitive listing. It is meant to help you discover what happened, but it is your job to discover what happened. Your own research will allow you to better portray the soldiers that fought in the war, or at least understand who they were when you read about them.
Keep checking on this list, as it may be updated occasionally with new research.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Alabama had a total population of 1,250 people. Of that number, 733 were white and 517 were black. Of the black population, 494 were slaves, and 23 were free. Indians were not included in the census.
Georgia finally cedes the claim for what became the Mississippi Territory.
The United States and France agreed on the Louisiana Purchase, greatly expanding the territory of the union.
Federal Roads are built connecting Milledgeville, Georgia with Fort Stoddert just north of Mobile.
Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations cede large portions of land in western and northern Alabama.
West Florida is annexed by the United States from Spain.
The Census report shows a total population of 9,046 people in the Alabama portion of the Mississippi Territory. Of that number, 6,422 are white and 2,624 are black. Of the black population, 2,565 are slaves, and 59 are free. Once again, Indians were not included.
Washington Academy in St. Stephens was founded in 1811, and Green Academy in Huntsville was founded in 1812.
The newspaper Centinel is founded on the 23rd of May 1811 in Mobile. The Gazette is founded in 1812 in Mobile, and the Alabama Republican was founded in Huntsville in 1816.
The War of 1812.
- April 1813; The United States annexes West Florida from Spain. Spain surrenders Mobile to U.S. forces on the 15th.
- 15 September 1814; British forces attack Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point, but fail. They then abandon efforts to seize Mobile and turn their attention to New Orleans.
- 11 February 1815; Fort Bowyer is captured by the British after the defeat at New Orleans. They then move to capture Mobile, but news of peace finally reach them, saving the city at the last moment.
Red Stick War/Creek Indian War.
- 27 July 1813; Battle of Burnt Corn Creek
- 30 August 1813; Fort Mims Massacre
- 3 November 1813; Battle of Tallushatchee
- 9 November 1813; Battle of Talladega
- 12 November 1813; The Canoe Fight
- 18 November 1813; Hillabee Massacre
- 29 November 1813; Battle of Autosse
- 23 December 1813; Battle of Holy Ground (Econochaca)
- 22 January 1814; Battle of Emuckfau Creek
- 24 January 1814; Battle of Enitachopco
- 27 January 1814; Battle of Calabee Creek
- 27 March 1814; Battle of Horseshoe Bend
- 9 August 1814; The Treaty of Fort Jackson is finalized. The Creeks cede 23 million acres to the United States, freeing half of Alabama to white settlement.
On the 3rd of March the Alabama Territory is created as Mississippi became a State.
On the 19th of January the first Legislature of the Alabama Territory convenes at the Douglass Hotel in St. Stephens (the capitol of the territory).
Alabama’s first steamboat, The Alabama, is constructed in St. Stephens.
The State’s first blast furnace and commercial pig-iron producer, Cedar Creek Furnace, is established in what is now Franklin County.
2 March; President Monroe signs the Alabama enabling act.
5 July – 2 August; A Constitutional Convention is held in Huntsville and adopts the State Constitution.
20 & 21 September; Territorial Governor William Wyatt Bibb is elected as the State’s first governor.
25 October – 17 December; The General Assembly (legislature) meets in Huntsville during the construction of the capitol in Cahaba.
28 October; The Alabama Legislature elects William Rufus King and John W. Walker as Alabama’s first U.S. Senators.
14 December; Alabama enters the union as the 22nd State.
According to the U.S. Census, the total population of the State of Alabama is 127,901, with 85,451 white, and 42,450 black. Of the black population, 41,879 are slaves, and 571 are free. Again, Indians were not included.
8 May; The Alabama Supreme Court convenes for the first time.
10 July; Governor Bibb dies of injuries from a riding accident. His younger brother, Thomas, who was serving as the President of the State Senate, becomes governor.
22 October; The first successful attempt to navigate up the Alabama River is made by the steamboat Harriet, opening the river trade between Montgomery and Mobile.
December; the Athens Female Academy is chartered. The Academy eventually becomes Athens State University.
The Marquis de Lafayette tours Alabama at the invitation of Governor Israel Pickens.
The State Capitol is moved to Tuscaloosa.
According to the U.S. Census the total population of the State was 309,527. Of that number, 190,406 are white, and 119,121 are black. Of the black population 117,549 are slave, and 1,572 are free. Of the total population on 3,194 live in urban areas, while 306,333 live in rural communities. Indians were still not counted.
11 January; La Grange College opens its doors. On the 19th they are officially chartered by the Alabama Legislature, making them the first chartered school in operation.
The Indian Removal Bill is approved by Congress. Treaties between the U.S. and the remaining Indian nations in Alabama would cede eastern lands in exchange for land west of the Mississippi River.
27 September 1830; The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek would see the removal of the Choctaw.
24 March 1832; The Treaty of Cusseta would see the removal of the Creek.
20 October 1832; The Treaty of Pontotoc would see the removal of the Chickasaw.
29 December 1835; The Treaty of New Echota would see the removal of the Cherokee.
May 1838; The Indians of Alabama remaining were forcibly removed to the western lands in what became known as the “Trail of Tears” or “The Trail Where They Cried”. Infamous U.S. General Winfield Scott oversaw the removal.
A slave insurrection erupts in Virginia, led by Nat Turner.
18 April; The University of Alabama opens its doors.
The State’s first textile mill in Madison County is chartered by the Alabama Legislature.
12 June; The first railroad in Alabama, the Tuscumbia Railway, opens. It runs two miles from Tuscumbia Landing at the Tennessee River to Tuscumbia.
12 & 13 November: A meteor shower causes this night to be known as the “night the stars fell on Alabama”.
Daniel Pratt establishes a cotton gin factory just north of Montgomery. Prattville (founded 1839) begins as a company town and eventually becomes a manufacturing center of the antebellum South.
The Alabama Gold Rush begins, focused on east-central hill country. It peaks the following year.
“The Father of Modern Gynecology”, Dr. James Marion Sims, establishes a medical practice in Mt. Meigs near Montgomery. In 1853 he moves to New York and founded the Woman’s Hospital.
The War for Texas Independence.
Second Creek War (Seminole War). The last Indian battle, the Battle of Hobdy’s Bridge, in Alabama was fought in 1837.
7 January; The Baptist college, Judson Female Institute, opens in Marion. It is renamed Judson college in 1903.
26 January; The Alabama Legislature establishes the first State prison. The first convict was incarcerated in 1842.
According to the U.S. Census, the total population was 590,756. Of that number, 335,185 are white, and 255,571 are black. Of the black population, 253,532 are slaves, and 2,039 are free. 12,672 people live in urban areas, while 578,084 live in rural areas.
The Methodist Church split over sectional issues, creating the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
The United States annexes Texas. War with Mexico follows. Many Alabamians volunteered to fight, but only the 1st Alabama Regiment, a battalion, and several independent companies were received into federal service.
21 January; Montgomery is selected as the new capitol, and begins its first secession on 6 December 1847.
14 December; The capitol in Montgomery is destroyed by a fire. Construction of a new capitol is completed in 1851.
According to the U.S. Census the total population was 771,623. Of that number, 426,514 were white, and 345,109 were black. Of the black population 342,844 were slaves, and 2,265 were free. 35,179 people lived in urban areas, while 736,444 lived in rural areas. Cotton production was 564,429 bales, with corn at 28,754,048 bushels. There were 1,026 manufacturing establishes in the State.
6 February; The Alabama Insane Hospital is established in Tuscaloosa. It received its first patient in 1861. Dr. Peter Bryce, the director, became renowned for his innovative and humane treatment of patients.
Alabama Senator William Rufus King is elected Vice President of the United States. He is inaugurated on 24 March 1853 in Cuba, where he had gone to recover his health. He died on 18 April 1853 at his home in Selma, never formally serving as Vice President.
15 February; The Alabama Public School Act creates the first State-wide education system by providing funding for schools and establishing the office of the State Superintendent of Education.
The Alabama Coal Mining Company begins the first systematic underground mining in the State, near Montevallo.
The East Alabama Male College is established at Auburn by Methodists. It would eventually become Auburn University.
4 October; Alabama School for the Deaf is founded in Talladega. It eventually became the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.
According to the U.S. Census there was a total population of 964,201. Of that number, 526,271 were white, and 437,770 were black. Of the black population, 435,080 were slaves, and 2,690 were free. 48,901 people lived in urban areas, while 915,300 lived in rural areas. Cotton was at a production of 989,955 bales, and corn was 33,226,282 bushels. There were 1,459 manufacturing establishments in the State.
November; Although he was not on the ballot, the Republican candidate for President, Abraham Lincoln, is elected as the 16th President of the United States.
4 January; Governor A. B. Moore orders the seizure of federal military installations within the State. On the 5th of January Alabama troops controlled Fort Gaines, Fort Morgan, and the U.S. Arsenal at Mount Vernon.
11 January; Alabama secedes from the Union by a vote of 61 to 39, becoming the fourth State to secede from the union.
4 February; Delegates from the six seceded States meet in Montgomery and establish the Confederate States of America. The provisional Confederate Congress adopts the provisional constitution four days later.
18 February; Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America on the portico of the Alabama capitol. The capitol would be moved to Richmond, Virginia in May.
4 March; At 3:30 PM, Letita Tyler, granddaughter of U.S. President John Tyler, raises the first Confederate flag over the Alabama capitol.
11 March; The Confederate Congress adopts a permanent constitution. Alabama ratifies the constitution on the 13th, while Florida becomes the last original State ratifying the constitution on the 22nd of April.
12 April; Fort Sumter is fired upon by Confederate forces in Charleston Harbor, commanded by General P. G. T. Beauregard. Huntsville native, William Pope Walker, serving as the Secretary of War, gives the order to fire via telegraph from Montgomery.
21 May; The Confederate Congress meets for the last time in Montgomery, moving the capitol to Richmond, Virginia.
1 April; Governor John Gill Shorter issues an order prohibiting the distillation of hard liquors. Shorter was willing to make exceptions, but was determined to prevent distillers from “converting food necessary to sustain our armies and people into poison to demoralize and estroy them.”
11 April; Huntsville becomes the first city along the Memphis & Charleston Railroad to fall to the Union. Decatur, Athens, Stephenson, and Bridgeport would fall soon after.
10 July; Forty men from northwest Alabama sneak into Decatur to join the Union army. This prompts Colonel Abel Streight to mount an expedition to the south to recruit more volunteers. With the help of fervent Unionist Christopher Sheats of Winston County, Streight was able to add another 150 Alabamians to his force.
17 March; “The Gallant” John Pelham, of Calhoun County, is killed from wounds suffered at Kelley’s Ford, Virginia. His body lay in state in the capitol at Richmond before being returned to Alabama for burial.
April – May; Colonel Abel Streight’s Raid in north Alabama.
2 May; 16 year old Emma Sansom helps General Nathan Bedford Forrest cross Black Creek near Gadsden, which helped him capture Colonel Abel Streight’s provisional brigade.
17 February; The H. L. Hunley, built in Mobile, sinks the U.S.S. Housatonic in Charleston Harbor. The Hunley never returned, until being recovered in August of 2000.
19 June; The C.S.S. Alabama, is sunk after a battle with the U.S.S. Kearsarge just off the coast of Cherbourg, France. The Alabama had docked there for maintenance and repairs.
July; Rousseau’s Raid through north and east-central Alabama.
5 August; The Battle of Mobile Bay begins. U.S. Admiral David Farragut attacks with fourteen wooden ships, four ironclads, 2,700 men, and 197 guns. The Confederate forces were largely unable to mount a massive defense. Many ships, such as the C.S.S. Huntsville, fled to the safety of the forts. The C.S.S. Tennessee stood as the lone defender, facing off against Farragut’s fleet.
March – April; Wilson’s Raid through north and central Alabama.
8 April; Action at Spanish Fort.
9 April; Battle of Fort Blakeley.
9 April; Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia.
12 April; Mobile falls.
4 May; General Richard Taylor surrenders the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana in Citronelle.
21 June; President Andrew Johnson appoints Lewis Parsons as provisional governor of Alabama.