January 7, 1861: Secession Convention opens in Jackson

January 9, 1861: Delegates vote to secede from Union

Ordinance of Secession (MDAH Collection)
Ordinance of Secession

After voting 84-15 to leave the Union, Mississippi became the second state to secede.

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January 15, 1861: Ordinance of secession signed

Attala County delegate John Wood and Rankin County delegate John Jones Thornton refused to sign the ordinance of secession.  Thornton was commander of the Rankin Guards at the time of secession and went on to command the Sixth Mississippi Regiment for the Confederacy until he was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh.

January 20, 1861: State troops occupy unfinished United States fort on Ship Island

Map of Gulf Coast showing Ship Island, 1861 (MDAH Collection)
Map of Gulf Coast showing Ship Island, 1861
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January 21, 1861: Mississippi’s delegation withdraws from United States Congress

Mississippi congressional delegation in 1861 (MDAH Collection)
Mississippi congressional delegation in 1861

Senator Jefferson Davis was the last to leave.

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January 23, 1861: Army of Mississippi organized

Confederate Uniform Jacket
Confederate Uniform Jacket

Image:  Typical Confederate uniform jacket such as one a Mississippi soldier would have worn.

February 9, 1861: Confederate States of America formed in Montgomery, Alabama

Mississippi joined the Confederate States, and the Army of Mississippi became part of the Confederate Army. Jefferson Davis was chosen as provisional president of the Confederacy.

April 12, 1861: Civil War begins

Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.

November 6, 1861: Jefferson Davis elected president of Confederates States of America

Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis

December 3, 1861: Union forces occupy Ship Island and Fort Massachusetts

Ship Island became the central staging area for Union forces in campaigns against New Orleans and Mobile.

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