Alabama, Marquis de Lafayette, Mississippi

Return Of A French Revolutionary War Hero – Marquis de Lafayette’s Tour Of The U.S. From 1824 to

Painting of Marquis de Lafayette depicting his military attire.

From 1824 to 1825, Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, simply known as Marquis de Lafayette, returned to the United States for a tour of the lands that he helped secure a victory against the British during the Revolutionary War. For part of the tour, Marquis de Lafayette toured through Montgomery, Selma, and other parts of Alabama before going into the southern states of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Painting of Marquis de Lafayette in 1825.

In 1825, Marquis de Lafayette finished his tour in New York.

Lafayette greets the troops of the 2nd Battalion, 11th New York Artillery, in New York City, July 14, 1825. This unit later adopted the title “National Guard” in honor of Lafayette’s Garde National de Paris.
Alabama, Free State of Winston

The Free State Of Winston – A Neutral Alabama County During The U.S. Civil War

Charles Christopher Sheats (1839 to 1904) was the Winston County representative at Alabama’s secession convention in 1861 during the lead-up to the Civil War. Sheats and many in Winston County opposed secession and declared the county neutral during the war.

Winston County, Alabama, which became known as the “Free State of Winston”, had few slave owners since the hilly lands in the county were not suitable for plantations. Hence, members of the county disagreed with the movement for secession from the Union and sent a young school teacher as a delegate to the Alabama secession delegation, whom threatened have Winston County established as it’s own republic, separate from the Confederacy, if the Alabama left the union. That delegate, along with his followers, were arrested for their opposition.

Photograph of Newton Knight.

Author’s Note:

In the bordering state of Mississippi, the “Free State of Jones” was established. Unlike, the neutral “Free State of Winston”, the independent area of Jones had a company of deserter soldiers, let by Newton Knight, that raided Confederate warehouses to give food and supplies back to the local people, whom had goods seized from their farms.

Alabama, Battle of Selma, General James Harrison Wilson, Montgomery, Alabama, Wilson’s Raiders

April 12, 1865 – Wilson’s Raiders Raise The US Flag Over The Former Confederate Capital

Wilson’s Raiders at the Battle of Selma.

On May 29, 1861, the capital of the Confederacy was moved form the state capital of Alabama to the state capital of Virginia, in order be to be closer to the primary areas of conflict along the Mason Dixon line. As a result of the move, the city of Montgomery remained virtually untouched by conflict during the war. It was not until after the Battle of Selma, April 12, 1865, which was four years and a day after the Confederate Secretary of War sent a telegraph requesting Fort Sumter to vacate the confederate owned fort and three days after General Robert Edward Lee’s surrender at Appatomattox, that the Union army first arrived at the city of Montgomery. Major General James Harrison Wilson and his Wilson’s Raiders captured the city of Montgomery for the Union and moved on eastward to Columbus, Georgia on April 14, 1865, the day John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

Sketch of General James Harrison Wilson.

In present day, a historical marker indicates where the Wilson’s Raiders raised the United States flag over Montgomery, Alabama.


The Capitals Of Alabama

Alabama’s first state capital building in Cahaba.

Alabama has had five capitals during its history as a territory and as a state. The first was the territorial capital in Saint Stephens in 1817, followed by the state convention in Huntsville in 1819, then the first “permanent” capital in Cahaba in 1820.

The state house building in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

It was then moved to Tuscaloosa in 1826, until coming to rest in Montgomery in 1846.

Photograph of the Montgomery Capital building.

Author’s Note:

The “New France” settlement of La Mobile, which is in the present day city of Mobile, Alabama, used to serve as the capital of the French Louisiana Territory from 1702 to 1711.

Alabama, Governor George Corley Wallace, Junior, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Mobile, Alabama

The U.S.S. Alabama (BB-60) – Sent To Protect A Soviet Union Fleet During World War II

On February 1, 1940, construction of the U.S.S. Alabama (BB-60) began, during anticipation of the United States being directly involved with military actions during World War II.

On February 16, 1942, the U.S.S. Alabama was was commissioned and placed into a fleet of training marines.

Ariel view of the U.S.S. Alabama (BB-60) with the U.S.S. Drumm (SS-228).

The U.S.S. Alabama was spring into action protecting the Soviet fleet from German attacks. The U.S.S. Alabama was the only ship, during World War II, to receive honors from the Soviet Union for the protection of Russians.

In the 1962, Jimmie Morris, an employee of the Tourist & Visitors Department of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, noticed a story about the scrapping of the South Dakota class of American battleships in the Mobile Register newspaper. Therefore, the U.S. Navy was planning to scrap the South Dakota (BB-57), Indiana (BB-58), Massachusetts (BB-59), and the Alabama (BB-60) battleships. Stephens Croom, then chairman of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce’s Committee for Preservation of Historic Landmarks, agreed with Jimmie Morris that the U.S.S. Alabama should be preserved and began a lobbying effort to transfer the title of the battleship from the U.S. Navy to the state of Alabama.

Photograph of John Malcom Patterson.

Alabama Governor John Patterson agreed with the Committee for the Preservation of Landmarks and had a commission to establish the feasibility of bringing the U.S.S. Alabama to the shores of the state.

Photograph of Governor George Corley Wallace, Junior.

In 1963, the commission reported that the transfer was feasible to the newly elected Governor George Corley Wallace, Junior. In a speech to representatives in 22 Alabama counties, Governor George Corley Wallace, Junior stated to them, “Bring the Alabama home”. The U.S. Navy agreed to transfer the title of the U.S.S. Alabama to Alabama and the battleship become part of the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama.


The European Settlement And Founding Of The State Of Alabama

In 1702, the French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville established the settlement of La Mobile, within the future Mississippi territory and the present day state of Alabama, as the first European settlement in the area. Some of the lands within Alabama would go into British control, and later into Spanish control during the American Revolutionary War. After President Thomas Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with the French government, the Mississippi Territory was planned to be formed into two separate states. On December 14, 1819, Alabama was entered as a state.