Momentous March: Secession (1861)

Today and tomorrow mark two momentous days in Texas history.   First, today…

March 1, 1861:  Texas, which joined the Union in 1845, now seceded from the Union as the nation divided and moved toward civil war.  It is often forgotten that Sam Houston, who was governor of Texas at the time, opposed secession because he thought it would be disastrous for Texas.  He said that the south would not win a war against the north.  But he also opposed any use of force to prevent secession.  In a speech to the secessionists, he said: 

I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon her. To avert this calamity, I shall make no endeavor to maintain my authority as Chief Executive of this State, except by the peaceful exercise of my functions. When I can no longer do this, I shall calmly withdraw from the scene, leaving the Government in the hands of those who have usurped its authority; but still claiming that I am its Chief Executive.

Sam was deposed as governor, peacefully, and Texas quit the Union.

“Let me tell you what is coming on the heels of secession.  The time will come when your fathers and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded together like sheep and cattle at the point of a bayonet; and your mothers and wives, and sisters and daughters, will ask, “Where are they?”… You may, after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of precious lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern independence, if God be not against you; but I doubt it.”  

                                   — Sam Houston, 1861

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