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Credentials of Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry of Alabama, February 10, 1861

The Confederate government, hastily organized, depended heavily on the experience of former members of the United States Congress. U.S. Representative Jabez L.M. Curry, who represented Alabama in the 35th and 36th Congresses (1857–1861) before withdrawing, used a prior certificate of election—with handwritten changes—as his credentials for the Congress of the Confederate States.

Records of the War Department, National Archives and Records Administration

this 10 day of Feby. in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and 62 and of the Independence of the United Confederate States of America, the Eighty First

Credentials of Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry of Alabama, February 10, 1861 Credentials of Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry of Alabama, February 10, 1861

Congress, Secession, and the Confederacy

With the secession of eleven Southern states in 1860 and 1861, the House and Senate lost more than 85 members. Congress quickly acted to ensure that it could continue to fulfill its legislative responsibilities to the Union. One of the first issues members addressed was whether to recognize secession and withdrawal from Congress as legitimate under the Constitution, or simply to declare the Southern congressional seats vacant. Meanwhile, Southerners who departed drew on their experience in Congress to establish a government for the Confederacy.