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150 Years Ago: Monday, May 6, 1861

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Monumental news today as the Union loses two more states to secession. 
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Arkansas delegates had spend several weeks in the capital of Little Rock discussing the topic of secession. From March 4 to March 21 they met but could not reach a decision.The state was populated with people who had originated from the Southern and border states. Though many considered themselves Unionists, after the news broke about Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s subsequent call for troops, minds drastically changed. From his home in Fayetteville, convention President David Walker called for a second convention to be held today.
The first vote was to move the date of the public vote regarding secession to June, but it was quickly defeated. The second vote was regarding an ordinance of secession, which was approved by the majority, 65 to 5. Walker asked for a third vote on the ordinance of secession in an effort to make it unanimous. “Let the wires carry the news to all the world that Arkansas stands as a unit against coercion,” he said. The third vote was made, with only one person against the ordinance. At 12:06pm, the vote was cast and Arkansas was out of the Union. An immediate note was sent to Confederate President Jefferson Davis notifying him of their actions and that they would now join the Confederacy. Unlike other states where the people had to vote to make secession official, in Arkansas this act took effect immediately.
The Tennessee Legislature had been convening secretly since April 30. Today the General Assembly votes for secession, which will need to be ratifified by the people on June 8. U.S. Senator Andrew Johnson gives a harsh speech in Cleveland, Tennessee, denouncing secession and calling for the hanging of President Davis. He would never recognize the act of secession, even if it was ratified by the people; his loyalty was to the Union, not Tennessee.
In Montgomery, Alabama, President Davis approves a bill of the Confederate Congress declaring that the Confederacy recognizes a state of war between the United States and the Confederate States. The bill states that “earnest efforts to establish friendly relations” between the two governments has failed. It authorizes Davis to use all military forces “to meet the war thus commenced.”
Ulysses S. Grant writes his father from Springfield, Illinois. Governor Yates had asked him to stay and oversee the drilling of troops while in camp and to assist in mustering them into service. The last of the regiments will be leaving shortly, after which time Grant assumes he will head back home to Galena. He states that in his own opinion “the war will be of short duration.” His wife Julia misses him but supports his efforts and will “not throw a single obstacle in the way.” 
In St. Louis, Missouri, Captain Nathaniel Lyon refuses the police commissioner’s request to remove Union troops from public buildings. Tempers continue to flair as pro-secessionist groups gather at a camp near the city. 
Tonight, Lyon – who seems immune to any thought of potential dangers – disguises himself as Missouri Congressman Frank Blair’s mother-in-law. He wears a black veil to hide his beard and hides a pair of revolvers under his dress as he is pulled by carriage through Camp Jackson, where thousands of pro-Southern troops had gathered. From this daring mission, he learns a lot about what is happening inside the camp and the rebel plans.
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