In 1861, to the considerable embarrassment of the so-called "Fire-eater", the ardent secessionist William Yancey on this day, his home State of Alabama voted to remain in the Union by a margin of just 61 to 39.
Defeat of the "Fire-Eaters"The shift of just twelve votes was due in no small part to the slowing down of the momentum of secession, and Alabamians were starting to doubt mantra that "aye the Southern states all will stand together".
Robert Rhodes exulted that "Alabama is in a blaze, and we are all expecting a brush with the Federal Troops". Yet teversals in the plans for arming the South had begun to raise serious questions in the minds of many, particularly since the arrest of Jefferson Davis for gun-running on January 7th.
This harsh reality took the argument away from Yancey and his group known as the "Fire-Eaters", amongst the most effective agitators for secession and rhetorical defenders of slavery. Because determined attempts were now being made by Washington to dampen the blaze, the fire might yet blow over.