How did the transition of command at Southern military forts and outposts happen as Secession occurred?


Jun 30, 2017
France (The Alps...not Paris !)
I may answer this question to the members of CWT.

When the civil war started, many southerners were in the regular army, when the south seceded, they separated from their comrades.
You can see such scenes in some movies (the West Point cadets in "They died with their boots on", "Column South" with Audie Murphy, or even in the series "North and South"...), but how did it happen really ?
Did the south seized the Union forts who were on their land ?
Did the troopers of both sides take their weapons with them when they separate ? Were they allowed to keep their horses ?

Thanks for your answers.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Aug 25, 2012
Yes the US forts in the South were captured except for a few. Any horses, arms, or equipment was captured as well, but in some cases the captured men might be allowed to keep thier small arms. U.S. naval ships and revenue ships, post offices, and mints were captured as well.

At the start of the Civil War an officer could resign their commission and leave the army. However, this was not true for privates and sergeants. So enlisted men could be charged with desertion if they left. A fair amount of Southern born officers did resign but the number of Southern born enlisted soldiers who deserted were much less. In some cases where U.S. forts were captured I assume that some of the garrison that were from the South were released and joined the Confederate military.