1820: Alabama’s first governor, William Wyatt Bibb, dies as a result of injuries received in a riding accident. As specified in the 1819 constitution the president of the state senate automatically became the new governor. The new governor was Bibb’s younger brother, Thomas Bibb, who had represented Limestone County at the Constitutional Convention and in the state senate.
1862: Forty men from the hill country of northwest Alabama sneak into Decatur to join the Union army, prompting Gen. Abel Streight to mount an expedition to the south to recruit more volunteers. With the help of an impassioned speech from fervent Unionist Christopher Sheats of Winston County, a center of anti-secessionist sentiment, Streight added another 150 Alabamians to his force.
1864: Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau of the Union army begins his raid through Alabama at Decatur. Under orders from Gen. William T. Sherman, Rousseau’s 2,200 cavalrymen raided south more than 300 miles to the West Point and Montgomery Railroad in east Alabama. By July 20 they had destroyed more than thirty miles of track between Chehaw Station and Opelika, thereby aiding Sherman’s march on Atlanta by cutting a vital supply line to the city.