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Huntsville is the third-largest city in Alabama and the largest city in the five-county Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area, which at the 2013 census estimate had a total population of 683,871.It grew across nearby hills north of the Tennessee River, adding textile mills, then munitions factories, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal.One significant start involved manufacturing the Keller automobile, but this closed with only 18 vehicles built.With the encouragement of Senator John Sparkman, the U. Army Air Force considered it for a major testing facility, but then selected another site.On the morning of April 11, 1862, Union troops led by General Ormsby M.
Assigned to the center at Huntsville, they settled and reared families in this area.
While many homes and villages in the surrounding countryside were burned in retaliation for the active guerrilla warfare in the area, Huntsville itself was spared because it housed elements of the Union Army.
After the Civil War, Huntsville became a center for cotton textile mills, such as Lincoln, Dallas, and Merrimack.
This was a temporary designation for one legislative session only, and the capital was then moved to Cahawba, then to Tuscaloosa, and finally to Montgomery. The Fourth Alabama Infantry, which contained two Huntsville companies, were the first Alabama troops to fight in the war and were present when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox in April 1865.
Eight generals of the war were born in or near Huntsville, evenly split with four on each side.
The 44 delegates meeting there wrote a constitution for the new state of Alabama.