The Ball Rolls On

Friday, November 16, 1860 The Charleston Mercury reported under its headline “The Ball Rolls On” that The Clinch Rifles, a volunteer militia from Augusta, Georgia telegraphed the Washington Light Infantry (militia from Charleston), “We are ready to go with you.” Also, the Minute Men of Norfolk, Virginia had requested the pattern of a Palmetto FlagRead More

Major Anderson Ordered to Charleston Defenses

Thursday, November 15, 1860 Major Robert Anderson was ordered by Winfield Scott (commander of all the Federal forces) to Fort Moultrie in Charleston Harbor. Anderson was a capable officer, a veteran of the Mexican War and, at 57, seriously considering retirement. He was a former slave owner from Kentucky and married to the daughter ofRead More

It Will Not Be A Peaceful Secession

Wednesday, November 14, 1860 As times went on, the pull for secession increased. This is especially true in Charleston. On the 14th, The Philadelphia Pennsylvanian sent a series of telegraphs from the seaboard city to its base in Philly. The feeling of secession grows stronger. Many openly express the fear that Alabama or Georgia willRead More

South Carolina to Raise an Army?

Tuesday, November 13, 1860 Confusing reports from Charleston told of Fort Moultrie (on Sullivan’s Island at the mouth of the harbor), being seized by the Charleston Light Infantry. As it turned out, the Light Infantry was detailed by the city to guard the fort against the threat of a mob attempting to seize it.1 MakingRead More

Western Virginia Takes an Early Stand

Monday, November 12, 1860 West Virginia wouldn’t become its own state (and then part of the Union) until the summer of 1863, however, its stripes were already showing. Preston County, just across the border of the Maryland panhandle, was in a quandary over where their allegiance should lie. Would they go with Virginia, should sheRead More

James “Cotton Is King” Hammond Also Resigns His Post

Sunday, November 11, 1860 James Hammond, senior Senator from South Carolina was not one to be outdone. He was among the strongest supporters of the Southern way of life, slavery and secession. So when his state’s junior Senator, the moderate and former Unionist, James Chesnut resigned before he did, Hammond could not let that stand.Read More

As If Repetition Would Do Any Good

Saturday, November 10, 1860 South Carolina’s junior US senator, James Chesnut (husband of now-famous diarist, Mary Chesnut)1 , had long been a Unionist. On this date, however, he resigned his seat. Chesnut’s favor had changed to that of leaving the Union with the election of Lincoln (actually a bit before). The state’s senior senator, JamesRead More

Buchanan Calls a Meeting; 800 South Carolina Minute Men

Friday, November 9, 1860 In Washington DC, President Buchanan called a cabinet meeting about the threat of secession and to discuss his upcoming State of the Union address. He was against secession and wanted to hold a convention between all of the states to see if they couldn’t round up some sort of compromise. HisRead More

The Tea Has Been Thrown Overboard

Thursday, November 8, 1860 The mood of the southern states had not brightened two days after the election. In fact, the Charleston Mercury spelled it out plainly: “The tea has been thrown overboard, the revolution of 1860 has been initiated.” 100 miles down the coast, at a rally in Savannah, Georgia, the first flag ofRead More

Raising the Red Flag

Wednesday, November 7, 1860 The morning after the election, the Charleston Mercury announced to a seething public what was now already widely known throughout the city, that Abraham Lincoln was elected president. A red palmetto flag, similar to the South Carolina flag of today, but with a red background, was hoisted over the street fromRead More