South Carolina Secession


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Secession of South Carolina

Formation of the Confederacy

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South Carolina- The First State to Secede

Southern Secession began with the secession of South Carolina from the Union.  The illustration to your right presents an image of the seceding South Carolina Congressional delegation.  The image was created by noted artist Winslow Homer from a Mathew Brady photograph. The illustration appeared in the December 22, 1860 edition of Harper's Weekly. 


The secession of South Carolina from the Union, December 20, 1860

The image we present is a photograph of the original Harper's Weekly newspaper acquired for archiving on this WEB site. The events around the secession of South Carolina were presented in the January 5, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly.  We present below Harper's Weekly account of the events.  As noted earlier, we would like you to be able to see the events leading to the civil war unfold the same as those living at the day saw them unfold. We also present the secession documents.We focus on Harper's Weekly coverage of the events, and the secession documents without editorial comment or interpretation.

Harper's Weekly January 5, 1861

The South Carolina Convention

This body continues to sit, having refused to adjourn over the holidays.  Addresses to the Southern States and to the world have been issued and published; their length precludes their publication here. Three Commissioners- Messrs. Adams, Orr, and Barnwell- have been appointed to treat with the United States Government. Nothing has been done with regard to the commercial relations of the new nation: the United States Collector continues to issue clearances and to collect duties.  On Christmas Day Mr. Manigault's resolution, instructing the Governor to make forthwith all preparations which may be needed to assert by force the right and jurisdiction of South Carolina in its territory, was lost.

On the 26th, a resolution was passed declaring citizens of South Carolina all citizens of the United States within her limits on the 20th inst., the date of her secession. Another provides for a Convention of slaveholding States at Montgomery, Alabama, for the purpose of forming a Southern Confederacy, under the Constitution of the United States.  The Convention, in secret session, adopted an ordinance continuing the present Federal revenue officers in their places, and also continuing the United States revenue and navigation laws in force, subject to certain regulations.

Harper's Weekly January 5, 1861

The South Carolina Proclamation of Independence

Governor PIckens has, agreeably to the ordinance of session, issued a proclamation, proclaiming to the world sovereign, free and independent State, and as such has a right to levy war, conclude peace, negotiate treaties, leagues, or covenants, and do all acts whatever that rightly appertain to a free and independent State.

Harper's Weekly January 5, 1861

Resignation of the South Carolina Delegation

The Speaker laid before the House on the 24th, a letter signed by Messrs. M'Queen, Bonham, Boyce, and Ashmore, of South Carolina, as follows:

SIR,- We avail ourselves of the earliest opportunity since the official communication of the intelligence, of making known to your honorable body that the people of the State of South Carolina, in their sovereign capacity, have resumed the powers heretofore delegated by them to the Federal Government of the United States, and have thereby dissolved our connection with the House of Representatives. In taking leave of those with whom we have been associated in a common agency, we, as well as the people of our Commonwealth, desire to do so with a feeling of mutual regard and respect for each other- cherishing the hope that, in our future relations, we may better enjoy that peace and harmony essential to the happiness of a free and enlightened people.





To the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

- - - - - End of Harper's Stories - - - - -

The birth of the Confederate States of America began with the Secession of South Carolina from the Union on December 20, 1860.


For Reference on this Historic Event Please Study these "Essential" Documents

South Carolina's Secession Ordinance

South Carolina's "Causes of Secession" Document from December 24, 1860



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