South Carolina Ordinance Of Secession
AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of
South Carolina and other States united with her under the
compact entitled "The Constitution of the United States of
We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention
assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared
and ordained, That the ordinance adopted by us in
convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our
Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby
the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified,
and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of
this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are
hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between
South Carolina and other States, under the name of the
"United States of America," is hereby dissolved.
Done at Charleston the twentieth day of December, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty.

Six days later, on the day after Christmas 1860, Major Robert
Anderson, commander of the U.S. troops in Charleston,
withdrew his men against orders into the island fortress of
Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. South Carolina militia
swarmed over the abandoned mainland batteries and trained
their guns on the island. Sumter was the key position to
preventing a naval invasion of Charleston, so Carolina could
not afford to allow federal forces to remain there indefinitely.
More important, having a foreign country (the USA) control its
largest harbor meant that the Confederacy was not really
independent--which was Lincoln's point.
Mississippi seceded several weeks after South Carolina, and
the rest of the lower South followed. On February 4, a
congress of Southern states met in Montgomery, Alabama,
and approved a new constitution for the Confederate States
of America. Lincoln argued that the United States were "one
nation, indivisible," and denied the Southern states' right to
secede. Upper Southern states such as Virginia and North
Carolina, which had not yet seceded, called a peace
conference, to little effect.
On January 9, 1861, the U.S. ship Star of the West
approached to resupply the soldiers in the fort. South
Carolina entered the Confederacy on February 8, 1861 thus
ending fewer than six weeks of being an independent State
of South Carolina. Then, Virginian orator Roger Pryor
barreled into Charleston and proclaimed that the only way to
get Old Dominion to join the Confederacy was for South
Carolina to instigate war with the United States. The obvious
place to start was right in the midst of Charleston Harbor.
On April 10, the Mercury reprinted stories from New York
papers that told of a naval expedition that had been sent
southward toward Charleston. The Carolinians could no
longer wait if they hoped to take the fort without fighting the
North's Navy at the same time. About 6,000 men were
stationed around the rim of the harbor, ready to take on the
60 men in Fort Sumter. At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, after two
days of intense negotiations, and with Union ships just
outside the harbor, the firing began. Students from The
Citadel were among those firing the first shots of the war,
though Edmund Ruffin is usually credited with firing the first
shot. Thirty-four hours later, Anderson's men raised the white
flag and were allowed to leave the fort with colors flying and
drums beating, saluting the U.S. flag with a 50-gun salute
before taking it down. During this salute, one of the guns
exploded, killing a young soldier—the only casualty of the
bombardment and the first casualty of the war.