From the journal of the South Carolina Secession Convention, December 29, 1860:
The following communication was received from his Excellency the Governor, and was ordered to lie on the table:
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Charleston, 28 December, 1860. To Hon. D. F. JAMISON,
President of the Convention :
SIR : As the Convention sent for me yesterday, to be informed upon important business, I take the occasion to say, that, under my order, Castle Pinckney was taken last evening; and the United States flag hauled down, and the Palmetto banner run up in its place. And I also ordered a detachment from an artillery regiment to occupy Sullivan’s Island; and if it could be done without any immediate danger from mines, or too great loss of life, to take Fort Moultrie, and to run up the Palmetto flag, and put the guns in immediate preparation for defence. I have now full possession of those two forts. I considered the evacuation of Fort Moultrie, under all the circumstances, a direct violation of the distinct understanding between the authorities of the Government at Washington and those who were authorized to act on the part of the State, and bringing on a state of war.
I therefore thought it due to the safety of the State that I should take the steps I have. I hope there is no immediate danger of further aggression for the present.
F. W. PICKENS. –
Apparently South Carolina’s governor agreed with me that the war had already begun (although his view of the precipitating event was a bit different).
The full text of the Journals of the South Carolina Secession Convention, and those of other states, are available online at the links to the lower right.