Timeline of Events

So the great and decisive act of Secession was accomplished; that act which brought a terrible and bloody war of four years' duration; hastened that end from which we had so long shrunk; completely changed our institutions; paved the way for other changes, which are now in rapid process of development, and the end of which no man can see. The position in which we, the people of Edgefield and of the State, find ourselves to-day is one which would have been utterly impossible under the old order of things. Whether the changes which are now so rapidly moving on, not only in South Carolina, but in the whole country, are to bring about a better state of things, or whether they will ultimately end in disastrous wreck and ruin to the whole country, it is impossible for the wisest statesman to foresee and predict with certainty. Whatever the end may be, this we know that men in their selfish and evil blindness are sure to bring disasters upon themselves as they are, because they do not aim at what is right, but at that which they think will be gainful to themselves, whether right or wrong. Little did the Convention of 1860 dream of the events of the next four years! They thought the people of the North would not fight; that they loved money too well to think of going to war to make a coercive union, and that the experiment would be entirely too costly. Or, even supposing that they should resort to arms to preserve the Union, we felt that we could whip them, and that after a few well-fought battles, in which they would be sure to get the worst of it, they would be glad to make peace, and to let us go our own separate ways without further molestation.

There was no opposition in Edgefield to the action of the Convention, and the vote of their delegates was heartily endorsed by almost everybody. When the act of Secession was consummated great enthusiasm was felt and manifested everywhere, and preparations for war began to be made in all parts of the district. We have already briefly noticed the enthusiasm manifested at Mount Willing. As it was there, so it was in all parts of the county. The war drums beat and volunteer companies began to be formed at an early day. Meantime, however, efforts were made by South Carolina and by the Confederate government, which was soon formed by the Secession of other States from the old Union, to make a peaceful solution of the existing difficulties without resorting to the terrible arbitrament of arms. These efforts were all in vain. Mr. Buchanan and the authorities of the United States government could not receive the commissioners sent on to Washington in any other manner than as private gentlemen. They had no power nor authority to treat with them, or to make any arrangement looking to or recognizing the fact of the dissolution of the existing Union. Our commissioners effected nothing; and preparations for war went on all over the State. Companies were formed and moved to Charleston. Fort Sumter was invested and batteries were erected on Morris Island, manned by cadets from the South Carolina Military Academy and commanded by Major P. F. Stevens. Fort Sumter was thus invested to prevent re-enforcements, or supplies of any kind from being sent to Major Anderson, who commanded there, and not for the purpose, as yet, of making an attack upon the fort. On the 9th of January, 1861, just twenty-nine days after the passage of the Ordinance of Secession, the Star of the West, a light ocean steamer, made an effort to pass the batteries with supplies for Fort Sumter. She was fired into, when she retired and did not again try to pass.

All efforts at negotiation having failed, and at this time it being well known to the Confederate authorities that it was the fixed purpose of the United States government to re- enforce Fort Sumter, an attack was determined on. Accordingly, general Geauregard, who then had command of the Confederate forces at Charleston, was instructed to demand its surrender, and if the demand was not complied with, to proceed at once to attack. On the 11th of April, 1861, he made the demand. The demand was replied to in the negative, and at half past four A. M. on the next day, the firing began. The bombardment of the fort continued steadily for thirty- two hours, when Major Anderson surrendered. No one was killed on either side in this memorable contest. At this time General Beauregard had under his command about six thousand Confederate troops, a part of whom, one regiment, commanded by Colonel Maxcy Gregg, of Columbia, was from South Carolina. There were two companies from Edgefield, one led by Cicero Adams and the other by Captain Robert Merriwether.

REF: History of Edgefield. Chapman, pgs. 215-217

The Civil War in South Carolina