20 December 2010

Ordinance of Secession

In honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Signing of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession:

South Carolina was the first state to formally secede from the United States, spurred on by several native fire-eating Beaufortonians.

The 150th Anniversary of the signing of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession today officially kicks off the Sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War.

We have a facsimile of the Ordinance of Secession in the BDC Research Room.

The real SC Ordinance of Secession is safely stored away in the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

A digital version of the Ordinance of Secession is found in the "Teaching American History in South Carolina: a state-wide approach to teaching professional development" web page about the Ordinance of Secession. Click the "printable PDF" version to get a readable copy.

So, what does this have to do with the local history of Beaufort District? Here are several facts to consider:

1) The first "true copy" of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession to fall into Union hands was actually captured in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Port Royal -- here in Beaufort.

2) A significant portion of the Signers of the document were from our area. Signers of the Ordinance of Secession representing the parishes in Beaufort District were: Robert Woodward Barnwell; Langdon Cheves; Richard James Davant; John Edward Frampton; William Ferguson Hutson; Joseph Daniel Pope; George Rhodes; and Ephraim Mikell Seabrook.

3) And didn't the "Father of Secession," native Beaufortonian Robert Barnwell Smith (he legally changed his surname to "Rhett" in his early adulthood) raise and keep up a ruckus for years to bring about the break with the Federal government?

Read the related Ordinance of Secession entry from October.

1 comment:

Don said...

You might be interested to see and read portions of the journal of the secession convention for South Carolina. The full version is around 800 pages long and contains the state's 1861 constitution and the Confederate Constitution as well. The very first item in this journal is the Ordinance of Secession itself, and then there are various supporting ordinances that follow. See this link that will connect you to UNC's "Documenting the American South" website. This page does not appear to contain the entire journal (no declarations, addresses, etc.), but it certainly contains the major ordinances along with the two constitutions: