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[481] the patriotic sons of the State organized military companies in almost every neighborhood, and stood ready for the emergency. None could be found from the mountains to the seaboard who doubted the absolute and unqualified right of the State to assert her sovereignty whenever she deemed it expedient. There were very few who did not believe that the time for such assertion had come. In the month of November many of the young men, and some middle aged ones, of Kingston and the vicinity, assembled in the courthouse, enthusiastically signed the roll, and resolved to call their company ‘The Wee Nee Volunteers.’1 The following officers were elected: Captain, John G. Pressley; First Lieutenant, S. W. Maurice; Second Lieutenant, R. C. Logan; Third Lieutenant, E. C. Keels. One hundred of as brave men as ever confronted a foe constituted the non-commissioned officers and privates. Among the members of the company were two members of the State Convention, both members of the Legislature, the clerk of the court, the ordinary, the sheriff and one magistrate. Williamsburg was left almost without a civil government.

On the night of the 26th of December, 1860, Major Robert Anderson, commanding the Federal forces stationed at Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan's Island, abandoned that fort and transferred his whole garrison to Fort Sumter. The excitement caused by this movement was intense. Many persons, who, up to that time, believed that the State would be permitted to withdraw peaceably from the Union, now came to the conclusion that war was inevitable. The services of the Wee Nees were at once tendered to the State, and were accepted by Governor Pickens. Kingston had thus the honor of sending the first company into service that went from Williamsburg, and, except some militia from Charleston, called out temporarily, the third in the State. On the third day of January, 1861, the company was embarked on the cars of the N. E. Railroad Company for Charleston. On the same train were the Hons. R. W. Barnwell, J. H. Adams and James L. Orr, the commissioners sent by South Carolina to treat with the Federal Government at Washington for the transfer to the State of the forts, arsenals and other Federal property within her limits. These gentlemen were returning from their unsuccessful mission. They had no words of assurance that the soldiers who had so promptly come forward in defence of the threatened rights of their

1 Wee Nee is the Indian name of Black River, the stream upon which the town of Kingston is situated.

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John G. Pressley (1)
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