The Republic of South Carolina is a term for the State of South Carolina as it existed from December 20, 1860 (when it declared its secession from the Union) to February 8, 1861 (when it joined the other Southern States in the Confederate States of America).
By a unanimous vote of 169-0 in a special State convention held in Columbia, South Carolina chose to secede from the Federal Union. It adopted the palmetto flag as its national banner.
After South Carolina seceded in 1860, former congressman James L. Petigru famously remarked, "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum." Soon after seceding, South Carolina began preparing for a presumed Federal military response while working to convince other Southern States to secede as well and join in a Confederacy of Southern republics. Today the term is used by those who support independence for the State.
South Carolina had long before the American Civil War been a region that heavily supported individual states' rights and the institution of slavery. Political leaders such as John C. Calhoun and Preston Brooks had inflamed regional (and national) passions, and for years before the eventual start of the Civil War in 1861, voices cried for secession. South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union, saw the first shots of the Civil War when Citadel cadets fired on a civilian merchant ship Star of the West bringing supplies to the beleaguered Federal garrison at Fort Sumter January 9, 1861. The April 1861 Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter ignited what became a four-year struggle that divided the nation.
South Carolina was a source of troops for the Confederate army, and as the war progressed, also for the Union as thousands of ex-slaves flocked to join the Union forces. Notably, South Carolina was the only Confederate state from which the Union was never able to recruit a white regiment. The state also provided uniforms, textiles, food, and war material, as well as trained soldiers and leaders from The Citadel and other military schools. Relatively free from Union occupation until the very end of the war, South Carolina hosted a number of prisoner of war camps.
Among the leading generals from the Palmetto State were Wade Hampton III, one of the Confederacy's leading cavalrymen, and Joseph B. Kershaw, whose South Carolina infantry brigade saw some of the hardest fighting of the Army of Northern Virginia.