When the proper time had come, when I knew we were prepared, there was not a moment that I was not ready to strike the blow for my State and the independence of my country, let it lead to what it might, even if it led to blood and ruin. Thank God the day is come; thank God the war is open and we will conquer or perish. They have vauntingly arrayed their millions of men against us; they have exultingly also arrayed their navy, and they have called us but a handful of men, a weak and isolated State, full of pride and what they call chivalry, and with the hated institution of slavery, as they supposed a source of weakness, too, which in fact is a source of strength in war, and they have defied us. But we have rallied, […] we have met them and we have conquered. We have defeated their twenty millions, and we have made the proud flag of the Stars and Stripes, that never was lowered before to any nation on this earth, we have lowered it in humility before the Palmetto and the Confederate flags, and we have compelled them to raise by their side the white flags, and ask for an honorable surrender. […] We have humbled the flag of the United States. I can here say to you, it is the first time in the history of this country that the Stars and Stripes have been humbled. It has triumphed for seventy years, but today, on the thirteenth day of April, it has been humbled, and humbled before the glorious little State of South Carolina.
Speech given by Governor Pickens from the balcony of the Charleston Hotel.