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17th South Carolina Infantry

Unit Flag History

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Although looking like a moon, the Crescent on the flag is an Pre-Colonial British symbol (a crescent piece of metal worn on British soldier's uniform and known as a Gorget or Criniere)  representing a town that was founded on a bank of a river or harbor.  Charleston (one of the most prominent and wealthy cities in South Carolina, also the first home of the first Colonial governors) was founded on the banks of the Ashley River and Charleston Harbor, thus the Crescent on the flag. 
 
The Palmetto Tree stems from the Revolutionary War. Colonel Moultrie built a fort out of Palmetto logs to defend Charleston from British troops. Colonel Moultrie was successful in repelling and defeating the British and the fort he built was later named after him and still stands on the edges of Charleston Harbor today.  The Palmetto Tree is a symbol of victory over the British and is still found on South Carolina flags today.
 
During the Civil War, the 17th through 23rd Regiments from South Carolina, were originally formed for defense of South Carolina, especially Charleston Harbor. Answering the call to form and lead these Regiments were cadets, commandants, and instructional officers (professors) from The Citadel (the South's version of West Point Military Academy).  These cadets adopted The Citadel's burgundy-red flag color known as "Big Red" to cadets and alumni, for their regimental colors. They placed the South Carolina state symbols- the Crescent and the Palmetto Tree on their flag to represent that not only were they Citadel Graduates, but were South Carolinians.
 
 
January 9th, 1981: Confederate Artillery (Citadel Cadets) fires on the Star of the West (A Yankee resupply ship headed for Fort Sumter) from Morris Island as it crosses into the main entrance channel to Charleston Harbor. As the ship comes about, Fort Moultrie opens fire, also with cannon shot. A mile and a half from Fort Sumter, the ship withdraws. The Civil War had begun.
 
Our unit, being the 17th South Carolina Infantry, carries this flag on the field during battle.

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The blue South Carolina flag gets its color from the Contential Army soldier's uniform during the Revolutionary War that defended South Carolina from the British.  The symbols are the same as described above.  The 1st through 16th Regiments from South Carolina during the Civil War used this flag to denote their regiments on the battlefield.  This is also the current South Carolina State Flag.
 
Our sister unit, the 14th South Carolina Infantry, carries this flag on the field.

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This is a version of an early flag raised over South Carolina shortly after its secession from the Union in 1860 (it was also supposed to have been raised over Yale University by sympathizers). It was called the South Carolina Sovereignty Flag and was supposed to have been an inspiration for the Confederate flag in its later form.

Our sister unit, the 18th South Carolina Light Seige Artillery, carries this flag on the field.


All images, pictures, and graphics are curtesy and copyright to 17th SC Infantry, eBay, Library of Congress, other websites, and our own creation. Copyright 2012.