South Carolina militia flag, probably Palmetto Guard, c. 1862. Palmetto Guard is a common nickname for Confederate units but research suggests that, in this case, it refers to the artillery company that was added to the 18th Battalion, South Carolina Artillery in July 1862. Along with numerous reorganizations of the Confederate units, came several name changes. The 18th Battalion, South Carolina Artillery was known successively as Alston’s Light Artillery Battalion, the Siege Train Artillery Battalion and Manigault’s Battalion. The Museum received this handmade flag in 1966 from John Laurens who found it in a chest that had belonged to Charleston-born artist, Amory Coffin Simons (1866-1959). It is possible that Simons acquired the flag from his cousin, Robert Bentham Simons (1840-1924) who saw active duty during the Civil War as guidon for the Palmetto Guard Siege Train in 1862. Since a guidon is the military standard for a company as well as the individual who carries it, perhaps this was the flag he carried. This flag is currently on exhibit in The Charleston Museum’s Threads of War: Clothing and Textiles of the Civil War now through October 30, 2011.
There is a similar Palmetto Guard flag at Fort Sumter National Monument that was carried by Private John Bird as the company flag beginning in December 1860.
TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection. Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday