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The South Carolina State Flag

Dating back to 1765, the South Carolina State Flag reminds us of its role in the American Revolution and maintains its place in the annals of the Civil War with a design that was formulated as a National banner when the state seceded from the union on December 20, 1860.

Components of the current state flag were first seen in 1765, on a banner carried by South Carolina protesters of the Stamp Act. The banner that the protesters hoisted displayed three white crescents on a blue background. Ten years later in 1775, Colonel William Moultrie was asked by the South Carolina Revolutionary Council of Safety to design a banner for the use of South Carolina troops. Colonel Moultrie chose a simple and direct design that displayed a crescent on a blue field. The new flag was the same blue color of the soldier's uniforms and the crescent echoed the symbol that the soldiers wore on the front of their caps.

South Carolina state flag
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Almost 100 years later, South Carolina seceded from the Union it had fought to create. A new banner was needed to fly above the newly created nation. Many designs were reviewed but the General Assembly settled on one simple change to Moultrie's Revolutionary War design. A Palmetto tree was added and centered on the blue field. The Palmetto, the South Carolina State Tree, had been attributed as instrumental in Colonel Moultrie's defense of Sullivan's Island against an attack by British warships in June, 1776. Cannonballs fired at the fort from the British ships could not destroy the walls of the fort which were built of Palmetto logs. Instead, the cannonballs simply sank into the soft, tough Palmetto wood.

The flag that flies over the state of South Carolina today is of the same design that flew over the independent South Carolina during the Civil War.

South Carolina Flag Law

The following information was excerpted from the South Carolina Code of Laws, Titles 1, 4, 10, and 59.

(A) As of 12:00 noon on the effective date of this act, and permanently thereafter, the only flags authorized to be flown atop the dome of the State House, in the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives, and on the grounds of the Capitol Complex shall be as authorized in this section.

The flags authorized to be flown atop the dome of the State House and in the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives are the United States Flag and the South Carolina State Flag. As of 12:00 noon on the effective date of this act, the flag authorized to be flown at a designated location on the grounds of the Capitol Complex is the South Carolina Infantry Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America [the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (General Robert E. Lee's Army) the South Carolina, Georgia, Florida Department version]. This flag must be flown on a flagpole located at a point on the south side of the Confederate Soldier Monument, centered on the monument, ten feet from the base of the monument at a height of thirty feet. The flagpole on which the flag is flown and the area adjacent to the monument and flagpole must be illuminated at night and an appropriate decorative iron fence must be erected around the flagpole.

The South Carolina Infantry Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America is square measuring fifty-two inches on each side, inclusive of the white border, with a St. Andrews Cross of blue, edged with white, with thirteen equal five-pointed stars, upon a red field, with the whole banner bordered in white. The blue arms of the cross are 7.5 inches wide and the white border around the flag proper is 1.5 inches wide. The stars are five-pointed, inscribed within a circle six inches in diameter, and are uniform in size.

From any funds appropriated to the Budget and Control Board, the Division of General Services of the Budget and Control Board, or its successor in interest, shall ensure that the flags authorized above shall be placed at all times as directed in this section and shall replace the flags at appropriate intervals as may be necessary due to wear.

The actual Confederate Flags (Naval Jack) removed from above the rostrum in the chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate must be placed and permanently displayed in a suitable location in the State Museum.

The actual Confederate Flag (Naval Jack) which is flying on the effective date of this act and which is removed from the dome of the State House must be placed and permanently displayed in a suitable location in the State Museum.


Source: The South Carolina Legislature, South Carolina Code of Laws, (http://www.scstatehouse.net/code/statmast.htm), November 2, 2007.
Source: Flags of the Fifty States and Their Incredible Histories: The Complete Guide to America's Most Powerful Symbols by Randy Howe. The Lyons Press; First edition edition (November 1, 2002).
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer. Greenwood Press; 3 Sub edition (October 30, 2001).
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle. Reprint Services Corp; Revised edition (June 1971).


Additional Information

South Carolina (U.S.): FOTW "Flags of the World" Web Site.

State Flags: Complete list of state flags with links to large pictures and images suitable for coloring.

Flag Terminology: The parts of a flag and terms associated with its design.

Visit Our Flag Shop: Purchase all kinds of flags and banners, lapel pins, 50 state flag sets, decals, patches, college banners at the Flag Shop.

Purchase South Carolina State Flags: You may purchase quality state flags from the United States Flag Store.

Flags of the Fifty States and their Incredible Histories: A complete guide to America's most powerful symbols by Randy Howe.

How Proudly They Wave: Flags of the Fifty States: This book, by Rita D. Haban, is geared toward younger readers.

 
 
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