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South Carolina Colonial/Revolutionary War Flags (U.S.)


Last modified: 2011-12-16 by rick wyatt
Keywords: south carolina | united states | eutaw |
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South Carolina 2nd Regiment

[South Carolina 2nd Regiment flag] image by Randy Young, 23 February 2001

Source: "Flags to Color from the American Revolution."

The Flag of the Second South Carolina Regiment, Continental Line." The colors are listed as "Blue field, yellow letters, green wreath, red ribbon, red and blue flags within." The motto in the center reads "VITA POTIOR LIBERTAS," with the year "1775" just above the ribbon.
"This flag with the motto 'Liberty rather than life,' was carried by men who meant it. Sgt. Jasper, who had saved the Crescent Flag at Sullivan's Island, fell carrying this at Savannah. Col. Moultrie first led this regiment, and Francis Marion, the 'Swamp Fox,' commanded it at Savannah."
Randy Young, 23 February 2001

Eutaw Standard of Col. William Washington
Third Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons

[Eutaw Standard] image by Randy Young, 27 February 2001

Source: "Flags to Color from the American Revolution."

This flag is listed as "The Eutaw Standard of Colonel William Washington's Cavalry," and is described as being "all crimson." The narrative of the flag says:
"Colonel Washington spent an hour with the fair Jane Elliott before the campaign through Eutaw and the Cowpens. She [said she] would await news of the triumph of his flag. 'But I have no flag,' he said. 'Then I'll give you one!' she replied, and cut a square of brocade from a curtain. It later flew at their wedding."
Randy Young, 27 February 2001

South Carolina Navy

[South Carolina Navy] image by Randy Young, 2 August 2001

Source: "The Stars and the Stripes: The American Flag as Art and as History from the Birth of the Republic to the Present."

This flag is listed as "The flag of the South Carolina navy" during the American Revolution. The flag is essentially the same as the Continental Naval jack, but with the motto "DONT TREAD ON ME" appearing on the second red stripe from the top, and "joining stripes of Scotland's blue and England's red."
Randy Young, 2 August 2001

The flag is mentioned in the October 9, 1778 letter from Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to the "Ambassador of the King of the Two Sicilies", which describes several American flags. One sentence reads, "For example, the vessels of war of the State of Massachusetts Bay have sometimes a pine tree; and those of South Carolina a rattlesnake, in the middle of the 13 stripes."

The Franklin/Adams letter does not indicate the color of the stripes. "Standards and Colors of the American Revolution" indicates that the red and blue colours are illustrated in Preble's book (to which I am sad to say I do not have access), but that Preble does not give his source. The earlier text of the Franklin/Adams letter indicated that the stripes on the flag of the American Congress had red, white AND blue stripes, as was often the case with American naval vessels in European waters.
Devereaux Cannon, 16 September 2002

I have the Admiral Preble books and while the SC Navy flag is illustrated on a color plate between pages 192 - 3 in Volume One, there does not seem to be any text concerning this flag. The flag as illustrated has seven red and six blue stripes and the rattlesnake is oriented generally the same as on the First Navy Jack. The most notable difference would be that the "DONT TREAD ON ME" slogan appears in the stripe third from the top, above the rattlesnake.
John Evosevic, 16 September 2002