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 South Carolina state flag
were first seen in 1765, on a banner carried by South Carolina protesters of the Stamp
Act. The banner that the protesters carried 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 the
crescent on a blue field.
The new flag was the same blue color of the soldier's uniforms and the silver crescent
echoed the symbol that the soldiers wore on the front of their caps. 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 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 wood. The South Carolina state
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.