The Flag of the State of South Carolina was adopted on September 28, 1861. The flag is rectangular with a blue background. In the center of the flag is a white palm tree. A white crescent appears in the upper left corner.
The Flag of South Carolina was first designed for use in the Revolutionary War. In 1775, Colonel William Moultrie developed the state’s first flag, a blue rectangular banner with a white crescent in the upper left corner, the blue color matching the militia uniforms. The word “liberty” appeared inside the white crescent on the first version of the flag.
The original Revolutionary War flag remained in use until 1861, when the South Carolina General Assembly adopted a flag with a palmetto tree in front of a white oval background. The flag was only in use for two days—it is thus known as the “two-day flag”—and two days later the palmetto tree was modified to a simpler white tree in front of the blue background.
The addition of the palmetto tree on the South Carolina flag recognizes Colonel Moultrie and his troops, who defended Charleston by constructing a fort from palmetto logs. Because palmetto logs are soft, the British cannons were unable to destroy the fort, allowing the Americans to win the battle at Charleston on June 28, 1776.
Like many other Southern States, South Carolina flew a different flag after it seceded from the Union during the civil war era. South Carolina’s Sovereignty/Secession Flag was actually flown in several parts of the Union during the Civil War to demonstrate support for the South. The Sovereignty/Secession Flag features a red background with a blue cross. Inside the blue cross are white stars. In the left corner of the flag, the crescent and the palm tree are featured next to each other.
The meaning of the crescent is debatable. South Carolina soldiers may have worn a crescent on their caps during the revolution. The crescent is also thought to be symbolic of a “second son,” one who came to the United States in search of a more prosperous life.