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Monday, February 3, 2014

Revised Vendor List for 2014 is Now Posted

A newly revised Vendor List for 2014 has been posted to the website. Go to the "Members" tab at the top of the home page; on the pulldown menu, click "Information & Reseach"; enter the password. The Vendor List is at the top of the right-hand column, in pdf format.

The list is more detailed this year, and includes pictures of most items. We also have addtional or new vendors for our smallclothes, shirts, and cartridge box, plus recommendations for more mundane items. Clothing for our new alternate impression as late-war southern Continentals are listed as well.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Once and for all...IT'S A CRESCENT, NOT A GORGET !

Over the past fifteen years, I have seen many, many organizations in South Carolina  refer to the crescent on the state flag as having been a depiction of a "gorget," a relic of medieval neck armor that, by the time of the American Revolution, had evolved into an officer's symbol of rank. It is time to set this fairy-tale to rest.

As a starting point, I refer to an article in the Charleston Post and Courier date August 10, 2004. It was written by Doug Crutchfield, a Revolutionary War researcher and founding member of the re-created 2nd South Carolina Regiment of living historians:


Next, I refer to internet posts dated November 5-6, 2002, by Terry Lipscomb, author of The Colonial Records of South Carolina:
McMaster's theory of the origin [of the crescent] requires a little explaining. Whenever a British monarch died, the current great seal of South Carolina became invalid; the seal had to be packaged up, sent back to London and destroyed, and a seal for the new monarch had to be sent out. In the meantime, the royal governor would use his personal family seal as a makeshift great seal on official documents.
          King George the Second died right at the time of the Cherokee War. So when Lt. Governor William Bull issued the commissions for Middleton's Provincial Regiment in 1761, he affixed the Bull family seal--which contained, appropriately enough, a picture of a bull, but which also contained a crescent because William belonged to a cadet branch of the family.
          All the information McMaster found about the uniforms of Middleton's Regiment led him to believe that they were very similar if not identical to the South Carolina uniforms of the 1st and 2nd Regiments during the Revolution. He therefore theorized that the crescent had been on the colonial uniforms and that the idea came from the governor's seal.
          Remember also that the people who were wearing these uniforms were in some cases identical--William Moultrie and Francis Marion served both in Middleton's Regiment of 1761 and in the 2nd SC Regiment of 1775.
          The commission of Colonel Thomas Middleton is recorded in the Miscellaneous Records of the Secretary of the Province at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, and the clerk included in the margin of the book a drawing of Bull's seal complete with crescent.
           There is one fact about Colonel Thomas Middleton I forgot to mention; his first wife was Mary Bull and at the time he was going off to war he was recently widowed--she died in 1760. So if he really lifted the crescent from the Bull family seal and adopted it as the cap insignia of his regiment as McMaster thinks, he was honoring the memory of his dead wife--the mother of his three children.[2]
As is clear from the above information, there is quite a bit of circumstantial evidence that the crescent on the South Carolina flag was, indeed, a crescent, taken from heraldry. I have never, in any original documentation from the Colonial or Revolutionary War periods, EVER seen the crescent referred to as anything but a "crescent." 

To my knowledge, there is NO documentary evidence to even suggest that the crescent was a representation of a gorget. These best anyone can come up with is that the gorget is vaguely crescent-shaped.

I personally believe the rumor that the crescent is a gorget was started by well-meaning amateur historians who needed to have something to say when asked about the origin of the crescent at public events. I and other reenactors have seen this happen time and again, only to roll our eyes in exasperation. It appears, now, that the fiction has become fact. We must set the record straight.

I challenge anyone who refers to the crescent as a gorget to post ANY evidence lending credence to this theory. I welcome any documentation you may have for your position. Failing that, any person or organization who refers to the crescent as a gorget is propagating an unsubstantiated myth, and a fraud against the collective memory of South Carolina. Prove me wrong.

Zacchary Pace
Lexington, SC


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Canteens in the 2nd S.C. Regiment

There is absolutely no mention of canteens in any official S.C. records prior to the summer of 1778. Based on later documentation, however, it can be safely assumed that, in the early-war period, canteens were not generally issued to individual soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Regiments, but would have been issued to men with a specific need: guard duty, detachments, etc. This system was probably due to the largely garrison duty of the two regiments in 1775-1777, where water was readily available in and around the posts. By the beginning of 1779, however, as the Southern Army prepared for more vigorous field duty, canteens were probably issued to every soldier, if available.


The first direct mention of canteens comes from the participation of the 1st Regiment in the ill-conceived and disastrous invasion of East Florida by General Howe, then commanding the Southern Department. The men were simply not properly outfitted for a summer campaign. Col. C.C. Pinckney, commanding the 1st Regiment, wrote General Moultrie, describing the plight of his men, and urgently requesting canteens:

May 24-25 1778
Camp at Port Howe on the Altamaha
… I cannot help lamenting to you…that you have been much too parsimonious in your fitting us out for this expedition. What can be more cruel than … in this hot climate, to have one small canteen to six or eight men? We think no expense too great to procure men, but we do not think after we have got them, that we ought to go to the expense of preserving their health … I could wish, and the Gen. requested me to desire, you to send round in a boat…500 canteens…[1]

Moultrie subsequently sent 250 canteens from state stores, stating that that was all he could find. These had apparently not arrived by June 18, when Thomas Pinckney wrote home:

Camp at Red Gap 5 Miles from Great Sitilla [sic]
We have [had] tremendous hot Weather here in the Day but cool Nights, Marched 12 miles this morning without a Drop of Water, the Officers who had Canteens fared tolerably but the Soldiers, who had by the Oeconomy of our Style but one Canteen to Six Men, suffered considerably. Some gave out entirely…[2]

After this experience, canteens became a higher-priority item for the men. In December 1778, Benjamin Lincoln, newly appointed commander of the Southern Department, requested (and probably obtained) “5000 Canteens of Wood” for his army.[3] This number would have been sufficient to supply the entire Southern Army, regulars and militia, with wooden canteens.

In May 1779, while on the march, Lincoln issued the following order, indicating that most men had canteens:
…On the March, Officers will be constantly with their Platoons, & take particular care that the men do not leave the Ranks, but in cases of absolute Necessity; and to prevent its being done for Water they will cause the men to fill their Canteens in the Morning before they leave the Grounds…[4]

Though the large majority of canteens issued to the Southern Department troops were wooden, a significant quantity of tin canteens was commissioned by the South Carolina government, as noted in these entries in the S.C. Treasury Records:

Beard Robert for [Tin] Kettles & Canteens del:d Jn:s Creighton Q.M.G. June 28 1779…£792._._ [5]

Pincell & Comp:y for Camp-Kettles, Canteens & Cups, & Cannisters for Field pieces, delivered in April & May 1779 …  £1108.10._ [6]

Wooden canteens, however, were also being manufactured. Though most extant canteens of Continental Army provenance are unpainted, many wooden canteens of the period were painted to aid in prevention of leaking, as per this entry in the S.C. Treasury Records:

October 13 1779
Righton McCully & John for 808 Wooden Canteens … @ £5 each . . . £4040._._
      for painting them . . . £24.12.6 [7]

The ratio of tin-to-wood canteens is probably best summed up by an inventory of the State Arsenal in October 1779, which lists:

38        Tin Canteens
160      Wooden Canteens [8]

Canteens were such an essential item in the field that they continued to be issue to the men manning the lines during the siege of Charleston:

[Undated; approximately April-May 1780]
Accoutrements &ca. delivered to the Artillery Regiment [21 Men]
18 Canteens [9]


No canteens have been discovered with provenance to S.C. troops; therefore, generics of canteen design in the Revolutionary War must be discussed. The documentary evidence does suggest, however, that, in the Southern Department, roughly 80% of the canteens were wooden, with the remaining 20% made of tin.

Wooden canteens would have been of hoop-and-stave construction (see Figures 1-4) [10].

Most extant original canteens have wooden hoops, though some have iron bands instead (NOT tin bands as featured on canteens from most modern sutlers). “Cheese-box” style canteens were primarily native to New England, and are inappropriate for S.C. troops. Civilian-style canteens such as rumlets and swigglers (both small barrel-type canteens) were common amongst militia, but were not usually issued to regulars.[11]

The wooden canteens would have been painted, as documented above. The most likely color would have been Spanish Brown, a brownish-red iron oxide linseed-oil paint that was easily the cheapest and most common utilitarian paint in colonial America[12], and is documented to have been used by the S.C. Regiments.[13] The canteens would most likely have been branded or otherwise marked as regimental property; a painted regimental distinction (“2d Regt.”, etc) is possible but not documented. Canteens issued after 1778 were mostly likely purchased by the Continental Army, and most probably would have been stamped as such; most extant late-war Continental Army canteens are stamped “U.STATES.” Leather straps were most commonly used on wood canteens, but hemp webbing or linen is also documented, particularly by 1779 due to the rampant inflation in S.C. by that time.

As for tin canteens, lacking any specific documentation, these should be of the “kidney” or “half-moon” style, commonly documented in use during the Revolutionary War.[14]

Based on the above documentation, the modern 2nd Regiment should require all members to acquire a wood canteen, featuring:

  1)      typical design/dimensions of extant period hoop-and-stave canteens
  2)      wood (preferably) or iron (NOT tin) hoops
  3)      stamped either “2D REGT” (prior to 1779) or “U.STATES” (by 1779)
  4)      either left unpainted, or painted in period Spanish Brown paint (or appropriate modern equivalent)
  5)      leather strap, hemp webbing or sewn linen strap

Recommendations for Purchase

Most canteens currently made by well-known sutlers are either inappropriately made, poorly made, or both. Members wishing for the utmost authenticity should procure wood canteens from either Eric Swanson ( or Norm Fuss ( Those wishing for a more economic alternative should purchase the wood-banded canteen from G. Gedney Godwin; these will need to be modified by cutting down the spout to 1/2" in height, replacing the canvas strap for a leather or hemp strap, and procuring a less conspicuous plug; see Zack for assistance in these adjustments.

Recruits should use kidney-style tin canteens from the loaner locker; this will adequately represent the low proportion of this item in the line.

Eric Swanson reproduction canteen

Further Examples of Canteens

Online Survey of American Wood-Staved Canteens with Provenance to the RevolutionaryWar

[1]Moultrie, Memoirs of the American Revolution so Far as It Related to the States of North and South Carolina, and Georgia, vol. 2, 213.
[2].  Cross, “Letters of Thomas Pinckney, 1775-1780,” 155.
[3]Lincoln et al., Benjamin Lincoln Papers in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Reel 2, Dec. 22, 1779.
[4]. Salley, “Order Book of John Faucheraud Grimke, August 1778 to May 1780,” vol. 15, no. 4 (October 1914), 166.
[5]. Auditor General Accounts, 118.
[6]. Ibid., 130.
[7]. Ibid., 141.
[8]. Lincoln et al., Benjamin Lincoln Papers in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Reel 4, #763, Nov. 20, 1779.
[9]. Grimke Family, Grimke Family Papers, 1761-1866, “Accoutrements &ca. delivered to the Artillery Regiment,” (?; probably April-May 1780).
[10]. American Wooden Canteen Carried by Asahl Parmele, C.T., in the Revolutionary War, Military and Historical Image Bank, RWq32d_wooden_canteen_copy.jpg.html, accessed Sept. 15, 2010; Canteen (Carried in the Revolutionary War by William Joyner,  N.C.), The North Carolina Museum of History, IDCFile=/moh/DETAILS.IDC,SPECIFIC=155301,DATABASE=38908034, accessed Sept. 15, 2010; Revolutionary War Wooden Drum Canteen, ca. 1775, Live Auctioneers, 6135802, accessed Sept. 15, 2010; Wooden Canteen dated 1776, Military and Historical Image Bank,, accessed Sept. 15, 2010.
[11]. Michael J. O'Donnell, U.S. Army and Militia Canteens 1775-1910 (Alexandria, VA: O'Donnell Publications, 2008), 18, 21, 30-32, 36.
[12]. Robert Foley, Paint in 18th-Century Newport (Newport, RI: Newport Restoration Foundation, 2009), (accessed September 15, 2010).
[13]Lincoln et al., Benjamin Lincoln Papers in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Reel 4, #763, Nov. 30, 1779.
[14]. Neumann, Kravic, and Woodbridge, Collector's Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, 59; O'Donnell, U.S. Army and Militia Canteens 1775-1910, 23, 28.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New! Online Event Registration for Members

As of today, the 2nd Regiment has launched a new online event registration form for our members! Beginning with the upcoming Camden event on November 3-4, members will register their attendance via the unit's website. Here's what you do:
  1. Go to the main website,
  2. Click on the "Members Only" dropdown menu near the top of the page; click on the "Event Registration" link in the dropdown menu.
  3. Enter the password (same as for the rest of the Members section)
  4. Another page comes up, with a button that says "Click here to register for CAMDEN, November 3-4"; click on the button.
  5. You will be taken to the main registration page. It will have info about the event, followed by information boxes for you to complete. Once you have filled them in, hit the "Submit" button, and you are done!

It's very simple to do, and will greatly help the Unit Commanders and the Distaff plan for numbers: proper amount of food to buy, loaner gear to bring, etc. And no more email chains and repeated phone calls to figure out who is coming to which event. This system is very similar to one used by the Boy Scouts for all their camping events, and it has really simplified their communications and planning. If they can do it, so can we!

Registrations will close on the Sunday prior to the event. For example, Camden registration will close at the end of the day on Sunday, October 28th. If you cannot register online, or if you need to change your plans after the close of registration, simply call me (Zack) and I will take care of it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Event at Colonial Dorchester

We have an exciting event coming up on September 8th at the Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site, near Summerville, SC. It's a very historic site, and features the best-preserved fortifications from the French-&-Indian War in the South. It was also an important post in the Revolution. Francis Marion, commanding two companies of the 2nd SC, spent part of the early war there; Thomas Sumter and the 6th SC were posted there later in the war. William Washington, Harry Lee, and other luminaries fought in and around Fort Dorchester as well.

For more info on the site, check out this entry in Steven Steele's great blog,

You can also visit the site's official page: Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site. The site is also very active in French-&-Indian war reenacting. Check out what those folks have been doing at their home unit's page, The Fort at Colonial Dorchester.

Hope to see as many members of the 2nd Regiment as possible at the fort on September 8th!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rockford AAR - A View from the Saddle

Saturday, June 9th: I think we had a total of 17 dragoons in our camp, including the 3dLD led by yours truly, the 4thLD led by Capt. Nick Serafino and the Belsunce Dragoons led by Bob Alegretto and Sergeant Bill Rose, plus, 4 troopers with the 17thLD riding British under Jess Philips.. The Belsance Dragoons decided to galvanize in the interest of balancing the forces and graciously rode British. The scenario was for the Brits to take the low field between 11:00 and 1:00. At 12:45 we were supposed to attack and drive them off. Only problem there was there were no Brits in the low field at 12:45. We waited and waited some more and then went up the first of three defiles into an upper field where gunplay wasn’t allowed but sabre play was. The event started off with the lamest sabre charge ever in the history of reenacting! All my fault of course but I was just trying to make something happen. Overly embarrassed, I retreated down to the main field behind an artillery piece. Then as Bert said, “Someone flipped the switch” and it was on. I saw a few Indians running through the trees on the hill side of the field, three deer popped up out of nowhere and went running, Ed’s horse decided this was a bad place to be and then the sh*t hit the fan! Brit Infantry came streaming down the hill through the brush and trees like someone had opened a flood gate. They wisely stayed in the tree line so charging them was out of the question. I was feeling a lot like Swiss cheese when Col. Healy rode up to me and asked me if I could hold the position….. “Uh no,” was the reply, or something to that effect , “Not without infantry or some guns.” Col Healy rode off and I thought I was going to get some serious help. Problem was Col. Healy was guarding three defiles. Most of his available infantry was already posted. The Americans were also supposed to lose the battle and no one can ever say Col. Healy can’t follow a script! We did get one, maybe two, I can’t really remember, companies of lights and another gun which I threw on what had quickly become our left flank. The Brits continued to press. I was just seeing the first opportunity for a charge on the enemy Infantry when Lt. Alegretto showed up with the King;’s Horse - all of it. We were smoked, stewed and screwed. More infantry came pouring in from both sides. There were a series of charges and counter charges by the dragoons on both sides but there really wasn’t a chance for the Americans to recover in the face of the British infantry. Well done Brits. Col. Healy made repeated requests for me to stop the onslaught but there just weren’t many openings. We did make one successful charge against a company of British Infantry and forced them to retire but what we really needed were flame throwers. Lacking that, we fell back and I felt a very, very small victory in not letting our left flank get rolled up. Truth be told, the 3dLD hadn’t seen that many casualties since Eutaw Springs! It turned into an infantry fight and we fell back to the barn. We did manage to make a successful charge on the British high command and lucked into routing another Brit infantry company but by then it was pretty much over and we lit out as our Infantry made a final stand that basically got them all killed - I’m not really sure about that… I may have been back in camp drinking a beverage by that point. The weight of command is simply unbearable at times. Saturday night: I’ll just say that our regimental attorney has advised that I don’t say anything…. BUT… the Vienna Boys Choir… they don’t need to worry about a 3dLD album being released anytime soon. Sunday, June 10th: After getting whipped on Saturday we gallant 3dLDs decided to switch sides. The 3dLDs galvanized and fell in with the 17th LD. I know, I know, some ancestors are spinning in their graves. The battle started out with us trying to hold that same first defile against the American horse. There was a series of charges and we had some infantry support which was a great help. We also had a guidon bearer for the first time. It’s wicked cool to be able to fall back on your own colors, well done Dale! After a series of charges back and forth we saw American infantry coming through the trees on our left and fell back to the lower field. We lost Col. Vogley by design. With the 17th’s help we were able to make a charge against the 4th Legionary corps infantry which ended in a sort of draw but stopped their advance and then the infantry came up in numbers and we fell back to support the second defile leading to the barn. The American foot and horse was there in force and it seemed like we made ten charges in as many minutes. The King’s artillery and infantry played a large part in these fights and the American cavalry was eventually forced to retire. Then the battle shifted again and we fell back to the far side of the barn to support our native provincials. These “injuns” could really move and they set a trap for some American rifleman and we were able to make a successful charge. After that the battle was about over, our horses were spent, the size of the field had shrunk, and the weight of command was weighing heavily again. With my trooper’s welfare foremost in my mind, I grew thirsty and ordered a retreat for beverages rather than watch the demise of the Crown forces. I’d like to thank everyone for a great weekend, the scenario planners and site hosts did a great job and I enjoyed riding for both Bob Healy and Mike Grenier. We 3dLDs had a great time and would come back anytime. To everyone in the saddle, well done boys, it was a privilege to lead and a pleasure to ride with every single one of you. Your Ready Servant, Cpt. Daniel Murphy 3dLD / Brvt Major of Cavalry Rockford campaign

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guilford Court House AAR

The 2012 edition of the Guilford event was held last weekend in Greensboro Country Park in Greensboro, NC. As with most Guilford events, the weather was dicey. Friday and Saturday evening rains turned the ground into mud, but most of us stayed dry, and the temperature was thankfully mild.

We had a big turnout: approximately 12 infantry (including 3 recruits), 7 horsemen, several musicians and a bunch of distaff. We set up just about all the canvas we own to house the horde. A BIG thank you to the Pucketts and Hoskins for hauling all our regimental equipment. What a pain that is, especially when you get back home only to have to set up 30 wet tents in your backyard. Without your efforts, there ain't no camp, no fun, and no 2nd Regiment.

The foot soldiers spent a good deal of time training Saturday and Sunday. Having several recruits or short-time members present, most of the time was spent on the basics: position of a soldier, prime-&-load sequence, marching, etc. Based on our performance in the battles, much of the training stuck. We managed to crack several tight volleys, especially on Sunday. Hopefully we'll have a print and video version of the drill on our website soon, so folks can work on it at home. And we'll need it: we have a drill competition coming up next January at Cowpens. Keep drilling lads! It was also really cool to see the progress most of the soldiers are making on their kit. Little by little, piece by piece, our impression is becoming more uniform and more authentic. Thanks for all the hard work and money you've been investing on our appearance. Now to get the coats...

The 3rd Light Dragoons had a good turnout as well (temperamental mounts notwithstanding). And they did their usual great work on the field, portraying both sides in the New Market meeting engagement scenario at the start of the battles. That scenario is not possible without our mounted brothers-in-arms, and we are very fortunate to have these fine fellows under the umbrella of our unit. Well done!

And of course the 2nd SC musician had a good turnout. Once again, Ron, Anne, Sheri and Hunter were a big chunk of total American Musick Corps. And we have more on the way, with several young musicians working their way toward the field in the next year or so.

Finally, as usual, the distaff did an outstanding job of feeding the masses. Outstanding Scotch eggs, perlo, monkey bread, pineapple upside-down cake and more. And all done over a campfire in the rain! A big thank you to Chris, Sarah, Veronica, Anna and everyone who helped in the kitchen. And a shoutout to Scottie for displaying his woodworking prowess and knowledge to the public; kids really enjoy your tools, instruction and stories.

Next up is the optional "Armies Through Time" event at Camden next month, then the big regimental event at Middleton Plantation in Charleston on Memorial Day weekend. Stay tuned for more info on these events!