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The Citadel (U.S.)

Military College

Last modified: 2008-06-07 by rick wyatt
Keywords: south carolina | citadel | college | the citadel | big red |
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[Flag of The Citadel, Military College] image by Peter Krembs, 27 March 03

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Civil War Use of "Big Red"

"Big Red" was not the flag raised over Fort Sumter. It was flown over a seacoast battery in early 1861 manned by Cadets from the South Carolina Military Institute, better known as The Citadel.
Devereaux Cannon, 9 June 1999

In early 1861, after South Carolina seceded from the United States, her military forces took posession of all military installations around Charleston harbor, except Fort Sumter. One of the smaller installations, or batteries, was manned by cadets from the South Carolina Military Institute (known as "The Citadel"). The flag flown over the battery manned by the Citadel cadets was a red field with the palmetto and crescent. These cadets had the distinction of having actually fired the first shots in what was to become the war. They fired warning shots at the steamer "Star of the West", which had been despatched by U.S. President Buchanan to supply the garrison at Fort Sumter. The "Star of the West" turned back, avoided the opening of hostilities at that point in time.

The red flag with the palmetto and crescent has since been considered an unofficial flag of The Citadel. It is affectionately known as "Big Red", and the stickers seen are probably on vehicles belonging to Citadel cadets or their families.

Devereaux Cannon, 5 February 2000