The Historic 27th South Carolina
The Twenty-Seventh was especially claimed by Charlestonians as their regiment, and in consequence of its local popularity many of the best young men of the city were in its ranks. The average intelligence and social position of the rank and file were thus greater than most regiments. It was not equal to some others in its discipline, but under Gaillard, or any of its officers who possessed its confidence, it would go anywhere and do anything. . . . There was too much intelligence and too little rigidity of discipline in its ranks for men without force of character to command it successfully. This regiment . . . had served only in South Carolina but it had been peculiarly fortunate in its service. It had won honor in the Fort at Secessionville in '62; had been Taliferro's mainstay at Wagner on the 18th. July; a portion of it had been Elliot's garrison at Sumter when the boat attack was repulsed; and two of its sharpshooter regiments had obtained honorable mention at Pocotaligo.
Gen. Johnson Hagood
Memoirs of the War of Secession
Page 208, describing the Unit's service prior to 1864
Battles of the Historic 27th. S.C.
Prior to October 30, 1863, parts of the 27th. were organized as the Charleston Battalion or the 1st. S.C. Infantry Battalion (later Companies A,B,C,D,H,I - 27 S.C.) and the 1st. Battalion S.C. Sharpshooters (later Companies E,F,G - 27 S.C.)
The 27th in and around Charleston, SC.
· April 1861 - Bombardment of Ft. Sumter begins
· June 1862 - Secessionville. The companies of what would later become parts of the 27th, threw back the First Federal assault on Charleston fighting, among others, the 47th. New York. Read the story of James Campbell, a member of the Charleston Battalion, who fought his own brother, Alex, a member of the 79th. N.Y. at this battle.
· July 1863 - Ft. Wagner, Morris Island. In the battle made famous in the Motion Picture Glory the 27th. SC threw back the Federal Forces from the ramparts of Battery Wagner, including the famous 54th. Massachusetts. Today the two reenactment groups work together on projects in Charleston.
The Charleston Battalion distinguished themselves not only by their gallantry, but also by their discipline and cool performance of duty, and obedience to orders under the excitement and confusion always incident to a night attack.
· The 27th. again fought the 54th. at Pocataligo.
· The Boat Attack Against Ft. Sumter, September 1863 also saw involvement by the 27th
· Fall 1863 - Garrison and defense of Ft. Sumter under fire. Members of the sharpshooter companies, firing from rifle slits and tunnels through the rubble of Ft. Sumter, tried to suppress Federal heavy Artillery fire on Morris Island. Hits at over 1000 yards using the unit's Whitworth Rifles were recorded.
On November 28, 1863 Private James Tupper, Jr. 27th. South Carolina, seeing the flag on Sumter shot down, walked the whole length of the gorge wall on the parapet and endeavored to raise it. Finding the staff too short, he procured an additional spar and, with the assistance of some comrades, succeeded in splicing and planting the staff under a very heavy fire, one shot of which cut the flag from their hands." A gallant deed, but what else could they do with the example of the heroic Sergeant Jasper who did the same deed within sight of Ft. Sumter during the war of the Revolution.
Confederate Veteran, Vol 27, Page 145
Fighting with Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia
· Drurys Bluff
· Bermuda Hundred
· Cold Harbor
· Petersburg Visit the National Park Service Petersburg Battlefield Web Site.
· Weldon Road
On the 21st of August 1864 during the siege of Petersburg, Gen. A.P. Hill ordered forces including Hagood's Brigade to attempt to recapture a portion of the Weldon railroad linking Petersburg and Richmond with points South, including Wilmington and Charleston. This was the same Atlantic Coast Railroad the 27th. had helped defend in actions South of Charleston. The soldiers moved out at 3:00 a.m., crossing streams and swamps in the rainy predawn. The fog prevented an accurate reconnaissance of the Federal lines. The commanding Generals did not believe the Federal Army was entrenched. The brigade charged across a 300-yard clearing and drove the Federal army out of an entrenched skirmish line, which the Generals had believed was the primary Federal line of battle.
The Brigade struck the primary line of Federal entrenchment, heavily fortified with a five-foot parapet with a ten-foot wide ditch, pierced with artillery positions. The five other Confederate Brigades ordered into the charge could not be seen. Hagood's Brigade hit the Federal entrenchment to the South and behind a projecting artillery salient, which allowed the Federal artillery and infantry to infiltrate the Confederate line. 2500 Federal Infantry and 12-15 artillery pieces raked the 740 men of Hagood's Brigade.
The Brigade hit the Federal line at an angle, breaking into two divisions. A federal counterattack charged out of an opening in the Federal line, surrounding and obtaining the surrender of portions of the Brigade. Federal Capt. Dailey charged in and seized the regimental battle flag, demanding the surrender of the Brigade. General Hagood ran across the exposed field in the face of dense federal musketry and artillery fire to prevent surrender. Hagood demanded Capt. Dailey return the colors and return to his lines. Daily shouted that the Brigade was surrounded and its situation hopeless. A brief argument about the surrender ensued in the midst of the slaughter. Exasperated, Hagood demanded a yes or no answer to his demand for return of the colors, pistol in hand. Daily answered an emphatic no. General Hagood shot him through the body, mounted Capt. Daily's horse and led his men through a break out fight to the rear. Pvt. J. D. Stoney (27th. S.C.) seized the flag from Capt. Daily's hands as he fell from the horse carried the recovered flag, now torn from its staff, to the rear.
The Brigade rallied to their General and fiercely charged to the rear, with Federal fire pouring in on them from the four points of the compass. The surrounding Federal line to their rear collapsed and they charged through it. A dense and deadly Federal fire from the main battle line, artillery positions and both flanks pursued them all the way to the cover of the swamp.
This was the last attempt to recapture the Weldon railroad. The Brigade carried 740 men into the fight and returned with only 273. After the war, Gen. Hagood wrote in support of Capt. Dailey's (who survived his wound) pension application. Weldon road was the bloodiest day in the history of the 27th. S.C. and a monument at Petersburg marks the spot.
General Beauregard (picture left) commented in reports, "Such an act of gallantry, as herein described, and of devotion to one's flag reflects the highest credit on the Officer who performs it." Hagood was recommended for promotion to Major General. General Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis endorsed the report with favor. Pvt. Stoney was promoted to 2nd. Lieutenant. The war ended before Hagood received his promotion. Memoirs of the War of Secession, page 292 The Battle and Brigade are remembered in a poem, The Charge of Hagood's Brigade.
Fighting Sherman in North Carolina, Town Creek, Wilmington, and Bentonville.
About the Flag of the 27th South Carolina
The 27th. South Carolina and its predecessor Battalions carried several flags during their service to the State of South Carolina and the Confederacy, including the Department of South Carolina and Georgia version of the Confederate Battle Flag, however this flag, made in Charleston is distinctive. The design for the flag was apparently suggested by the editor of a Charleston Newspaper when the first national flag of the Confederacy (Stars and Bars) was confused with the flag of the United States. It is believed several such flags were made for and used by Charleston area units.
The "C.L.I." on the center shield stands for Charleston Light Infantry, one of the designations applied to the Charleston Battalion, the six hundred members of which were merged with the 1st. S.C. Sharpshooter Battalion into the 27th. SC on October 30th. 1863. The Battle Honor applied above the letters is Secessionville, referring to the June 16, 1863 Battle on James Island where the Charleston Battalion defended the Confederate Right at Battery Lamar and the City of Charleston against an assault by two federal divisions. It is believed to have been flown during the Morris Island Campaign and during the Unit's Virginia and North Carolina Confederate Service.
The Original flag is about two by three feet in size and fringed in gold. It is in the keeping of the museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA. It is attached to the staff by a red sleeve. The reenactment unit's replica is flown in the camp of the regiment, carried on the march and into reenactment battles as a reminder of the sacrifice and heroism of the units that carried it long ago.
The regiment also owns and carries the more familiar South Carolina version of the Square Confederate Battle Flag used by Hagood's Brigade and is preparing a replica of the tattered Stainless Banner (C.S.A. 2nd. National) the regiment raised over Ft. Sumter during the garrison under bombardment there. The Confederate Battle Flag of Hagood's Brigade, under which the unit fought in Virginia and North Carolina is kept at the Confederate Relic Room in Columbia, SC.