Outdoor 2 ply nylon flag. Durable citadel flag.
AKA: Big Red Flag, Citadel Guidon. “Citadel Cadets’ Spirit Flag.”
On January 9, 1861, cadets from the South Carolina Military Academy, known today as The Citadel, arguably fired the first shots of the Civil War when they prevented a Union merchant ship, the Star of the West, from resupplying Union troops at Fort Sumter. Though it was April before Ft. Sumter was captured, this January incident was the first time shots were exchanged between North and South. South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Federal garrison at Fort Sumter. President James Buchanan refused. Inside the fort, Major Robert Anderson and 80 soldiers needed supplies. A supply ship was dispatched, the Star of the West. Two cannon shots roared from a South Carolina battery on Morris Island. They came from gunner George E. Haynsworth, a cadet at The Citadel in Charleston. The shots represented the opening salvo of the war. More were fired, and the ship suffered a hit. Above their battery on Morris Island, the cadets flew a red banner with a white palmetto and crescent. The Confederate South Carolina Big Red Flag was used during the Civil War. It had a red background, a palm tree, and a crescent.
“Big Red” completed its 150-year and 1,203-mile journey home to The Citadel on Friday, March 19, 2010 and has become a symbol of pride and spirit for The Citadel.
A photo of a civil war era “Big Red” captured at the battle of Ft Blakely show the crescent moon facing inward like many SC flags prior to Jan 28 1861 where the national flag with the “upward” facing crescent was adopted as the national flag.
Discovered in storage in an Iowa museum, the Civil War-era red palmetto flag is through extensive historical research believed to be a design of Charleston flag maker Hugh Vincent and the actual flag that flew over Morris Island when Citadel cadets fired on the supply ship The Star of the West in 1861. Private Willard Baker, a Civil War veteran from Iowa, donated the flag to his state in 1919 as he wanted it to be used to educate people about history. After its discovery, the flag was in 2010 graciously provided on loan from the State Historical Society of Iowa through the efforts of Citadel alumni. Big Red “has been embedded into the tradition and history of the Corps of Cadets ever since, with every aspect a part of each cadet’s life forever,” according to South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and the hope is that it will remain at The Citadel in perpetuity.