South Carolina Line

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South Carolina Line

SOUTH CAROLINA LINE. South Carolina's Continental army contingent spent a large part of its existence being torn between the demands of the state government and the directions of the Continental Congress—more so than any other state's Line. It began on 4 June 1775, when the Provincial Congress reacted to the news of Lexington by creating three regiments: two of infantry and a third of "horse rangers." The rangers were recruited in the frontier zone, and had a minor mutiny because of the officers' personal disputes and some latent Loyalist tendencies. The Provincial Congress added a fourth regiment, of artillery men, on 12 November 1775 to defend Charleston. Meanwhile, on 4 November, the Continental Congress had authorized the recruitment of three infantry regiments as South Carolina's quota. This caused the Provincial Congress to pass a comprehensive defense bill on 22 February 1776 which retained the existing regiments and added a new, fifth regiment as riflemen. It rejected the Continental Congresss's offer with thanks. Six days later it added a second rifle regiment. On 25 March 1776 the Continental Congress increased its authorization for South Carolina's military units to five regiments, but not until 18 June did it finally resolve the status issue to the state's satisfaction. The compromise accepted all six regiments as raised by the state (over time the tables of organization were brought into conformity), but promised that no more than a third of the men could be sent outside the boundaries of South Carolina without a specific authorizing resolution. This news did not reach Charleston until after the first British attack on the city so, in the eyes of the state, the defense of Fort Moultrie was carried out by state troops who had only temporarily accepted the orders of the Continental army generals. Recruiting lagged due to lingering friction between the two governments, and on 11 February 1780 the Line was reduced to three infantry regiments plus the artillery regiment. All were captured at Charleston on 12 May of that year, and were formally disbanded on 1 January 1781, except for the First South Carolina Regiment. It remained a paper organization until the winter of 1782–1783, when three companies were formed from its members. These were furloughed when the British evacuated Charleston, and were finally disbanded on 15 November 1783. The South Carolina Line was unique in having its artillery regiment legally acknowledged as part of the line.

SEE ALSO South Carolina, Mobilization in.


De Saussure, Wilmot Gibbes, comp. The Names, as Far as Can Be Ascertained, of the Officers Who Served in the South Carolina Regiments on the Continental Establishment; of the Officers Who Served in the Militia; of what Troops were upon the Continental Establishment; and of what Militia Organizations Served; Together with some Miscellaneous Information. Columbia: South Carolina General Assembly, 1886.

Gibbes, R. W., ed. Documentary History of the American Revolution. 3 vols. Columbia and New York: Banner Steam-Power Press and D. Appleton & Co., 1853–1857.

McCrady, Edward. The History of South Carolina in the Revolution. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan Co., 1902.

Moss, Bobby Gilmer, comp. Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983.

Moultrie, William. Memoirs of the American Revolution, So Far as It Related to the States of North and South Carolina, and Georgia, Compiled from the Most Authentic Materials, the Author's Personal Knowledge of the Various Events, and Including an Epistolary Correspondence on Public Affairs, with Civil and Military Officers of that Period. 2 vols. New York: David Longworth, 1802.

Salley, A. S., comp. Records of the Regiments of the South Carolina Line in the Revolutionary War. Edited by Alida Moe. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1977.

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South Carolina Line

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South Carolina Line