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The Palmetto Regiment

South Carolina's
Palmetto Regiment Monument
at the State House

South Carolina's monument to its soldiers of the famed Palmetto Regiment first stood in front of the Old State House which was burned during America's Civil War by federal troops in 1865. Some of the lower and larger branches of the tree were destroyed by Sherman's soldiers and the compartment at the base was torn open. The monument itself, however, was spared.

The engraved inscription on the east panel reads:
"South Carolina to her sons of the Palmetto Regiment who fell in the War With Mexico Anno Domini 1847."

The three other panels bear approximately 450 names of men of the regiment.

Palmetto Medal

On 8 December 1848 the South Carolina House of Representatives authorized the presentation of medals to the officers and men of the Palmetto Regiment. The Senate concurred five days later. Production and distribution occurred in 1850. It was issued to commissioned officers in gold and to non-commissioned officers and privates in silver. The medal measures 48mm in diameter.

The 16 May 1850 Charleston Courier describes it as follows:

". . .On one side is represented the landing of the American troops at Vera Cruz, the gallant leader of the Palmetto Regiment, Col. Butler, having sprung from the boat that bore him to the shore, and with drawn sword, is calling on his command to follow -- a figure, bearing the beloved Palmetto Flag, is on the prow of the boat, about to leap on shore, and plant the Standard, around which all appear eager to rally. To the right, are serried columns of troops on the line of march toward the Castle at San Juan; while in the distance is seen the American fleet, covering the landing of more troops, which are approaching the shore in boats. Around the edge of this side of the Medal, in raised letters, are the names 'Vera Cruz', 'Contreras', 'Churubusco', Chapultepec', 'Garita de Belen'.

On the reverse, is delineated a beautiful Palmetto Tree, resting against the trunk of which recline two shields, bearing the dates '1846' and '1847'. Hovering over the tree is a spread eagle, from whose beak floats the motto of the Union, 'E Pluribus Unum', immediately above which, in a circle, is inscribed the names of 'BUTLER', 'DICKINSON', and 'GLADDEN'.

On the outer rim are the State mottos, 'Animus Opibusque Parati' (meaning: "prepared in spirit and resources") -- and 'Dum Spiro Spero' ("while I breathe I hope").  Eugene Cotter has written with an explanation of the context:

undique conuenere animis opibusque parati
in quascumque uelim pelago deducere terras
.


“They have come from all sides, with heart and fortune
ready for whatever lands I may want to lead them to.”

(Aeneas is speaking of those flocking to him
as he prepares to leave the burning Troy.)

Also the motto of the USS Charleston (AKA-113), but (not
uncommon) in an erroneous form, animus opibusque parati.

In the centre of the Medal in curved lines, are the words 'To the Palmetto Regiment', and at the foot and lower edge is a blank scroll, for inserting the name of the recipient."

 

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