WBTS Sesquicentennial–Georgetown Sends its Rifle Guards
 
From: bernhard1848@att.net
 
South Carolinians in 1861 once again prepared to fight for their political independence. In a few years they would face a brutal invader who equaled Tarleton’s criminality and phrase: “Nothing will serve these people but fire and sword.” Like Tarleton, Sherman would apply a stern remedy for those seeking self-government “prescribed according to ancient Scripture” to level all and sow the earth with salt.”
 
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
www.cfhi.net
 
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The War Between the States Sesquicentennial:
 
Georgetown Sends its Rifle Guards

 
“Why did South Carolina secede? J. Motte Alston gave as good a reason as any. South Carolinians had ever been “a self-reliant people.” With Indians to the west, Spaniards to the South, and pirates to the east, they had been taught to look for no outside help. This spirit had animated them during the Revolution and since then had been strengthened by South Carolina’s addiction to the history of her own past.
 
To South Carolinians the Revolution had been a republican victory for freedom, not a democratic victory for equality. Francis Kinloch had written Judge Grimke’ in 1808: “There should be no commemoration of our independence in which the names of Marion and Sumpter – of Green — & of Governor Rutledge should not be conscious – they kept alive the flame, they watched over the embers of resistance when the holiday soldiers, the militia of the Sea Coast, who had enjoyed the frolick at first, were either dispersed or had submitted.
 
The Santee families

[listed many] distinguished ancestors. A Middleton, a Heyward, and a Lynch had been signers of the Declaration of Independence. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Thomas Pinckney, John and Edward Rutledge, Henry and Arthur Middleton, Ralph Izlar, John Julius Pringle, Rawlins, Lowndes, Gabriel Manigault, and Dr. William Read were all notable men. The military glory and statesmanlike achievement of their ancestors helped to set these planters apart; they wore their names as a badge of distinction and of separation from ordinary mortals. Having won their freedom once from a foreign foe, they might do it again.
 
The Georgetown Rifle Guards, the first company to offer its services…trained by Captain [Richard Green] White, a graduate of the Citadel, offered its services on January 2, was accepted and assigned to garrison duty on South Island on February 4. The main job in the early days was to build defenses along the coast and secure cannon, rifles, shot, powder and ammunition. Charles Alston, Jr., aide-de-camp to Governor Francis W. Pickens, on December 30, 1860, urged his planters to begin work with these words:
 
“The Governor of South Carolina asks your aid in the erection of batteries to protect and defend the entrance to Winyah Bay and Santee River – Millions of Property and what is far more precious than Wealth…Life and Honor will be at stake if we suffer from marauding Bands to enter our ports…”
 
The danger was from descents upon the coast; the appeal was to emulate their forefathers. It was natural, therefore, to name the place of assemblage Camp [Francis] Marion.” 
 
(The History of Georgetown County, South Carolina, George C. Rogers, Jr., USC Press, 1970, pp. 383-388)