Thanks for the post, I have those sources on file already. I was hoping for something other then the Harper’s Weekly which was heavy Union in their reports. The eyewitness they quote are mostly Union sailors & soldiers onboard the “Star of the West”. The illustration was made after the fact based on those eyewitness and one of the drawings was made by one of Major Anderson’s men. I question the accuracy of the Harper’s Weekly on this subject since I have yet to find a Charleston paper on the subject that mention’s a flag, palmetto or other wise when the battery’s open fire on the Star of the West. (Outside of the South Carolina State research on the incident)
In the illustration of the view from the battery (drawing by one of Major Anderson’s men) the Star of the West flies two ensign’s both smaller then was a custom at the time for that size of a ship. Another illustration shows the Star of the West flying a Jack & ensign again the ensign by comparison to the ship is too small (this one also drawn by one of Major Anderson’s men). A third illustration in the same issue (I think) of Harper’s Weekly shows a bird’s-eye view of Charleston, note the date and the flag on the Custom’s House in the background, in that time period the Custom’s House was flying a red flag with a white star in the center and crescent moon in the upper hoist. The illustration shows a flag with a palmetto in the center. The red flag with the center star later was flown by the C.S.S. Dixie.
As to the red palmetto, the Charleston Mercury and other Charleston paper have articles on, without going back and counting them, about a dozen or more red palmetto flags each with deferent design’s but mostly in one form or anther a palmetto tree was placed in the center or near center of the flag. There was red palmetto’s, blue palmetto’s a few yellow and some white with either stars, crescent moon or some sort of slogan.
As to the official War Department report on the reporting of seeing a red palmetto flag, I have stronge doubts that it was the one illustrated in the Harper’s Weekly. The solid field flag with a palmetto tree in the center was a fimilar flag to northern ports since it was flown for several years before the war by the Palmetto Line and their ships visited most all of the northern ports before the war. A New York paper reported in 1856 of a palmetto ship visiting the port of New York, the ship was flying a palmetto flag (meaning South Carolina flag) and it’s Captain had a palmetto on his sleeve and one painted on the ships cabin. It doesn’t say if this was a palmetto line ship but it was a time of growing tension and rumbles of secession was thick. ( the official flag of South Carolina was adopted in 1861)
I have to go back and check dates a place but the Harper’s Weekly reported on the capture of a red palmetto flag that turned out to be a flag with a red canton with two white palmetto trees and the field of blue and white stripes. I’m running drawing programs on the other computer and can’t get to that file right now.
I know of a 2nd National that was captured at the Citadel in Charleston in 1865, I would think that a flag similar to the one in Ohio if it had Citadel ties one would have been captured also, just a thought.
Until other data is discovered I’m sticking with the theory, supported by the State of South Carolina, on the Sovereignty Flag.