The Palmetto Sharpshooters
(Sometimes called Palmetto Regiment, Jenkins Palmetto Sharpshooters, Jenkins Sharpshooters,
Jenkins Infantry Regiment, 1st Palmetto Sharpshooters or South Carolina Sharpshooters)
Joseph H. Crute, Jr. had this to said
this on Confederate troops in his book 'Units of the Confederate Army.'
'The men from South
Carolina took on the inspirations of their Scotch, German, and French Huguenot
forefathers. With enthusiasm they would storm any cannon and raise the Rebel
Yell....The men who served in these units formed a remarkable army.
assembled, they were farmers, lawyers, teachers, merchants, laborers, bankers,
clergymen, planters, doctors, clerks, carpenters, and politicians. But they
shared a common faith in the Southern cause. Usually self equipped and unpaid,
they did not want to imitate regular soldiers. These men were independent,
reckless, and self confident. And despite the poor discipline, scant clothing,
meager rations, and inadequate ordnance, they put up a magnificent fight.'
If you have any information, or corrections, please contact me. Information on the Palmetto's as a unit is missing so a truly detailed history of their time in the Confederate army is at this time impossible to write. With the advent of the internet the modern Palmetto's are being put in touch with many people who have information that is vital to their history.
I have had at times, through necessity, had to speak of the Brigade, Division, Corps or Wing. This is because of sufficient information on the Palmetto's exact position within these organizations is unknown. With this in mind much of the history of the Palmetto Sharpshooters is a broad outline of the history of the other units within the Brigade until their surrender at Appomattox, 9 April 1865. At the moment the only difference that I have found are that at the battles of Fair Oaks those present with Jenkins were the 5th S.C. and the Palmetto's and at Gains Mill those present with Jenkins were the 6th S.C. and the Palmetto's. You will also find that at these times the casualties are mentioned the same way, if at all.
Throughout the following pages rank has not been used, unless necessary, this is due to many promotions over the years; also the officers full name is only used once per page. The casualty figures includes killed, wounded, and missing; the names in brackets are the alternative names of the battles.
Abraham Lincoln is elected to the Presidency on 6 November 1860. The Southern States not liking what they envisioned started to secede from the Union. South Carolina passes an ordnance of Secession on the 20 December 1860. Between 9 January-1 February 1862 the remaining 6 Lower South States secede.
On the 8 February a constitution similar to that of the United States is adopted. The next day Jefferson Davis is elected, and on the 18 February, sworn in as it's first President. With their secession the Southern States militias occupied Federal arsenals and forts within it's borders. Four key points are still held by the Federals, the most notable of these being Fort Sumner.
Lincoln assumes the office of President on the 4 March 1861. Two days after this Davis calls for 100,00 volunteers for one years military service. By mid-April the Confederacy has an army 35,000 strong.
Due to public pressure at 0430 on the 12 April 1861 South Carolinian troops send a signal shot arcing into the predawn sky. Confederate guns now open fire on Fort Sumter so starting the war. Due to this on the 15 April Lincoln calls for 75,000 volunteers for three months service to suppress the rebellion. As a consequents of this between 17 April-6 May four Upper South states secede. Now 11 of the 15 slave states had left the Union.
Micah Jenkins was in command of what had been Richard H. Anderson's Brigade at the battle of Williamsburg, 5 May 1862, this became Jenkins Brigade. During the Brigades existence it comprised the units of::
1st South Carolina Infantry Regiment (Habgoods)
2nd South Carolina Infantry Rifles
5th South Carolina Infantry Regiment
6th South Carolina Infantry Regiment
For a time the Brigade also had the following units within its ranks:
4th South Carolina Infantry Battalion
Hampton's Legion (Dismounted)
The 4th SC Battalion had originally been the 4th S.C. Regiment but with the loss of many companies from the regiment to make the Palmetto Sharpshooters they were reorganized as a battalion, with only four companies!
The Hampton Legion joined the Brigade on the 6 November 1862. Later they joined John Bell Hood's Brigade. After Sharpsburg (Antietam) they amalgamated with the 4th S.C. Battalion. Later in the war both went to South Carolina to be mounted becoming the 7th S.C. Cavalry in Gary's S.C. Cavalry Brigade. Gary's Brigade give support many times to the Brigade in 1864.
It is important to be aware when researching any unit within this Brigade that there are many S.C. units with the same basic unit designation, if you follow the link you will find those that are similar to the units in Jenkin's Brigade.
When the spring of 1862 came around so did the end of the enlistments of many of the army. With this many went home to their families, although the majority did re-enlist. Quite a few of those who re-enlist joined different regiments. On 16 April Congress extends their original service by another three years, or to the end of the war.
On 21 April Congress now authorizes the raising of sharpshooter regiments, to be attached to each infantry brigade. Further on the 22 May it is ordered that those within these units should be from the same state.
In reality only a few sharpshooter units are raised. And these due to the permanent shortage of troops within the armies would, in the main, not be doing the tasks for which they were to have been employed but would be line infantry. One of these newly raised units would be the Palmetto's.
At Camp Taylor, near Orange Court House, Virginia the companies that are to comprise the Palmetto's are mustering into the unit, which was being organized by Colonel Micah Jenkins. In the main these are raised from the 4th, 5th and 9th South Carolina Infantry Regiments (William J. Rivers, 'Account of the Raising of the Troops in South Carolina for State and Confederate Service') (Joseph H. Crute Jnr in his 'Units of the Confederate Army' states it was the 2nd, 5th, and 9th Infantry Regiments).
Company A, Captain J.W. Goss 5th S.C. Johnson Rifles
Company B, Captain F.W. Kilpatrick 4th S.C. Calhoun Mountaineers
Company C, Captain W.W. Humphreys 4th S.C. Palmetto Riflemen
Company D, Captain A.F. Foster 5th S.C. Morgan Light Infantry
Company E, Captain A. Colclough 9th S.C. Darlington Sentinels
Company F, Captain J.E. Lee 9th S.C. Pickens Sentinels
Company G, Captain J.N. Withers 5th S.C. Jasper Light Infantry
Company H, Captain J. W. Martin 9th S.C. Cowpens Guards
Captain J.J. Brown (Crute)
Company I, Captain F.L. Garvin 4th S.C. Pickens Guards
Company K, Captain J.H. Evans 5th S.C. Spartan Rifles
Company L, Captain J.W. Daniels 4th S.C. Confederate Guards
Company M, Captain F. G. Latham 5th S.C. Pacolet Guards
Captain J.Q. Carpenter (Crute)
The unit is formed with approximately 1,100 men. Drafts during their period of service numbered approximately 550 men. At their surrender at Appomattox there are still 385 men under arms, of which 29 were officers. The largest of any surrendering regiment.
The known encampments, skirmishes, and battles follow: