Cadets mark Civil War's 150th with Star of the West reenactment
Cadets from The Citadel will reenact the Jan. 9, 1861 firing on the Union supply ship the Star of the West in commemoration of its 150th anniversary.
With support from the City of Charleston, the reenactment will take place on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, on Morris Island. Between 15 and 20 faculty and cadet re-enactors from The Citadel Military Living History Society will participate. In addition, The Citadel Alumni Association will host a Charleston harbor cruise that will pass by Morris Island during the reenactment.
“Cadets and faculty of The Citadel are returning to Morris Island to honor those who came before us. We will reenact as best we can one of the pivotal moments in the history of The Citadel,” said William Sharbrough, the faculty advisor to The Citadel Military Living History Society.
In 1861, Citadel cadets manning an artillery battery on Morris Island fired what many contend were the first hostile shots of the Civil War. That action repulsed the federal steamship Star of the West, which was carrying supplies and 200 federal troops that were dispatched by President Buchanan to reinforce Union Forces garrisoned at Fort Sumter. During the Star of the West incident, the cadets flew as their banner a unique flag, observed by eye witnesses on the federal steamer, and described in a dispatch by a Union officer at Fort Sumter as "a flag with a red field, and a white palmetto tree." The Big Red flag is now the official spirit flag of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets and what is believed to be the flag that flew over Morris Island in 1861 is on display at The Citadel’s Holliday Alumni Center.