State of South Carolina
Military Records Research

American military history in South Carolina started out with the establishment of the colonial militia early in the 17th century typically to fight to prevent attacks from native inhabitants. The uses and value of South Carolina military records in genealogical research for ancestors that were veterans are apparent but South Carolina military records can also be crucial to researchers whose primary ancestors weren't soldiers in any war. Mainly because of the volume of genealogical information and facts included in quite a few South Carolina military pension records they ought to not be ignored during the research process.

South Carolina in the Colonial Wars

Colonial War Website Links - In 1670, "Old Town" was attacked by the Spanish. Throughout colonial times, there were repeated battles between settlers and Indian tribes, as well as the French and the Spanish. This period of various colonial wars, unfortunately, did not yield a lot of records for researchers.

  • The Yamasee War in South Carolina (hubpages.com)
  • Murtie June Clark, Colonial Soldiers of the South, 1732– 1774 (1986; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, Co., 1999). Mention of South Carolina soldiers may be found in works dealing with specific wars of a national or regional scope.
  • Leonardo Andrea compiled a list of soldiers who served in various military capacities between 1715 and 1772 in South Carolina Colonial Soldiers and Patriots (Columbia, S.C., 1952).
  • South Carolina Colonial War Books (amazon.com)

South Carolina in the Revolutionary Wars

See the Revolutionary War Site Page

South Carolina in the War of 1812

War of 1812 pension files, indexes, and service records are on file at the National Archives. Records specific to South Carolina during the War of 1812, including unit and soldier lists, can be found in Columbia, at the South Caroliniana Library. A South Carolina Pay List index is located at the Department of History & Archives.

War of 1812 Website Links

South Carolina in the Mexican War

During the Mexican War, The Valley of Mexico Campaign included the Palmetto Regiment. Rosters, maps, and information concerning the formation of that regiment can be found in Jack Allen Meyer, South Carolina in the Mexican War: A History of the Palmetto Regiment of Volunteers, 1846-1917, along with information about the medals and swords that returning soldiers received.

South Carolina in the Civil War

The Union Army captured several Confederate records, including personnel records. They took those records to Washington and the War Department kept them well-preserved. The National Archives now houses most of those records, including records relating to South Carolina. They have several published microfilm collections, including:

  • Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of South Carolina
  • Index to the Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of South Carolina
  • (Service) Records Relating to Confederate Naval and Marine Personnel

All three of those publications can be found at both the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and the National Archives.

In 1888, a pension law was enacted in the state of South Carolina for veterans of the Confederacy. The law was revised several times in 1895, 1896, 1900, 1903, and 1910. Those revisions eventually added benefits for Confederate veterans who served outside the state of South Carolina and widows of Confederate veterans. The final revision was made in 1919. The Confederate Pension Department and County Pension Boards was created by that revision. At that point, almost all widows and veterans qualified. However, anyone who wanted a pension had to start the application process over again. The South Carolina Department of Archives and History has those new applications on file, along with an index of them. That index is called "Card File Index of 1919-1926 South Carolina Confederate Pension Applications."

See the Civil War Site Page

South Carolina in the Mexican War

During the Mexican War, The Valley of Mexico Campaign included the Palmetto Regiment. Rosters, maps, and information concerning the formation of that regiment can be found in Jack Allen Meyer, South Carolina in the Mexican War: A History of the Palmetto Regiment of Volunteers, 1846-1917, along with information about the medals and swords that returning soldiers received.

South Carolina Modern Wars

War Website Links

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