South Carolina 1st Regiment Militia (Charleston Reserves) (Infantry)

Historical Notes:
The South Carolina 1st Infantry Regiment Reserves was organized in Charleston early in the war. It was made up mostly of old men and boys.

For the first three years these men stayed around Charleston and were involved in the Siege of Charleston in 1863. When Sherman's troops invaded the state in 1865, the 1st joined up with McLaws Georgia troops in defense of the state.

[The Following notes regarding the organization of the SC 1st Infantry Regiment Reserves is excerpted from River's Account of the Raising of the Troops for State and Confederate Service.]

Before we mention other organizations formed at this time, it may be well to notice the causes of so great military activity. The forts at Hatteras, N. C., had fallen into the hands of the enemy. It was evidently the plan of the Federals to secure positions along the coast from which to harass the State by incursions, and by means of which, as stations for their fleets, to maintain more effectually the blockade of the coast. It was well known that a large Federal armament, the most powerful ever prepared by the United States, was threatening a descent on South Carolina, and there was reason to believe that Port Royal was its point of destination. Amidst great solicitude, but one determination pervaded the State---to repel the fleet or, if this could not be done, to dispute any advance of the enemy from the seashore. The regiments lately raised Dunovant's Edwards', Jones', and DeSaussure's, were kept in the State. The extensive volunteering for Confederate service having disarranged the State Militia, the numerous vacancies among its field officers were filled by new elections. The 17th S. C. M. was now commanded by Col. Richard DeTreville, the Rifle Regiment by Col. J. L. Branch. The 18th and 19th were called into requisition; also the 3d Brigade Infantry, and 2d Brigade Cavalry; and there was formed in Charleston a regiment of reserves embracing nearly all the citizens not enlisted in the war.

On the 2d February, the Secretary of War called on the State to fill up its quota of troops 'for the war;' the requisition, six percent of the white population, being estimated at 18,000 men, including those already enlisted. Five additional regiments were called for at once. To complete the requisition and establish a class of reserves for future calls, the Executive Council issued an order for the enrollment of all whites between eighteen and fort-five years of age, and for conscription after 20th March. There was no necessity for conscription. The small number of our young men not already enlisted rushed to arms. The institutions of learning throughout the State were deserted. By the 28th April, the five regiments had been furnished, and the quota of the State exceeded by 4,064 men. The State had then in the field 22,064 men enlisted for the war, and 17,210 men for twelve months, making an aggregate of 39,274.

Little was gained to the real strength of the Confederate army by the subsequent forcible operation of the Conscript Law in South Carolina. A stern necessity caused its enactment, but its effects were often oppressive, dragging the weak-bodied and sickly from home only to fill hospitals and taking sometimes, from the widowed and aged their sole support. The people began to feel for the first time in their history, the unyielding hand of power. It also broke up militia organizations and transferred to the Confederate authorities whatever remained in the State of effective arms-bearing men. The Executive Council then ordered the formation of two corps of reserves. The first corps of ten regiments was soon organized, amounting to about 8,000, and embracing all between thirty-five and fifty years of age, to be held for all active service, if needed by the law from military duty and all others between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, and fifty and sixty-five. No additional troops could now be accepted unless 'for the war.'

It was estimated that the number of men contributed by the State up to this time to Confederate service exceeded forty-five thousand; and several hundred were lost to the accredited quota of the State by joining the troops of other States. There were also ten regiments of reserves organized, numbering about 8,000 men, between thirty-five and fifty years of age, commanded by Cols. Elford, Sloan, Bacon, Secrest, Wilson, Witherspoon, Williams, Baxter, J. J. Ryan.
Col. Elford
Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida Battles:
The Siege of Charleston
The Carolinas Campaign
Broxton Bridge
Rivers Bridge
Aiken - Feb. 11, 1865

The roster of this unit contains the names of 530 men.

  • Company A (also known as the Hibernian Guard, Company #1) - Men were older members of the Irish Volunteers
  • Company B - (also known as the Charleston Home Guard, Company #2)
  • Company C - (also known as the Pickens Rifles, Company #3)
  • Company D - (also known as the Reserve Guard #4)
  • Company E - (also known as the Reserve Guard #5)
  • Company F - (also known as the Reserve Guard #6)
  • Company G - (also known as Company #7)
  • Company H - (also known as Company #8) - Roster[1]
  • Company I - (No Company I)
  • Company J - (J was used unofficially and sometimes referred to as Company I)
  • Company K - (also known as the tenth)
  • Pickens Rifles - (Possible two units with the same name)
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