15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion 3×5 Flag

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Confederate 1st National Battle Flag of the 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion “Lucas Artillery”

The 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion also known as Lucas Artillery was one of several coastal artillery units that protected Charleston Harbor. It was originally organized with two companies (A and B) which mustered into service on June 6th, 1861 at James Island. Company C was added on 15 November 1861. Major James J. Lucas was selected to command the battalion. Lucas was a graduate of the South Carolina Military Academy (the Citadel) and was a prominent member of the Charleston business community before the war. He also served 3 terms in the South Carolina state legislature. For 7 years leading up to the Civil War, Lucas served as a captain in the Palmetto Guards. After the secession of South Carolina, he helped with the procurement of war supplies used to capture Fort Sumter in April 1861. The 15th South Carolina Artillery was originally assigned to the fortifications on Sullivan Island guarding the coastline near Charleston and then reassigned to Cole’s Island along the Stono River. While stationed on Cole’s Island, the battalion achieved their greatest success of the war. On January 30, 1863, the Union Navy blockading vessel, USS Isaac R. Smith, sailed up the Stono River past hidden Confederate batteries. She weighed 453 tons and carried nine heavy guns. The small size and shallow draft made the vessel perfect for operating in the rivers around Charleston. The Captain had unknowingly sailed directly into a trap that the Confederates had set to capture the warship. A portion of the 15th South Carolina Artillery was manning guns on one side of the river while a portion of the 2nd South Carolina Artillery was on the opposite shore. After the Smith sailed past the batteries and anchored about 4 1/2 miles upstream, the Confederates opened fire on the warship. Another Union Navy vessel attempted to rescue the Smith, but the Confederate artillery drove it away. Being caught in the crossfire from the shore batteries the vessel, disabled by accurate fire and her deck covered with wounded men, the captain surrendered the ship rather than take on more casualties. The Confederates recovered the ship, repaired it, and renamed it the CSS Stono. She then served as part of the Confederate Navy around Charleston. After the successful capture of the Smith, Lucas and his battalion were engaged on several more occasions around Charleston Harbor including Battery Wagner and Fort Sumter as the Union Navy attempted to force their way into the harbor but were repelled each time. In July 1864, Lucas’ Battalion defended Batteries Pringle and Tynes and defeated an attack by two Union ironclads and three gunboats. In late 1864, the cities of Atlanta and Savannah fell to Union forces and General William T. Sherman decided to invade the state of South Carolina in early 1865. Not having sufficient infantry units to defend against Sherman’s army, some of the heavy artillery units around Charleston were converted to infantry, including the 15th South Carolina Battalion. They were attached to Rhett’s Brigade and fought at the battles of Averysboro and Bentonville in North Carolina between March 16th and 21st, 1865. Lucas was wounded in both battles. He was in Raleigh recovering from his wounds when General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the Army of Tennessee on April 26, 1865, including the 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion.

The 15th South Carolina Artillery battle flag is a 1st National style “Stars and Bars” design with 11 stars and “Lucas’ Battalion Arty” printed on the center white bar. The 11th Star was added to the Stars and Bars on July 2, 1861, after the secession of North Carolina and Tennessee. Two more stars were added on November 28, 1861, bringing the total to 13. It was manufactured by the firm Hayden & Whilden and likely was produced between these dates based on the fact that that are 11 stars on the flag. It served as the 15th South Carolina Battalion battle flag through the end of the war. Major Lucas brought the flag home after the war and it remained in the possession of his family for several generations. It is in the possession of a private collector today.

This is a reproduction of the Lucas’ Artillery Battle Flag and has a vintage/aged finish. It is designed to look like the original flag appears today. Not as it would have appeared during the Civil War. The actual dimensions and materials are not exactly the same as the original. The artwork is visible on both sides of the flag.

  • One solid piece of printed, hemmed fabric
  • Lightweight, 100-denier polyester that will fly nicely in the slightest breeze.
  • Bright colors
  • 4 rows of stitching on the fly end to prevent premature fraying
  • Reinforced header with brass grommets
  • Flag size: 3′ x 5′

Additional information

Weight 5.5 oz