South Carolina
War of 1812
"Mr. Madison's War"

American ship 'Constitution', aka 'Old Ironsides'
 The children of America raised money to save
 the 'Constitution' and recondition it for display
"Old Ironsides"

The American ship which gained the greatest fame during the war was the Constitution, aka "Old Ironsides". This ship was victorious in three major battles and a good many minor ones, and never once was it defeated. Old Ironsides lives on today thanks to the fund-raising efforts of American schoolchildren to save it and recondition it.


American flag - 1812
Fifteen star flag of 1812

During the War of 1812 there were 15 states in the Union, Vermont and Kentucky having been added to the original 13.
An enormous version of this flag, commissioned by
Major Armistead, flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore and inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner".

The War of 1812 (1812-1815)
by Victoria Proctor 1999

The war in Europe between Napoleon's France and Britain inevitably drew the United States into a second war with England for several reasons:

  • ECONOMIC: the European war created great demand for American products and U.S. merchants wished to trade, as citizens of a neutral country, with both sides. Napoleon, however, forbade any nation to trade with England, and England forbade any nation to trade with France. Neither nation accepted the U.S. stance of neutrality, and blockades were set up to prevent American merchants from delivering and selling their goods in Europe.

  • U.S. SAILORS KIDNAPPED: Between 1803 and 1812, it is estimated that British captains captured 10,000 American sailors and forced them to serve on British ships. In June 1807, just three miles off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, the British ship Leopard fired on the frigate Chesapeake after her captain, Commodore James Barron, refused to allow the British to board in search of "deserters".

  • FRONTIER PROBLEMS: The quarrel with Great Britain not only concerned trade and impressment, but difficulties on land also. Frontiersmen, both in the Northwest and in the South had to contend with constant warfare with the Indians. Americans suspected that the British in Canada were both encouraging Indian warfare and supplying the Indians with arms and ammunition.
    (My apologies to Native Americans but the term "Indians" is simply clearer in this context.)

John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850) By 1810, John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, led a pro-war faction in Congress known as the "War Hawks". President Madison asked Congress for a declaration of war on England, and on June 18, 1812, pushed by the War Hawks, Congress declared "Mr. Madison's War".

John C. Calhoun  


Although South Carolina provided at least 5,000 soldiers to the national war effort, subsidized volunteer militia, raised a half-million dollars for self-defense, and upgraded coastal defenses, there were no significant battles or skirmishes here. The British blockaded Saint Helena Sound, and raided plantations on the larger sea islands off the coast of Beaufort County, South Carolina. The sea islands were a prime source for the much-valued sea-island cotton. According to one source, the British invaded Hilton Head Island and burned most of the plantation homes near navigable waters. The British did not, however, invade the South Carolina mainland as many Charlestonians feared they might, considering their experiences during the Revolutionary War.

For more information on the events of the War of 1812, see War of 1812 History - from American Military History, at the U.S. Army website.

South Carolina's War of 1812 Soldiers

Unless otherwise indicated, the source for each soldier's listing is:
National Archives, Record Group 94, Microfilm, ID M652
Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812 in Organizations From the State of South Carolina


Surnames beginning with:
Aa-Ak Al Am-Az   Ba Be Bi Bl Bo Br Bu By
C-Cai Cal Cam Can-Cap Car Cas- Ce Ch Ci Cl Co Cr
Cu Cy   Da De Di Do Dr-Dy   Ea-Eg El Em-Ez
F   G   H   I   Ja Je Ji Joh
Joi-Jon Jor-Joy Ju   K   L          
M   N   O   P   Q   R  
S   T   U   V
Wa We Wh Wi Wo Wr-Wy   X, Y   Z

With special thanks to Roxsanne Wells-Layton who contributed the unit roster lists from which these surname pages were initially drawn. Please note that South Carolina's military units in 1812 were composed of men from numerous counties and cannot be easily assigned as belonging solely to one location. However, a review of these unit rosters will help you determine which "John Jones" is yours if you are familiar with the names of his neighbors. Then, as now, men from the same town/county/area tended to enlist together.

This page created and maintained by
Victoria Proctor Copyright © 1999, 2014. All rights reserved.

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