Palmetto Regiment

June 29, 1846– June 29, 1848

After a debilitating expedition to Alvarado (March 30–April 6) the Palmettos marched through Jalapa to Puebla, where the army remained until departing for the Valley of Mexico on August 7.

The Palmetto Regiment, South Carolina’s contribution to the Mexican War (1846–1848), was formed on June 29, 1846, with Pierce Mason Butler elected as colonel. Initially the War Department informed the Palmettos that they were not needed. Finally, on November 16, a South Carolina regiment was requested for immediate service. Since the term of enlistment was changed from one year to the duration of the war, the regiment had to be rebuilt. This proved difficult but was finally accomplished, and the regiment reported to Camp Magnolia, near Charleston. On December 27–28 the Palmettos departed for Mobile, Alabama. From Mobile they sailed to Lobos Island and, after intensive training, landed on March 8, 1847, below Vera Cruz, helping to establish the siege lines there.

After a debilitating expedition to Alvarado (March 30–April 6) the Palmettos marched through Jalapa to Puebla, where the army remained until departing for the Valley of Mexico on August 7. The Palmettos were involved in two battles on August 20: Contreras, against token opposition; and Churubusco, where Colonel Butler was killed in heavy fighting. The Palmettos lost eleven killed and 126 wounded. After a brief armistice, the army resumed the offensive on September 12, attacking Chapultepec and Mexico City. At the Garita de Bélen, the Palmettos were the first regiment to enter Mexico City. On May 29, 1848, after months of garrison duty, the Palmetto Regiment left for home, arriving at Mobile over the period June 24–29. They were mustered out there and left to find their own way home. Of 1,048 men enrolled, 441 did not return. See plate 23.

Lander, Ernest McPherson, Jr. Reluctant Imperialists: Calhoun, the South Carolinians, and the Mexican War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980.

Meyer, Jack Allen. South Carolina in the Mexican War: A History of the Palmetto Regiment of Volunteers, 1846–1917. Columbia: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1996.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Palmetto Regiment
  • Coverage June 29, 1846– June 29, 1848
  • Author
  • Keywords South Carolina’s contribution to the Mexican War (1846–1848), Pierce Mason Butler elected as colonel, first regiment to enter Mexico City
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date October 1, 2020
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 5, 2017
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