In 1861, the state of South Carolina altered its flag to include a palmetto tree as a symbol of defense and resilience. During the American Revolution, palmettos, which are ubiquitous to the South Carolina coast, provided much needed protection from British cannon at forts. The palmetto was a reminder of the strength of South Carolina and served as a poignant connection between the American Revolution and secession. In the South, particularly in South Carolina, civilians and soldiers wove “Secession Cockades” from the palmetto leaves. The cockades would then be attached to hats or jackets in support of the Confederate cause. The palmetto cockades in this case were worn throughout the South.
As with all of our Artifacts of the Month, these cockades are on display in the lobby of the Museum of the Confederacy-Richmond. Come for a visit and see them in person!