The Claremont Rifles was organized in January, 1861, around Stateburg, South Carolina, by Captain James Spann. The unit served on Morris Island during the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the first action of the Civil War. A few months later, this independent rifle company was accepted into General Wade Hampton’s now-legendary Hampton Legion, becoming Company “G.” It joined the Legion in the field after First Manassas (Bull Run). The Legion fought as part of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
Company “G” saw action at Seven Pines, Gaines’ Mill, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Sayler’s Creek, the siege of Chattanooga, and a rare night battle at Wauhatchie, among others. Unusual for an infantry unit, Company “G” was converted to mounted infantry in 1864 and served in Fitzhugh Lee’s Cavalry Corps. When the Confederate capital was eventually abandoned, the Legion was the last organization to leave Richmond.
The Claremont Rifles surrendered their arms at Appomattox on April 12, 1865.
Wade Hampton, III
born March 28, 1818; died April 11, 1902
One of the South’s wealthiest and most prominent citizens, Hampton's loyalty lay with his home state of South Carolina when war was declared. His father, Wade Hampton II, was an officer in the War of 1812 and his grandfather, Wade Hampton, was an officer during the Revolutionary War. Following in their footsteps, he created and financed the Hampton Legion, a unique organization comprised of Cavalry, Infantry, and Artillery.
Despite having no prior military experience, Hampton displayed true skill as a commander. He ultimately attained the rank of Lt. General, one of just two men in the Confederacy without military background to do so. He served with distinction and was wounded in battle five times.
After the war, he served as Governor of South Carolina (1877–79) and as U.S. Senator (1879–91).
The original flag of The Claremont Rifles made it through the war and survives to this day. In desperate need of conservation, this unique flag is still complete enough for a faithful reproduction to be made which is proudly flown by our unit. (click image)
Crafted of white silk with gold fringe, it is hand embroidered in bold colors as was the original. The flag sports different designs on each side. The back features the date the unit was organized.
Although Co. “G” laid down their arms at
war’s end, the flag was not surrendered. It had been sent home earlier and a cotton battle flag used
in the field instead. This twist of fate provided
the means for the flag’s fortunate preservation.
The flags of many other companies did not survive the war.