In the summer of 1861, men from all over the state of South Carolina answered the call to aid in the defense of the Confederacy. They gathered in Columbia, South Carolina, and there they arranged themselves into Regiments consisting of 10 companies. One such regiment was the 14th South Carolina, consisting of men from Edgefield, Laurens, Abbeville, Darlington, and Barnwell Counties.
The 14th SC was quartered in Aiken, South Carolina for further instruction, and was officially organized on September 9th, 1861. They were sent to the coast in the fall, along with the 12th and 13th regiments, under the command of Brigadier General Maxcey Gregg.
The 14th SC regiment was involved in a short battle at Port Royal Ferry on January 1, 1862. In the Spring of 1862, they were rushed northward to the battlefields of Virginia, to help during the Seven Days Battle. There they served faithfully and honorably with the Army of Northern Virginia, under the command of beloved General Robert E. Lee and fought at Second Manassas, Antietam, and Fredricksburg. In December of 1862, Col. Samuel McGowan was placed in charge of the brigade (now known as McGowans Brigade), where they fought at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg. They fought entirely in the East, and were at the surrender of Lee’s troops at Appomattox courthouse on April 9th, 1865. The 14th South Carolina never surrendered their flag at Appomattox. Instead, in a ceremony, their buried their colors somewhere outside Appomattox. To this day, they have never been recovered.
During the war, the 14th Regiment – and Gregg’s/McGowan’s Brigade – made a reputation as fierce fighters. The regiment’s total loss of dead was: 224 killed in battle, and 326 who died of disease. The number who were wounded is far greater than this.