Palmetto medal in silver, 47 mm. dia., 45.2 g, engraved by William J. Keenan and struck by Gregg, Hayden & Co., 1850s. Obverse with depiction of American troops landing at Vera Cruz encircled by border featuring the names of Mexican-American War battles; reverse with central palmetto and eagle motif surrounded by the names of the Palmetto Regiment's commanders, "Dickinson," "Butler," and "Gladden," and variously placed additional text including "TO THE / PALMETTO REGIMENT," "SOUTH / CAROLINA," the name of the medal's recipient, "Sergt. Thomas Beggs," and the years "1846" and "1847," all encircled by border with legend bearing the two state mottos of South Carolina, "ANIMIS OPIBUSQUE PARATI" and "DUM SPIRO SPERO," meaning "prepared in mind and resources," and "while I breathe I hope," respectively.
The Palmetto Medal was authorized by the South Carolina Legislature in 1848 and issued in the 1850s to men who fought in the Palmetto Regiment during the Mexican-American War. The medal was struck in silver for enlisted men and non-commissioned officers, and in gold for officers. Many veterans wore their medals on watch fobs or chains, causing many of the surviving medals to be quite worn or damaged. The fine condition of this example alone makes it an impressive specimen, let alone an important piece of history.
The Palmetto Regiment of Volunteers was an infantry regiment formally organized on June 26, 1846. It contributed ten companies of men to the US forces in the Mexican War. Having numerous volunteers, the regiment was trained by cadets from the South Carolina Military Academy and was recognized as the first regiment to fly American colors over Mexico City. The regiment's landing at Vera Cruz is captured in the obverse design of the medal featured here, showing Colonel Pierce Mason Butler ready to spring from his ship with the Palmetto flag in hand. Both Colonel Butler and Lieutenant Colonel Dickinson (the names of whom appear on the medal's reverse) received fatal wounds at the later Battle of Churubusco in August of 1847.
Medal with some tarnish near edges of obverse and throughout reverse, with some nicks and scratches to edges and surfaces. Hole drilled at bottom.
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