Edgar Alexander Sirmyer
First Lieutenant Edgar Alexander Sirmyer
"Edgar Allen Sirmyer was born in Michigan, December 22, 1875. Entered West Point June 1893, and was graduated June 1897. Served in Cuban War - participated in the battle of San Juan and siege of Santiago; ordered to the Philippines, September 10, 1898; participated in the following engagements : Buntayan, Magahelin, Luzon and San Jacinto. In 1902, he was placed in command of Third Squadron, Third Cavalry, which position he held until ordered home. August 28, 1902, he was detailed Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Military Sciences and Tactics at Clemson." (The Oconeean, Volume Two, 1904, page 17.)
On March 12, 1904, according to The Oconeean, Volume Two, 1904, page 78, and The State newspaper, Columbia, S.C., February 22, 1948, an incident took place on campus in which a Confederate flag was raised on the new flagpole in front of the administration building, much to the consternation of the military Commandant, First Lieutenant Edgar Alexander Sirmyer, when he returned from a day trip to Anderson, who hauled it down. The students regained control of the flag, 14 feet by 16 feet, and made by "[T]he women of the campus," and began to raise it again while the college band played "Dixie". "Observing what was going on, the commandant rushed forth and lent his feeble efforts on the other end of the lanyard in an attempt to restrain the hoisting. When he was three or four feet from the ground he let go." He then charged the cadet in charge of the rope with insubordination. The Oconeean observes on page 78 that on the following morning at inspection - "everybody burnt - trouble around flag pole."
- "Then", according to the February 22, 1948 article in The State, "someone better acquainted with South Carolina youth gained the ear of the commandant and told him that the proper procedure was not force, but to talk to the boys. This the commandant did, in an hour-long eulogy of the Confederacy and the argument that now all was one nation so the Confederate flag would be lowered with full military honors. To this the students agreed and the commandant was so pleased with himself that he cancelled all demerits."
- "But this did not end the incident. Some publicity was given the occurrence and the war department heard about it."
And at this point, he fades into the mists of Clemson historical record.