Celebrate Carolina Day!
William Moultrie, commander of Fort Sullivan
June 28, 2016 was the 240th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Sullivan, the first significant American victory of the Revolutionary War. On March 2, 1776, intelligence reached Charles Town that the British at New York were preparing an expedition against the city. Moultrie was given command of the efforts on Sullivan's Island to build "a large fort sufficient to contain 1,000 men." Captain Peter Horry described the fort as an "immense pen, 500 feet long and 16 feet wide, filled with sand to stop the shot."
On June 8, General Charles Lee arrived in Charles Town to assume command of all American forces. Lee asserted that with no line of retreat for Moultrie and his men, the fort was nothing more than "a slaughter pen." He proposed to withdraw Moultrie and abandon the fort. John Rutledge, president of the Republic of South Carolina, disagreed and ordered Moultrie to stay.
Only the southeastern and southwestern walls of the fort were finished when the British fleet arrived in June 1776. Moultrie only had 344 officers and men from the 2nd South Carolina Regiment and twenty men from the 4th South Carolina Artillery. Colonel William Moultrie served as commander with Lt. Col. Isaac Motte commanding the right flank .
On June 28, the attacking British fleet was composed of nine man-of-war ships with a total of nearly 300 guns. The British ships unleashed a fearsome barrage of shot, but they had little to no effect, either bouncing off the palmetto log walls or burying in the sand. With only a tenth as many guns and a shortage of gunpowder, Moultrie's men fired in volleys of four guns at a time. One British engineer reported, "Their fire was surprisingly well served" and was "slow, but decisive indeed; they were very cool and took care not to fire except their guns were exceedingly well directed." In the twelve-hour battle, British casualties were more than 220, while American casualties were only 37.
Sgt. Jasper saves the South Carolina Flag during the battle.
After the battle, the fort was renamed Fort Moultrie, in honor of its intrepid commander. The great victory was celebrated the next year, honoring the accomplishment of Moultrie and his men. Through the years, this observance on June 28 has been known by many names: Palmetto Day, Sergeant Jasper's Day, and simply the Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Moultrie. For the last 141 years, it has been known as Carolina Day.
The South Carolina Society
Sons of the American Revolution
The South Carolina Society was organized April 18th, 1889 in a room at the State Capital in Columbia. After the election of officers, the organizing group appointed delegates to the proposed National Convention in New York City to be held later in the month. The National Society was organized April 30th, 1889. Those descendents of our brave ancestors, whose vision and courage gave us our great nation, formed a fraternal, patriotic, and civic organization to perpetuate the basic principles of freedom to honor our founding fathers. The name adopted by the organization was the Sons of the American Revolution.
The South Carolina Society began granting charters to chapters in 1923. Currently twenty one chapters promote the American spirit through fraternal meetings, commemorative observances of events and battles, educational materials, projects, lectures, tours and publications. South Carolina is rich in historical events of the American Revolution. From the mountains to the coast, South Carolina experienced the most battles and skirmishes of the war. The twenty one chapters of our society sponsor annual anniversary ceremonies of many of the battles and events.
Relics of the Revolution may be found throughout the state in some federal and state parks, museums, and libraries. Markers are found in our countryside reminding us of the sacrifice of our ancestors. The Society seeks to mark graves of our Revolutionary ancestors.
Since the organization of the South Carolina Society, over 3,000 have filled the membership ranks. As of May 31, 2016 membership was 859.
The South Carolina Society of the American Revolution joins in effort with the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Children of the American Revolution, and all patriotic and historical groups in keeping alive the ideals of our ancestors who gave us our United States of America.