Saturday, June 26, 2010

Celebrate 234th Carolina Day Editorial in Post and Courier

Celebrate 234th Carolina Day

Saturday, June 26, 2010

On Monday, June 28, South Carolinians will celebrate the 234th Carolina Day, commemorating the Battle of Sullivan's Island. On June 28, 1776, Col. William Moultrie and a small force of Carolinians (South Carolinians, North Carolinians and Native Americans) defending Breach Inlet and Fort Sullivan, a partially completed palmetto fort, stoutly repelled an assault by combined British naval and military forces intent on seizing Charles Town.

This spectacular victory, the first in the American War for Independence over a combined British Army and Royal Navy operation, dampened British hopes for quickly subduing the rebellion in the Southern colonies and greatly strengthened patriot resolve.

The Carolina Day celebration was born of this great victory, and the Battle of Sullivan's Island had a lasting impact on the imagery that defines our state.

South Carolina's official state flag, which will celebrate its 150th anniversary of design and approval on Jan. 28, 2011, originated from the regimental colors of the 2nd South Carolina Regiment, which flew over Fort Sullivan on the day of the battle.

This precursor to our state flag featured a blue field with a white crescent in the upper corner closest to the staff. The blue matched the color of the 2nd South Carolina's uniforms, and the crescent was a symbol that appeared on its soldiers' caps.

The palmetto tree that so prominently appears on the state flag also is a symbol drawn from the Battle of Sullivan's Island. Fort Sullivan was constructed of palmetto logs and sand. During the naval bombardment on June 28, the palmetto log walls absorbed much of the impact of incoming shot and in doing so protected the fort's garrison.

Over 84 years after the battle, when South Carolina seceded from the Union on Dec. 20, 1860, it needed a national flag. A number of designs were submitted to the General Assembly, but on Jan. 28, 1861, South Carolina adopted a flag that added a white palmetto tree to Moultrie's original design, officially creating the Palmetto flag as we know it today. This event will be celebrated early next year on South Carolina's first official State Flag Day.

On June 28 we urge South Carolinians and visitors to our state to come to the Battery and witness a traditional celebration, which is in many ways similar to the first Carolina Day in 1777. At noon church bells will sound in Charleston and on Sullivan's Island.

At 1 p.m., a service of thanksgiving followed by the dedication of a monument to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney will take place at St. Michael's Church. Pinckney was not only one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution, but also a leader of the Patriot cause in the War for Independence. Following a reception at St. Michael's parish hall, organizations will gather at Washington Park, and at 3:30 p.m. they will proceed down Meeting Street to the Sgt. Jasper monument at the Battery for a wreath-laying ceremony, followed by the rededication of the newly restored Bandstand (which was originally dedicated on Carolina Day in 1907).

The Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison, retired Bishop of South Carolina, will give the annual address, followed by a concert by the Charleston Community Band. At Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island there will be a re-enactor encampment, events throughout the day, and a 7 p.m. ceremony and concert by the 246th Army Band.

We hope that you will join us on June 28 in celebrating this important chapter in our state's rich past.

Samuel W. Howell IV


Palmetto Society

Broad Street


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Battle of the Breach Round Table Event for Carolina Day Information

SCAR Fellows and friends of the Revolution:

Southern Campaigns Roundtable in Charleston, SC at the beautiful Old Exchange Building

( in the historic district on Saturday, June 26th.

Our hosts are Mike Coker and Doug MacIntyre. This will be a public invited event

so send this email on to your fiends and colleagues. We will have plenty of

space in the upstairs ballroom. Plan on joining us to start promptly at 10:00 am

and we should wrap-up by 4:00 pm – we'll stop for a "Dutch Treat" lunch.

Remember our Round Table is a participatory sport; bring your research interest,

questions, show and tell, for no-more than a 10 minute presentation. As guests

of the Old Exchange Building, they have waived their regular entrance fees for

our Roundtable. (Thanks to Tony Youmans and Mike Coker.)

Doug MacIntyre is working on interpretative signage for a new Revolutionary War

park on Sullivan's Island at Breach Inlet. He is anxious to show us his research

and get help and suggestions from our fellows.

Barbara Abernethy suggested we meet on the Isle of Palms (historic Long Island)

at the Boathouse at Breach Inlet, located at 101 Palm Blvd.

(, on the deck overlooking the Inlet from

Sir Henry Clinton and Lord Charles Cornwallis' prospective and get the feel of

the site about 6:00 pm on Friday evening. Sounds like a plan to me!

For more information, please contact:

Mike Coker


Doug MacIntyre


Mobile 843-860-9173

Home 843-577-1098


Below are the events that the South Carolina Historical Society are Sponsering

Carolina Day 2010

Monday, June 28

Carolina Day celebrates the American victory at the Battle of Sullivan’s Island on June 28, 1776. Colonel William Moultrie commanded Fort Sullivan on that fateful day when, despite being outnumbered, he and the Second South Carolina Regiment repelled assaults by the Royal Navy and the British Army. The first Carolina Day was celebrated in 1777, and the commemoration continues today.

This year, Carolina Day will be celebrated on Monday, June 28.

The public is invited to join The Palmetto Society, the South Carolina Historical Society, and dozens of other historic organizations at White Point Garden in Charleston. The day's schedule includes:

1:00 p.m. Church service begins at St. Michael's Church

(71 Broad Street)

1:45 p.m. Dedication of Pinckney Monument in St. Michael's


3:00 p.m. Organizations assemble in Washington Park

for parade to White Point Garden

3:30 p.m. Parade to White Point Garden begins

3:50 p.m. Wreath-laying ceremony and performance by

Charleston Community Band, with remarks by Bishop

C. FitzSimons Allison

A rededication of the recently renovated White Point Garden bandstand will be held immediately following the regular Carolina Day festivities.

Fort Moultrie will be hosting its own Carolina Day events June 27-28, which are free and open to the public. Visitors to the fort both days can enjoy musket and artillery demonstrations, as well as presentations of 18th-century medical practices, from 9:00 - 5:00. At 7:00 p.m. on June 28, the Army National Guard band will perform a patriotic concert.

Battle of Sullivans Island Part 4: Charleston prepares for war

The pre revolution defenses of Charleston were mainly Fort Johnson on James Island, the town militia, and parish militia. The only other military buildings in the general area around Charleston were the Powder Magazine in Charleston and the tabby fort at the town of Dorchester 30 miles upriver from Charleston. The common thread for these defenses was that they were never meant to fight off a major power alone. They were designed to hold off attackers until the British Fleet and Army could come to the rescue of Charles Town. As long as the colony of South Carolina had the protection of the crown it could hold its own against the Native Americans, but not much more. Also with the protection of the crown the colonist did not want to add more defenses because that would require public spending which would causes taxes and we know how they felt about taxes.

Fort Johnson had been guarding the harbor since 1704 on the Southern entrance to the harbor protecting against the ever present Spanish threat from Florida and the French threat from the Caribbean which caused it to be strengthened in 1759 during the French and Indian War. The Powder Magazine was built in 1713 to hold the powder stores for the colony. By the time of the revolution it had already gone out of service, but was used by the patriots as a meeting point and for storage for incoming troops and their munitions. The Powder Magazine can still be visited today in down town Charleston. The fort at the town of Dorchester was built in 1757 to help protect the town from possible French and Indian attacks during the French and Indian War. Its location on the Ashley River meant that it would be the first road block on one of the two the main river transport systems from the interior of South Carolina to the capital at Charleston the other system being the Cooper River. It was constructed out of tabby walls on a bluff overlooking the river. In 1775 a powder magazine was built out of brick in the middle of the fort for storage of extra powder outside of Charleston for either Charleston’s defense if they needed it or for a forward storage area for the interior of the colony by the Patriots. This site can also be visited today to see the fort still intact, a church site, and what’s left of the Powder Magazine.

These defensive positions around Charleston were not in the best of shape in 1775 when the colony of South Carolina decided to rise up with the other colonies to defy their King. In fact, by 1775 the powder magazine and the fort at Dorchester were for the most part abandoned. Fort Johnson was in little better shape, but it was kept in some state of readiness by the British.

This was the state of defense in Charleston when they decided to join the other colonies. As soon as the path was clear that some sort of armed revolt was coming the colonist began to construct works on different parts of the harbor for their protection against their new threat, the British.

This began to change once the South Carolinas began to organize a patriot government. In September of 1775 the South Carolinas took position of Fort Johnson and began to arm the fort with new cannons and to repair the cannons the British had spiked upon their abandoning of the fort. The strengthening of Fort Johnson was assigned to the First South Carolina. Also, this was the time period that the fort at Dorchester began to get its new powder magazine. Four 18lb guns were also placed on Haddrell’s point, on present day Mount Pleasant to guard the Cooper River entrance to Charleston in the inner harbor defenses. This building up of the batteries around Charleston helped to convince Gov. Lord Campbell and the two British ships in the harbor the HMS Tamar and HMS Cherokee where he was trying to cause an uprising of Natives and Tories that it was time to leave before they were caught in a trap.

One of the first things that came about on Sullivan’s Island was that Col. Moultrie of the 2nd South Carolina ordered men from both the 1st and 2nd SC to send a combined force of 225 men to the island on January 10th, 1776 to build a fascine battery on the tip of the island guarding the entrance to the harbor. A fascine battery is one made primary out of sticks that are tied together almost like baskets for protection. Facing any type of artillery barrage this type of battery would be of little use to its defenders. So on March of 1776 Col. Moultrie was ordered to Sullivan’s Island to build a fortification of real substance with his 2nd South Carolina that could hold out the Royal Navy. This was accomplished with the use of mechanics, army personnel, slaves, and volunteers who worked around the clock to build the fortification. This fort was built out of sand and palmetto logs which came from all over the harbor. To get the palmetto logs to the island, they were tied together in rafts and floated to the beaches of the island and then dragged to the construction site by animal and man power. The plan was for the fort to have 16 feet thick walls and 500 feet long around its perimeter with walls 10 feet higher than the gun placements. The palmetto trees would form an inner and outer wall with sand in between to give maximum protection to the guns and their crews inside the fort.

Besides Fort Johnson on James Island, another battery was placed on James Island with twelve cannons in an inner defense position in case the British Fleet got past Fort Johnson. This second battery on James Island was also garrisoned by the 1st South Carolina.

Christopher Gadsden
In the city proper the town was building redoubts, fortifications, and batteries to repel the British if they should get past the outer harbor defenses. One of the most substantial fortifications was placed on and near Gadsden’s wharf one of the largest private wharfs in North America and which was garrisoned by the 4rth South Carolina. Its owner Christopher Gadsden was a member of the 1st and 2nd Continental Congress and a Lt. Col in the 1st South Carolina Regiment. He is also famous for the Gadsden Flag which he designed with the yellow back ground, coiled snake, and the words “don’t tread on me” located on it. These fortifications in the city proper mainly went up on the Cooper River side of Charleston since it was the location where almost all of the industry in Charleston was located at during this time period.

During the spring of 1776 the harbor was full of the sounds of construction and troops drilling in the air as the thought of a British fleet showing up outside the harbor made the work have urgency and real purpose. Also during this time period troops began to come from Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia to aid in the defense of Charleston. Along with the troops came Continental Officers such as General John Armstrong, General Charles Lee, and other to help build and lead the defense of Charleston.

The next in piece in the series will be on the British fleet arriving and the battle.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Independant Company of South Carolina Recruitment Day

Great Story about the Siege of Charleston

About the Walled City Task Force from thier website

The Mayor’s Walled City Task Force was appointed by Charleston Mayor, Joseph Riley Jr., in August of 2005 to further the study, identification, protection, and interpretation of the Walled City of Charleston. Since its inception, this group of fifteen professionals (including historians, curators, archaeologists, engineers, attorneys, and civic leaders) has engaged in a number of educational and research activities. The Task Force is headed by two active members of Charleston’s historic preservation community, co-chairs Katherine Saunders and Peter McGee.

Since its inception in 2005, the Task Force has sponsored numerous lectures, a living history program and encampment, and two successful “Walk the Walls” events. To date, more than 12,000 Walk the Walls brochures have been distributed, encouraging the public to take a self-guided tour of the early Walled City boundaries, 1704–1730, and related places of interest. Task Force members also continue to research the fortifications and to promote the broader recognition of this significant part of Charleston’s heritage.

An exciting mapping project was begun in 2006 with the City of Charleston to create a digital synthesis of historic maps and plats and the current urban street grid using GIS (Geographic Information System) technology. This process, which will continue to be refined as more historic plats are identified, will greatly enhance our ability to identify the locations of Charleston’s colonial fortifications, and to better predict the location of remnants below the modern cityscape.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Battle of Sullivan's Island Part Three

As the British began to pull anchors and set sail for Charleston Harbor, the Patriot forces there were putting their defenses in the ready. This process had already started in January of 1775 when the colony voted to leave the British Empire and set up its own government. This was done after they had sent five representatives to the Continental Congress in September of 1774 in hopes of repairing the relationship between colony and mother country. The Continental Congress was unable to solve the problems and all hope was lost when word reached South Carolina of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts in May of 1775. Once the South Carolines knew there was to be a shooting war they began to build up defenses and recruit troops.

The first troops raised to fight the British Empire in South Carolina were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th South Carolina. The first two were to be of the line with the third being a ranger regiment to control the inland region of South Carolina and the forth was designated an artillery regiment. Also in the fall of 1775 South Carolines started to take control of key military sites in the harbor and the city proper. This included the fort on James Island, Fort Johnson, the powder magazine in downtown Charleston, and other strategic points in the harbor. The other strategic points included Haddrell Point and at the water front of Charleston, where cannons were placed to defend the city and to help dislodge Governor Campbell from the harbor, where he was still trying to govern from two British warships sitting there. The other keep point that the Patriots began to place guns was on Sullivan’s Island. Sullivan’s Island is located on the Northern approach to the harbor and with it being fortified caused the governor and the British fleets to leave before damage could be done to them in the late fall of 1775. While this was going on in Charleston, militia in the outer parishes of South Carolina began to drill and prepare for the British.

While the South Carolina Provincial Government was preparing for the expected British attack the merchants in Charleston were producing goods as fast as they could. These goods were for the war effort in the North and also for the new trade routes that opened once South Carolina decided to leave the Empire. The workshops and the docks were at full capacity bringing in much need war material and profit for the local merchants. Ships from many nations were in and out of Charleston harbor as fast as they could load and unload. These ships were not involved in diplomatic relations; they were involved in moving valuable cargo to and from Charleston to the Caribbean and other points on the globe. This preparing for war and making a profit for the local merchants and farmers went on for a few months. That was until the return of John Rutledge in February of 1776 from the Continental Congress with word of a British fleet heading south from New England. In February of 1776 the first meeting of the General Assembly occurred and they elected John Rutledge President of South Carolina.

The election of John Rutledge (pictured to the right) marked a turning point in creating a stronger defense of Charleston. Besides the election of Rutledge in February in March the Continental Congress also started to take the threat of a British invasion of the South very seriously and they appointed General Charles Lee as Commander of the Southern Theater of operations. General Lee made his head quarters in Williamsburg, Virginia as he felt that either Virginia or South Carolina would be the place that the British struck in the South. Also in March of 1776 President Rutledge ordered a fort built on Sullivan’s Island to defend the Northern approach to the harbor. He gave this task to Col. William Moultrie and his command, the 2nd South Carolina.

In the next article we will discuss how the fort was built on Sullivan’s Island and
how other defenses were created in Charleston.

Col. William Moultire

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse: an Animated Map (Very Cool)

King Rice in the Royal Southern Colonies

     King Rice in the Royal Southern Colonies helped to make them an economic power in the British Empire. This is one reason why the Colony of South Carolina was so important for trade in the Empire and made it a target of Clinton and Parker in the Summer of 1776. Below are excerpts from a paper that was written about the economic effect of rice in the Southern Colonies of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina by Mindy last fall. We hope that this will explain the economic impact that the port of Charelston had for the Colonist and Empire.

     One of the key questions is when did rice start to become a possibility for people to make a profit off of its cultivation in the Royal Colonies of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. This first export of rice as a trade good out of South Carolina can be attributed to John Stweart when he shipped in 1690 “one and one fourth Barrel of rice to Jamaica” Black rice page 84. “This export of rice continued to grow to over 330 tons in 1699.” Thus the stage was set for the rice cultivation to continue to grow as long as suitable field and labor could be acquired to grow it. How was the Low Country able to go from such small production to such massive production in such a short time? This can be attributed to several key geographic factors of the Low Country that are similar to that of Western Africa. One is the ready abundance of water in the Low Country through swamps, marshes, streams, and rivers that can be used to help form rice fields as was also found in certain parts of Western Africa. When rice is planted it is planted in fields full of fresh water. This water has to be none moving water so that the seeds can take hold in the wet soil. This is accomplished by building canals, dikes, and other water control devices to help control the flow of water in to and out of the fields. Once the rice takes hold then the tides can be used to control the flow of water in and out of the fields. Rice was such a valuable crop in South Carolina that “the East Branch of the Copper River measured more than 55 miles long and had on it over 12 miles of dikes built for the cultivation of rice” 93 black rice. In Africa minimal labor was needed because they were growing for themselves, while in the Low Country they were growing for and developing large rice plantations for large amounts of exports to Europe and the Caribbean trade.

     This brings us to the labor force that was needed to make rice cultivation a profitable and manageable with the delicacy of knowing how to plant the rice, how to maintain it, and how to harvest it. This information was not a very well know subject matter to the Europeans who settled the Low Country of South Carolina along the coast. Instead they turned their hope and their futures to the very people who’s hope and future they has stolen when they forced them into bondage as slaves. Slave owners knew that rice could become a very profitable crop out of the Low Country but they need the labor with an already ingrained knowledge of how to clear field to prepare for rice cultivation and how to manage the field with a steady water supply so as to not dislodge the delicate plants.

      In Georgetown , South Carolina “Ronert Mills obsereved that in Georgetwon Everything is fed on rice;horse and cattle eat the straw and bran; hogs, fowl, &c. are sustained by the refuse; and man subsists on the marrow of the grain” Sc rice plantation page 7.

     With this information you can tell how much time and money was spent by the locals and the goverement to build up rice production in the Low Country and why Charleston  was an important economic center for the British Empire.