Battle of Sullivan's Island

The Battle of Sullivan's Island or the Battle of Fort Sullivan was fought on June 28, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War. It took place near Charleston, South Carolina, during the first British attempt to capture the city from American forces. It is also sometimes referred to as the First Siege of Charleston, owing to a more successful British siege in 1780.

The British organized an expedition in early 1776 for operations in the rebellious southern colonies of North America. Delayed by logistical concerns and bad weather, the expedition reached the coast of North Carolina in May 1776. Finding conditions unsuitable for their operations, General Henry Clinton and Admiral Sir Peter Parker decided instead to act against Charleston. Arriving there in early June, troops were landed on Long Island (now called Isle of Palms), near Sullivan's Island where Colonel William Moultrie commanded a partially constructed fort, in preparation for a naval bombardment and land assault. General Charles Lee, commanding the southern Continental theater of the war, would provide supervision.

The land assault was frustrated when the channel between the two islands was found to be too deep to wade, and the American defenses prevented an amphibious landing. The naval bombardment had little effect due to the sandy soil and the spongy nature of the fort's palmetto log construction. Careful fire by the defenders wrought significant damage on the British fleet, which withdrew after an entire day's bombardment. The British withdrew their expedition force to New York, and did not return to South Carolina until 1780.

Background

When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, the city of Charleston in the Province of South Carolina was a center of commerce in southern North America. The city's citizens joined other colonists in opposing the British parliament's attempts to tax them, and militia recruitment increased when word arrived of the April 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord.[3] Throughout 1775 and into 1776, militia recruits arrived in the city from the colony's backcountry, the city's manufacturers and tradesmen began producing war material, and defensive fortifications began to take shape around the city.[4]

British operations

British army forces in North America were primarily tied up with the Siege of Boston in 1775. Seeking bases of operations where they had more control, the British planned an expedition to the southern colonies. Major General Henry Clinton, then in Boston, was to travel to Cape Fear, North Carolina, where he would join with largely Scottish Loyalists raised in the North Carolina backcountry, and a force of 2,000 men from Ireland under the command of Major General Charles Cornwallis.[5]

The plan was beset by difficulties from the start. The Irish expedition, originally supposed to depart at the beginning of December 1775, was delayed by logistical difficulties, and its 2,500 troops did not depart until February 13, 1776, escorted by 11 warships under the command of Admiral Sir Peter Parker.[6][7] Clinton left Boston on January 20 with two companies of light infantry, and first stopped at New York City to confer with William Tryon, New York's royal governor.[8] Major General Charles Lee, sent by Major General George Washington to see to the defense of New York, coincidentally arrived there the same day as Clinton.[9] New York was at that time extremely tense; Patriot forces were beginning to disarm and evict Loyalists, and the British fleet anchored there was having difficulty acquiring provisions.[10] Despite this, Clinton made no secret that his final target was in the south. Lee observed that this was "certainly a droll way of proceeding; to communicate his full plan to the enemy is too novel to be credited."[11] This was not even the first notice of the expedition to the colonists; a letter intercepted in December had already provided intelligence that the British were planning to go to the South.[10]

Clinton arrived at Cape Fear on March 12, expecting to find the European convoy already there. He met with the royal governors of North and South Carolina, Josiah Martin and William Campbell, and learned that the recruited Scottish Loyalists had been defeated at Moore's Creek Bridge two weeks earlier.[12] Clinton also received pleas for assistance from the royal governor of Georgia, James Wright, who had been arrested, and then escaped to a navy ship.[13]

Parker's fleet had an extremely difficult crossing. Battered by storms and high seas, the first ships of the fleet did not arrive at Cape Fear until April 18, and Cornwallis did not arrive until May 3. After several weeks there, in which the British troops raided Patriot properties, Clinton, Cornwallis and Parker concluded that Cape Fear was not a suitable base for further operations.[14] Parker had sent out some ships on scouting expeditions up and down the coast, and reports on the partially finished condition of the Charleston defenses were sufficiently promising that the decision was made to go there.[15]

American defenses

John Rutledge, recently elected president of the General Assembly that remained as the backbone of South Carolina's revolutionary government, organized a defense force under the command of 46-year-old Colonel William Moultrie, a former militiaman and Indian fighter.[16][17] These forces comprised three infantry regiments, two rifle regiments, and a small artillery regiment; they were augmented by three independent artillery companies, and the total force numbered about 2,000.[18] These forces were further augmented by the arrival of Continental regiments from North Carolina and Virginia (1,900 troops), as well as militia numbering 2,700 from Charleston and the surrounding backcountry.[18]

Moultrie saw Sullivan's Island, a sandy spit of land at the entrance to Charleston Harbor extending north about 4 miles (6.4 km) long and a few hundred yards wide,[19] as a place well suited to build a fort that could protect the entrance from intruding enemy warships. A large vessel sailing into Charleston first had to cross Charleston Bar, a series of submerged shoals lying about 8 miles (13 km) southeast of the city, and then pass by the southern end of Sullivan's Island as it entered the channel to the inner harbor. Later it would also have to pass the northern end of James Island, where Fort Johnson commanded the southeastern approach to the city.[20] Moultrie and his 2nd South Carolina Regiment arrived on Sullivan's Island in March 1776, and began construction of a fortress built out of palmetto logs to defend the island and the channel into Charleston Harbor.[21] The construction moved slowly; Captain Peter Horry of the Patriot naval detachment described the site as "an immense pen 500 feet long, and 16 feet wide, filled with sand to stop the shot".[22] The gun platforms were made of planks two inches thick and fastened with wooden spikes.[22]

Congress had appointed General Lee to command the Continental Army troops in the southern colonies, and his movements by land shadowed those of Clinton's fleet as it sailed south. Lee wrote from Wilmington on June 1 that the fleet had sailed, but that he did not know whether it was sailing for Virginia or South Carolina. He headed for Charleston, saying "[I] confess I know not whether I shall go to or from the enemy."[14] He arrived in Charleston shortly after the fleet anchored outside the harbor, and took command of the city's defenses.[14] He immediately ran into a problem: the South Carolina troops (militia or the colonial regiments) were not on the Continental line, and thus not formally under his authority. Some South Carolina troops resisted his instructions, and Rutledge had to intervene by proclaiming Lee in command of all South Carolina forces.[23]

Square-shaped Fort Sullivan consisted only of the completed seaward wall, with walls made from palmetto logs 20 feet (6.1 m) high and 16 feet (4.9 m) wide. The walls were filled with sand, and rose 10 feet (3.0 m) above the wooden platforms on which the artillery were mounted. A hastily erected palisade of thick planks helped guard the powder magazine and unfinished northern walls. An assortment of 31 cannon, ranging from 9- and 12-pounders to a few British 18-pounders and French 26-pounders, dotted the front and rear walls.[24] General Lee, when he had seen its unfinished state, had recommended abandoning the fort, calling it a "slaughter pen".[16] President Rutledge refused, and specifically ordered Colonel Moultrie to "obey [Lee] in everything, except in leaving Fort Sullivan".[25] Moultrie's delaying tactics so angered Lee that he decided on June 27 that he would replace Moultrie; the battle began the next day before he could do so.[26] Lee did make plans for an orderly retreat to Haddrell's Point.[27]

British arrival

The British fleet weighed anchor at Cape Fear on May 31, and arrived outside Charleston Harbor the next day.[28] Moultrie noticed a British scout boat apparently looking for possible landing points on nearby Long Island (now known as the Isle of Palms), just a few hundred yards from Sullivan's Island; troops were consequently sent to occupy the northern end of Sullivan's.[29] By June 8, most of the British fleet had crossed the bar and anchored in Five Fathom Hole, an anchorage between the bar and the harbor entrance.[30] With the fort on Sullivan's Island only half complete, Admiral Parker expressed confidence that his warships would easily breach its walls. Optimistically believing he would not even need Clinton's land forces, he wrote to Clinton that after the fort's guns were knocked out, he would "land seamen and marines (which I have practiced for the purpose) under the guns" and that they could "keep possession till you send as many troops as you think proper".[31]

The British fleet was composed of nine man-of-war ships: the flagship 50-gun Bristol, as well as the 50-gun Experiment and frigates Actaeon, Active, Solebay, Siren, Sphinx, Friendship and the bomb vessel Thunder, in total mounting nearly 300 cannon. The army forces in the expedition consisted of the 15th, 28th, 33rd, 37th, 54th, and 57th Regiments of Foot, and part of the 46th.[32][33] On June 7, Clinton issued a proclamation calling on the rebel colonists to lay down their arms. However, the inexperienced defenders fired on the boat sent to deliver it (which was flying a truce flag), and it was not delivered until the next day.[16] That same day, Clinton began landing 2,200 troops on Long Island. The intent was that these troops would wade across the channel (now known as Breach Inlet) between Long and Sullivan's, which the British believed to be sufficiently shallow to do so, while the fleet bombarded Fort Sullivan.[34]

General Lee responded to the British landing with several actions. He began reinforcing positions on the mainland in case the British were intending to launch an attack directly on Charleston.[35] He also attempted to build a bridge of boats to provide an avenue of retreat for the fort's garrison, but this failed because there were not enough boats to bridge the roughly one mile (1.6 km) channel separating the island from Charleston; the unwillingness of Moultrie and Rutledge to support the effort may also have played a role.[36] The Americans also constructed an entrenchment at the northern end of Sullivan's Island, which was manned by more than 750 men and three small cannons,[37][38] and began to fortify a guard post at Haddrell's Point on the mainland opposite Fort Sullivan.[39]

General Clinton encountered the first major problem of the attack plan on June 17. An attempt to wade the channel between the two islands established that part of the channel was at least shoulder-deep, too deep for troops to cross even without the prospect of enemy opposition.[40] He considered using boats to ferry the troops across, but the Americans, with timely advice from General Lee, adopted a strong defensive position that was virtually impossible to bombard from ships or the Long Island position.[41] As a result, the British and American forces faced each other across the channel, engaging in occasional and largely inconsequential cannon fire at long range. Clinton reported that this meant that Admiral Parker would have "the glory of being defeated alone."[23] The attack was originally planned for June 24, but bad weather and contrary wind conditions prompted Parker to call it off for several days.[31]

Battle

On the morning of June 28, Fort Sullivan was defended by Colonel Moultrie, commanding the 2nd South Carolina Regiment and a company of the 4th South Carolina Artillery, numbering 435 men.[18] At around 9:00 am that morning, a British ship fired a signal gun indicating all was ready for the attack.[42] Less than an hour later, nine warships had sailed into positions facing the fort. Thunder and Friendship anchored about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the fort while Parker took Active, Bristol, Experiment and Solebay to a closer position about 400 yards (370 m) from Sullivan's Island, where they anchored facing broadside to the fort. Each of these ships began to fire upon the fort when it reached its position, and the defenders returned the fire.[43] Although many of Thunder's shots landed in or near the fort, they had little effect; according to Moultrie, "We had a morass in the middle, that swallowed them up instantly, and those that fell in the sand in and about the fort, were immediately buried".[44] Thunder's role in the action was also relatively short-lived; she had anchored too far away from the fort, and the overloading of her mortars with extra powder to increase their range eventually led to them breaking out of their mounts.[45] Owing to shortage of gunpowder, Moultrie's men were deliberate in the pace of their gunfire, and only a few officers actually aimed the cannons. They also fired in small volleys, four cannon at a time. One British observer wrote, "Their fire was surprisingly well served" and it was "slow, but decisive indeed; they were very cool and took care not to fire except their guns were exceedingly well directed."[43]

Fort-Sullivan
A British engineer's map made following the engagement.

General Clinton began movements to cross over to the northern end of Sullivan's Island. Assisted by two sloops of war, the flotilla of longboats carrying his troops came under fire from Colonel William Thomson's defenses. Facing a withering barrage of grape shot and rifle fire, Clinton abandoned the attempt.[46]

Around noon the frigates Sphinx, Syren, and Actaeon were sent on a roundabout route, avoiding some shoals, to take a position from which they could enfilade the fort's main firing platform and also cover one of the main escape routes from the fort.[43] However, all three ships grounded on an uncharted sandbar, and the riggings of Actaeon and Sphinx became entangled in the process.[45] The British managed to refloat Sphinx and Syren, but Acteon remained grounded, having moved too far onto the submerged sandbar. Consequently, none of these ships reached its intended position, a piece of good fortune not lost on Colonel Moultrie: "Had these three ships effected their purpose, they would have enfiladed us in such a manner, as to have driven us from our guns."[44]

At the fort, Moultrie ordered his men to concentrate their fire on the two large man-of-war ships, Bristol and Experiment, which took hit after hit from the fort's guns. Chain shot fired at Bristol eventually destroyed much of her rigging and severely damaged both the main- and mizzenmasts.[47] One round hit her quarterdeck, slightly wounding Parker in the knee and thigh. The shot also tore off part of his britches, leaving his backside exposed.[48] By mid-afternoon, the defenders were running out of gunpowder, and their fire was briefly suspended. However, Lee sent more ammunition and gunpowder over from the mainland, and the defenders resumed firing at the British ships;[49] Lee even briefly visited the fort late in the day, telling Colonel Moultrie, "I see you are doing very well here, you have no occasion for me, I will go up to the town again."[50] Admiral Parker eventually sought to destroy the fort's walls with persistent broadside cannonades. This strategy failed due to the spongy nature of the palmetto wood used in its constructions; the structure would quiver, and it absorbed the cannonballs rather than splintering.[51] The exchange continued until around 9:00 pm, when darkness forced a cessation of hostilities, and the fleet finally withdrew out of range.[52]

Battle of fort moultrie
Depiction of the battle by John Blake White, 1826

At one point during the battle, the flag Moultrie had designed and raised over the fort was shot down. Sergeant William Jasper reportedly ran to the battlement and raised the flag again, holding it up and rallying the troops until a flag stand could be provided. He was credited by Moultrie with reviving the troops' spirits,[52] and later given commendations for bravery.[53] A painting of this event (pictured above) depicts Jasper's actions.

Counting casualties, Parker reported 40 sailors killed and 71 wounded aboard Bristol, which was hit more than 70 times with much damage to the hull, yards, and rigging. Experiment was also badly damaged with 23 sailors killed and 56 wounded. Active and Solebay reported 15 casualties each.[2] The Americans reported their casualties at only 12 killed and 25 wounded.[1] The following morning, the British, unable to drag the grounded Acteon off the sandbar, set fire to the ship to prevent her from falling into enemy hands.[54] Patriots in small boats sailed out to the burning ship, fired some of its cannons at the British ships, took what stores and loot they could, and retreated shortly before the ship's powder magazine exploded.[52]

Aftermath

FortMoultrieCharleston
Fort Moultrie looking into Charleston Harbor during the American Civil War.

The British did not attempt to take the fort again. Within days of the battle, Charlestonians learned of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.[53] The British troops were reembarked on their transports, and on July 21 the British fleet withdrew northward to help the main British army in its campaign against New York City. To add insult to injury, one of the British transports grounded off Long Island and was captured by Patriot forces.[55]

The British did not return to Charleston until 1780, when General Clinton successfully besieged the city and captured an entire army.[2] Until the South again became a focus of the war in late 1778, its states provided military supplies to the northern war effort and produced trade goods that brought in valuable hard currency to fund the war effort.[56]

Admiral Parker and General Clinton engaged in a war of words after the battle, each seeking to cast the blame on the other for the expedition's failures. Although Clinton was not blamed by the government, popular opinion held him responsible, and Parker was lauded for his personal bravery.[55]

Legacy

Battle-of-sullivans-island-monument-sc1
Monument on Sullivans Island

Fort Sullivan was renamed Fort Moultrie shortly after the battle to honor Colonel William Moultrie for his successful defense of the fort and the city of Charleston.[57] Extensively modified in the years after the battle, it was supplanted by Fort Sumter as the principal defense of Charleston prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War.[58] In 1876, to celebrate the centennial, companies from Savannah, Augusta, Macon, Columbia, New York and Boston were invited to Charleston.[59] The site was turned over to the National Park Service in 1960, and is now part of Fort Sumter National Monument.[60][61]

A small monument to the Battle of Sullivan's Island has been placed at the northeastern tip of the island, overlooking the inlet where General Clinton's soldiers had hoped to cross. The monument includes historical markers describing the events surrounding the engagement.

One iconic emblem of the battle was the flag designed by Colonel Moultrie. Commissioned by the colonial government, he designed a blue flag with a white crescent in the top left corner, which was flown at the fort during the battle.[26] Despite being shot down during the siege, it was seen as a symbol of this successful defense (and famously raised during victory). It came to be known as the Moultrie flag or Liberty Flag. When Charleston (lost to the British in the 1780 siege) was reclaimed by American forces at the end of the war, the flag was returned to the city by General Nathanael Greene.

Beginning on the first anniversary of this victory in 1777 Charlestonians and South Carolinians celebrate "Carolina Day" annually to commemorate this first major victory of American Forces over the British. Each year local events include a parade in downtown Charleston and reenactments at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Russell (2002), p. 220
  2. ^ a b c Morrill, p. 25
  3. ^ Stokely, pp. 8–9
  4. ^ Stokely, pp. 9–13
  5. ^ Russell (2000), p. 79
  6. ^ Wilson, p. 37
  7. ^ Russell (2000), p. 85
  8. ^ Russell (2002), pp. 92–98
  9. ^ Russell (2002), p. 90
  10. ^ a b Russell (2002), p. 96
  11. ^ Russell (2002), p. 98
  12. ^ Wilson, p. 36
  13. ^ Montgomery, pp. 54–55
  14. ^ a b c Ward, p. 670
  15. ^ Russell (2002), p. 160
  16. ^ a b c Russell (2000), p. 90
  17. ^ Russell (2002), p. 131
  18. ^ a b c Ward, p. 672
  19. ^ Russell (2002), p. 87
  20. ^ Wilson, p. 43
  21. ^ Russell (2002), p. 123
  22. ^ a b Stokely, p. 15
  23. ^ a b Ward, p. 673
  24. ^ Russell (2000), p. 88
  25. ^ Russell (2002), p. 199
  26. ^ a b Wilson, p. 48
  27. ^ Fort Moultrie Centennial, Part 1. Charleston, SC: Walter, Evans & Cogswell. 1876. p. 10. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  28. ^ Russell (2002), pp. 162,167
  29. ^ Stokely, pp. 17–18
  30. ^ Russell (2002), pp. 123,179–180
  31. ^ a b Wilson, p. 47
  32. ^ Morrill, p. 19
  33. ^ Russell (2002), p. 209
  34. ^ Russell (2000), p. 91
  35. ^ Russell (2002), pp. 184–185
  36. ^ Wilson, p. 45
  37. ^ Russell (2000), p. 92
  38. ^ Russell (2002), p. 212
  39. ^ Russell (2002), p. 187
  40. ^ Morrill, p. 22
  41. ^ Wilson, p. 46
  42. ^ Russell (2002), p. 204
  43. ^ a b c Ward, p. 674
  44. ^ a b Wilson, p. 49
  45. ^ a b Russell (2002), p. 209
  46. ^ Russell (2002), pp. 212–213
  47. ^ Russell (2002), p. 222
  48. ^ Wilson, p. 50
  49. ^ Russell (2002), p. 215
  50. ^ Wilson, p. 51
  51. ^ Russell (2002), p. 217
  52. ^ a b c Wilson, p. 52
  53. ^ a b Wilson, p. 55
  54. ^ Russell (2002), p. 223
  55. ^ a b Wilson, p.54
  56. ^ Wilson, p. 56
  57. ^ Stokely, p. 7
  58. ^ Stokely, pp. 18–43
  59. ^ Fort Moultrie Centennial, Part II. Charleston: Walker, Evans & Cogswell. 1876. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  60. ^ Stokely, p. 72
  61. ^ "National Park Service: Fort Sumter National Monument". National Park Service. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2010.

References

  • Montgomery, Horace (ed) (2010) [1958]. Georgians in Profile: Historical Essays in Honor of Ellis Merton Coulter. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 978-0-8203-3547-6.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Morrill, Dan (1993). Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution. Baltimore, MD: Nautical & Aviation Publishing. ISBN 978-1-877853-21-0. OCLC 231619453.
  • Russell, David Lee (2000). The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-0783-5. OCLC 248087936.
  • Russell, David Lee (2002). Victory on Sullivan's Island: the British Cape Fear/Charles Town Expedition of 1776. Haverford, PA: Infinity. ISBN 978-0-7414-1243-0. OCLC 54439188.
  • Papas, Phillip. Renegade Revolutionary: The Life of General Charles Lee (New York University Press; 2014) 402 pages;
  • Stokely, Jim (1985). Fort Moultrie, Constant Defender. Washington, DC: National Park Service. ISBN 978-0-912627-27-4. OCLC 13401937.
  • Ward, Christopher (1952). The War of the Revolution. New York: MacMillan. OCLC 214962727.
  • Wilson, David K (2005). The Southern Strategy: Britain's Conquest of South Carolina and Georgia, 1775–1780. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-573-9. OCLC 232001108.
1st North Carolina Regiment

The 1st North Carolina Regiment of the Continental Army was raised on September 1, 1775, at Wilmington, North Carolina (originally authorized by the North Carolina Provincial Congress as state troops but on November 28, 1775 it became part of the Continental Army per direction of the Continental Congress). In January 1776 the organization contained eight companies. Francis Nash was appointed colonel in April 1776. The regiment was present at the defense of Charleston in 1776. It transferred from the Southern Department to George Washington's main army in February of 1777. At that time, Thomas Clark became colonel of the 1st Regiment. The unit became part of Nash's North Carolina Brigade in July.

2nd North Carolina Regiment

The 2nd North Carolina Regiment was an American infantry unit that was raised for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. In 1776 the regiment helped defend Charleston, South Carolina. Ordered to join George Washington's main army in February 1777, the regiment subsequently fought at Brandywine and Germantown during the Philadelphia Campaign. After most other North Carolina regiments were sent home to recruit, the 1st and 2nd Regiments remained with the main army and fought at Monmouth in June 1778. The regiment was transferred to the Southern Department and was captured by the British army in May 1780 at the Siege of Charleston. Together with the 1st Regiment, the unit was rebuilt and fought capably at Eutaw Springs. The 2nd was furloughed in April 1783 and officially dissolved in November 1783.

2nd South Carolina Regiment

The 2nd South Carolina Regiment was raised on June 6, 1775, at Charleston, South Carolina, for service with the Continental Army.

6th South Carolina Regiment

The 6th South Carolina Regiment (2nd Rifle Regiment) was authorized on 28 February 1776 in the South Carolina State Troops and was organized during the spring of 1776 as five companies of volunteers from the northwestern region of the colony of South Carolina. It may have been composed exclusively of expert riflemen from the colony.

70th (Surrey) Regiment of Foot

The 70th (Surrey) Regiment of Foot was a regiment of the British Army, raised in 1756. Under the Childers Reforms it amalgamated with the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot to form the East Surrey Regiment in 1881.

Campaign streamers of the American Revolutionary War

Campaign streamers of the American Revolutionary War are a set of campaign streamers that military units participating in designated actions are allowed to display. The basic American Revolutionary War streamer is scarlet with a white center stripe, and a golden yellow inscription identifying the action. Scarlet is the color of the mother country and the white stripe symbolizes the virgin land of the new country separated from its former sovereign by force of arms.

Participation in the following actions in the American Revolutionary War qualifies a military unit's standard to include a campaign streamer with the given designation:

Lexington: The Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775

Ticonderoga: The Capture of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775

Boston: The Siege of Boston, from April 19, 1775 to March 17, 1776

Quebec: The Invasion of Quebec, from August 28, 1775 to July 1776

Charleston: The Battle of Sullivan's Island (near Charleston, South Carolina) on June 28, 1776

Long Island: The Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776

Trenton: The Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776

Princeton: The Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777

Saratoga: The Saratoga campaign, from July 30 to October 17, 1777

Brandywine: The Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777

Germantown: The Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777

Monmouth: The Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778

Savannah: The Capture of Savannah on December 29, 1778

Savannah: The Siege of Savannah, from September 16 to October 10, 1779

Charleston: The Siege of Charleston, from March 29 to May 12, 1780

Camden: The Battle of Camden on August 16, 1780

Cowpens: The Battle of Cowpens on January 17, 1781

Guilford Court House: The Battle of Guilford Court House on March 16, 1781

Yorktown: The Siege of Yorktown from September 28 to October 19, 1781

Charles Edmund Nugent

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Edmund Nugent (c.1759 – 7 January 1844) was a Royal Navy officer. He saw action as a junior officer in the 50-gun Bristol at the Battle of Sullivan's Island during the American Revolutionary War. He was held as a prisoner-of war for a day by Spaniards shortly before the Battle of San Fernando de Omoa later on in the War.

Nugent served in the naval brigade in the invasions of Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Guadaloupe during the French Revolutionary Wars and, when William Cornwallis assumed command of the blockade of Brest, Nugent was selected to serve as his Captain of the Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. He never commanded any fleet or naval station but did rise to the highest rank in the Navy.

Charleston Bar

Charleston Bar is a series of submerged shoals lying about eight miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, United States.

Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie is a series of fortifications on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, built to protect the city of Charleston, South Carolina. The first fort, formerly named Fort Sullivan, built of palmetto logs, inspired the flag and nickname of South Carolina, as "The Palmetto State". The fort was renamed for the U.S. patriot commander in the Battle of Sullivan's Island, General William Moultrie. During British occupation, in 1780–1782, the fort was known as Fort Arbuthnot.

Fort Moultrie is the only area of the National Park System where the entire 171-year history of American seacoast defense (1776–1947) can be traced.

Francis Nash

Francis Nash (c. 1742 – October 7, 1777) was a brigadier general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Prior to the war, he was a lawyer, public official, and politician in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and was heavily involved in opposing the Regulator movement, an uprising of settlers in the North Carolina piedmont between 1765 and 1771. Nash was also involved in North Carolina politics, representing Hillsborough on several occasions in the colonial North Carolina General Assembly.

Nash quickly became engaged in revolutionary activities, and served as a delegate to the first three Patriot provincial congresses. In 1775, he was named lieutenant colonel of the 1st North Carolina Regiment under Colonel James Moore, and served briefly in the southern theater of the Revolutionary War before being ordered north. Nash was made a brigadier general in 1777 upon Moore's death, and given command of the North Carolina brigade of the Continental Army under General George Washington. He led North Carolina's soldiers in the Philadelphia campaign, but was wounded at the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777, and died several days later. Nash was one of ten Patriot generals to die from wounds received in combat between 1775 and 1781. He is honored by several city and county names, including those of Nashville, Tennessee; Nashville, North Carolina; and Nash County, North Carolina.

HMS Bristol (1775)

HMS Bristol was a 50-gun Portland-class fourth-rate ship of the line, built for the Royal Navy in the 1770s. She served as a flagship during the Battle of Sullivan's Island, Charleston, South Carolina in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War and later participated in the 1783 Battle of Cuddalore during the Anglo-French War of 1778–83. By 1787 the ship had been converted into a church ship. Converted into a prison ship in 1794, Bristol instead served as a hospital ship until she was broken up in 1810.

HMS Siren (1773)

HMS Siren (or Syren) was a 28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. Siren was first commissioned in August 1775 under the command of Captain Tobias Furneaux, her only commanding officer.

John Willett Payne

John Willett Payne (23 April 1752 – 17 November 1803) was an officer of the Royal Navy who also served as a close friend, advisor and courtier to Prince George before and during his first regency. Payne was notorious as a rake and scoundrel, but was also a Member of Parliament and noted for his bravery in several military actions during the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolutionary Wars. Out of favour in his later years, Payne was reconciled with the Prince in 1799, but died whilst still in the service aged 51, from an illness which developed during blockade operations in the Western Approaches.

Minor American Revolution holidays

The following are minor or locally celebrated holidays related to the American Revolution.

Peter Horry

Peter Horry (1743 – 28 February 1815) was a planter of Huguenot descent and a South Carolina militia leader. On June 12, 1775, the Provincial Congress of South Carolina elected twenty captains to serve in the 1st and 2nd South Carolina Regiments, which on September 16, 1776, were taken on the Continental Establishment as the 1st and 2nd Regiments, South Carolina Line. Peter Horry was elected one of those captains, and receiving the fifth highest vote, was ranked fifth of the twenty and assigned to the 2nd Regiment.

Sullivan's Island, South Carolina

Sullivan's Island is a town and island in Charleston County, South Carolina, United States, at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, with a population of 1,791 at the 2010 census. The town is part of the Charleston metropolitan area, and is considered a very affluent suburb of Charleston.

Sullivan's Island was the point of entry for approximately 40 percent of the 400,000 enslaved Africans brought to British North America; it has been likened to Ellis Island, the 19th-century reception point for immigrants in New York City. During the American Revolution, the island was the site of a major battle at Fort Sullivan on June 28, 1776, since renamed Fort Moultrie in honor of the American commander at the battle.

On September 23, 1989, Hurricane Hugo came ashore near Sullivan's Island; few people were prepared for the destruction that followed in its wake. The eye of the hurricane passed directly over Sullivan's Island. The Ben Sawyer Bridge was a casualty, breaking free of its locks. Before the storm was over, one end of the bridge was in the water and the other was pointing skyward. Sullivan's Island police chief, Jack Lilien, was the last person to leave the island before the bridge gave way.

Thomas Clark (North Carolina)

Thomas Clark (August 1741 – 25 December 1792) was an American officer from North Carolina who fought in the American Revolutionary War.

Thomas Williams (Royal Navy officer)

Admiral Sir Thomas Williams GCB (c. 1761/62 – 8 October 1841) was a senior British Royal Navy officer of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, who served in numerous theatres during the American Revolutionary War, French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. As a young officer he fought at a number of battles in the Caribbean and as a frigate captain he was knighted for his actions at the Action of 8 June 1796 in which two French frigates were captured without a single man killed or wounded on Williams' ship HMS Unicorn. Later in his career, Williams commanded squadrons blockading the European coast and assisting the supply of the British Army during the Peninsula War.

William Jasper

William Jasper (circa 1750 – October 9, 1779) was a noted American soldier in the Revolutionary War. He was a sergeant in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment.

Jasper distinguished himself in the defense of Fort Moultrie (then called Fort Sullivan) on June 28, 1776. When a shell from a British warship shot away the flagstaff, he recovered the South Carolina flag in the Battle of Sullivan's Island, raised it on a temporary staff, and held it under fire until a new staff was installed. Governor John Rutledge gave his sword to Jasper in recognition of his bravery.

In 1779, Sergeant Jasper participated in the Siege of Savannah, led by General Lincoln, which failed to recapture Savannah, Georgia, from the British. He was mortally wounded during an assault on the British forces there.

Sgt. Jasper's story is similar to that of Sgt. John Newton. Several states have adjacent counties named Jasper and Newton, as these were remembered as a pair, due to the popularity of Parson Weems' memorializing early American history. Several other states have a Jasper County with a county seat of Newton, or vice versa.

Southern theater
1775–1779

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