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Carolina Day

Battle of Sullivan's Island
Sergeant W. Jasper raising the Liberty Flag during the Battle of Sullivan's Island
Painted by Johannes Adam Simon Oertel in 1858

Battle of Sullivan's Island June 28, 1776

Carolina Day is the annual commemoration the Battle of Sullivan's Island on June 28, 1776.

On June 28, 1776, a small band of South Carolina Patriots defeated the British Royal Navy in the Battle of Sullivan's Island. Troops, led by Colonel William Moultrie, were station at an incomplete palmetto log and sand fort near Breach Inlet. Soldiers defeated a British naval force of nine warships led by Commodore Sir Peter Parker as they attempted to invade Charlestown by way of the Harbor. After a nine-hour battle the ships were forced to abandon their efforts to occupy Charlestown. 

The Liberty Flag was designed by Colonel William Moultrie and waved by Sergeant William Jasper to rally the troops during the battle. This scene was famously painted by Johannes Adam Simon Oertel, a German-American artist.  The Liberty Flag became the basis for the Flag of South Carolina which bears an image of the same palmetto trees that were used to build Fort Moultrie. 

The anniversary of the victory was celebrated locally starting in 1777, when it was then known as Palmetto Day. The anniversary became know as Carolina Day in 1875. Fort Moultrie still holds a celebration each year to commemorate the victory over the British troops. 

Carolina Day 2020 Celebration

Sullivan’s Island to continue with Carolina Day event

The historical event commemorated each year on Carolina Day, June 28th, is the Battle of Sullivan's Island that took place on that date in 1776. Even though the entire conflict took place on the island and was one of the first great American victories of the Revolutionary War, little had been done on Sullivan’s Island to mark the event until last year when the town, along with Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, began to reestablish a commemoration to complement activities in downtown Charleston organized by the Palmetto Society.

This year Carolina Day is scheduled to be celebrated on Saturday, June 27th. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of activities planned for Carolina Day in downtown Charleston have been canceled.

Sullivan’s Island has made the decision to go ahead with a scaled down celebration that will take place on the plaza in front of Town Hall on Saturday morning, June 27th, at 9 AM. Activities will include raising of the Moultrie flag, a proclamation by Mayor Patrick O’Neil, participation by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a remembrance of the life of William Moultrie.

All citizens, including students of all ages, interested in learning more about the first significant event in Sullivan's Island history are encouraged to attend the ceremony on June 27th. Social distancing should be maintained at this outdoor event. Attendees are strongly encouraged to consider wearing masks.

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Battery Gadsden Cultural Center is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the history and culture of Sullivan’s Island