On June 28, South Carolinians will celebrate the 238th Carolina Day, commemorating the Battle of Sullivan's Island. On June 28, 1776, an assault by combined British naval and military forces was made to seize Charles Town, at the time the fourth largest city in British North America, but far and away the wealthiest city in Britain's American empire.
A small force of Carolina patriots responded to this attack; they included South Carolinians, North Carolinians and Native Americans - all commanded by Col. William Moultrie and Col. William "Danger" Thomson.
Defending Breach Inlet and Fort Sullivan, a partially completed palmetto fort, the Carolinians defied the odds and successfully repelled the invasion force. Their spectacular victory against the might of the British Empire - the most powerful military force in the world at the time - dampened British hopes for quickly subduing the rebellion in the American colonies and greatly strengthened the patriots' resolve for independence.
The Carolina Day celebration was born of this great victory. On June 28 we urge South Carolinians and visitors to our state to come to White Point Garden and take part in a traditional community celebration, which is in many ways similar to that first Carolina Day in 1777.
Church bells will sound in Charleston and on Sullivan's Island. At 10 a.m. that morning, a service of thanksgiving will take place at St. Michael's Church. Following the service, historic organizations will gather at Washington Park and at 11 a.m. they will parade down Meeting Street to the Sgt. Jasper monument at White Point Garden for a wreath-laying ceremony.
Under the shade of the live oaks, Dr. Chip Bragg, author of the first and only substantial biography of William Moultrie, will give the annual address, followed by a concert by the Charleston Community Band.
The celebration of Carolina Day is not limited to the peninsula. Those interested may visit Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island where re-enactors from the Second South Carolina Regiment and a Revolutionary War medical team will encamp and give demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., ending with a 7 p.m. concert from the 246th Army Band.
As always, please fly your state flag on Carolina Day; it really inspires all of us to see a field of blue on this special day. All citizens are welcome to join us on June 28 to celebrate why this hard-fought victory is an essential part of our state's role in securing the freedoms we enjoy today.
Charles W. Waring III