Charleston and Sullivan's Island on Saturday will mark the 238th anniversary of an improbable American Revolutionary victory.
Carolina Day is the annual commemoration of the Battle of Sullivan's Island at Fort Moultrie. The battle, which took place just days before the Declaration of Independence, kept British forces from capturing the port of Charleston.
"They were outgunned 10 to one and outmanned," said Dom Campagna, a member of the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historic Trust's board. "It proved for the first time the British could be beaten."
The June 28, 1776, battle is commemorated in Charleston and on Sullivan's Island every year. Entry to Fort Moultrie is free from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, with musket and cannon firing demonstrations at half-hour intervals beginning at 10 a.m. Revolutionary War re-enactors will be on hand to give tours of the fort and tell visitors about the battle.
At 11 a.m., 46 flags will be raised over Fort Moultrie in honor of South Carolina national guardsmen who have been killed in action during the War on Terror. Those flags will be folded by Boy Scouts and presented to the families of the deceased guardsmen at a 6:30 p.m. ceremony.
"The first guys were on that wall in 1776, and these guys are still fighting for our freedom," Campagna said.
The ceremony will be followed by a 7 p.m. performance by the 246th Army Band.
On the peninsula, there will be a church service commemorating the battle at St. Michael's Church, also at 10 a.m., at which Dr. Chip Bragg will speak. Bragg, a medical doctor and historian, published a biography of William Moultrie in 2013. Moultrie commanded the defense of the fort, and would later become a two-term governor of South Carolina.
The service will be followed by a procession down Meeting Street to the Jasper Monument in White Point Garden. The Jasper Monument was erected in honor of Sgt. William Jasper, a soldier in the Battle of Sullivan's Island.
When the Moultrie flag was shot down from the top of Fort Moultrie, Jasper tied one to a sponge staff - a cannon cleaning instrument - and held it atop the fort himself, in the midst of gun and cannon fire, until the flag could be secured. Gov. John Rutledge later presented Jasper with his personal sword in recognition of his bravery.
The celebration, just six days before Independence Day, is one of patriotism and state pride, particularly in Charleston, according to Virginia Ellison, events and outreach archivist for the South Carolina Historical Society.
"It really is a festive day. You have everyone flying South Carolina flags on Meeting Street," Ellison said, "Last year, it was remarkable how special it was."
Reach Amanda Coyne at 937-5592 or on Twitter at @AmandaCCoyne.
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