Potter flick world premiere bewitches Japanese audience

Daniel Radcliffe, who stars as Harry Potter, signs autographs Thursday for Japanese fans during the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in Tokyo.

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND -- Muskets and cannons boomed across the island Monday to commemorate the Battle of Fort Moultrie, one of the first defeats of British naval forces by the American colonists 234 years ago.

"I think it's great that this brings light to Charleston and South Carolina, for they had a role in fighting for our independence," said Jeff Jones, a park guide at the monument. "It wasn't just Boston or Yorktown that was involved."

Days before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Battle of Fort Moultrie took place on June 28, 1776. The Americans held off British forces for 10 hours.

Suffering from heavy losses, the British did not return to the fort for more than two years, said Ron Vido, a volunteer who portrayed a drummer from one of the colonial bands. "That's where it all happened, right there," Vido said, pointing to the coastline.

Jones, along with several others in various roles, took part in the re-enactments as he portrayed a commander who would lead troops in combat.

"All of us like history and it's great to represent something this important to this nation's history," said David Shepard, a volunteer portraying one of the state's regiments, the Carolina Rangers.

The day featured firing demonstrations of muskets and cannons at Fort Moultrie and Battery Jasper. Jones told the public how inaccurate, but still deadly, the muskets were, and how the different cannons had their own specific uses.

Shepard simulated a drill in which soldiers would ready their weapons and fire while remaining in a line. Later, they fired a three-pound cannon and then the louder, 18-pound cannon. "There's nothing better than firing black powder," Shepard said.

Rusty Denman, a local visitor, said he loves hearing the story of Fort Moultrie. "It's something that we can all be proud of," Denman said. "It's a great heritage for us."