Siege marker unveiled

Mark Maloy, dressed in a replica Revolutionary War uniform, unveils the Siege of Charleston marker Wednesday during a ceremony at Marion Square, as Douglas Doster (from left), Marilyn Altman and John Ramsey look on.

About 100 Charleston historians and other interested onlookers gathered Wednesday on the western side of Marion Square to unveil a new historical marker commemorating the Siege of Charleston.

The event was held on the 230th anniversary of American Gen. Benjamin Lincoln's surrender to British Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis.

But the only conflict Wednesday were the bells of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, which occasionally competed for attention with the speakers.

Six thousand patriots surrendered at the end of the 42-day British siege, making it one of the lowest points for the patriots in the Revolutionary War. But it also set in motion a series of battles across the state that eventually led to the British surrender at Yorktown.

Author and historian Carl Borick said that while some patriots carried themselves better than others during the siege --and while their surrender was humiliating -- the new marker gives all of them some redemption.

Mark Maloy, 25, a local history buff and National Park Service intern at Fort Sumter National Monument, successfully rallied local heritage groups around the new marker. He wore a patriots' soldier uniform during the ceremony and said he hopes the marker would stir new interest in a lesser-known part of the city's past.

"Nobody realizes what happened here," he said. "A lot of these guys' stories have been lost."

Almost 100 patriots were killed during the siege, while 140 were wounded. British troops had 76 killed and 189 wounded.

Author Mary Coy said the Lowcountry's contribution to the United States's founding included not only important battles such as the siege but also four signers each of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

"It has taken 230 years to open this new chapter of South Carolina's rightful place in the history of our nation," she said.