Carolina Day

IMG_2034June 28th is the annual celebration of Carolina Day, the anniversary of the victory over the British at Sullivan’s Island in 1776. Shortly after South Carolina had declared independence from England, troops were sent to Sullivan’s Island to build a fort overlooking the entrance to Charleston harbor to protect the city from the English fleet that was sent to take it back. The fort, called Sullivan’s Fort, was built out of palmetto logs packed with sand, the most abundant materials on Sullivan’s Island. These proved advantageous when the British attacked, as the guns of the English ships found that their projectiles were smothered in the soft core of the palmettos and the sand. In the famous instance pictured, a British shell shot away the South Carolina regiment flag, and sergeant William Jasper jumped atop the log and sand parapet to restore the colors and rally the defenders to drive the attackers away. The flag was blue with a crescent in the Dexter corner that was copied from the crescent emblem on the regimental caps of the 2nd South Carolina. That crescent is copied from the throat-protector from knights’ armor called the gorget, which was a popular symbol of military protection in the 18th century.
The anniversary of the battle day is celebrated in Charleston with a parade of groups of men and women from various historic organizations dressed in period costume that begins at Washington Park and proceeds down Meeting Street to White Point Garden, where replica cannons are fired near the monuments to Jasper and Sullivan’s Fort commander Col. William Moultrie.
And by the way, Sullivan’s Island is Sullivan’s Island, not “Sullivan’s” as is currently the fashion among newcomers to Charleston.

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