On this day 235 years ago, 400 ordinary Americans citizens stood up against the most powerful military in the world, and won. The Battle of Ft. Moultrie began today, June 28, 1776. Bolstered by a love of liberty, these few South Carolinians endured the terror and shelling from the King’s Navy. I wrote about this important moment in American history at Pajamas almost two years ago:
American volunteers are huddled tightly behind their wood and mud parapets. Lurking just offshore are nine terrifying ships of the line — the Bristol, Syren, Active, Experiment, Solebay, Sphinx, Friendship, Actaeon and the Thunder. Combined, these warships commanded 300 heavy cannon, almost a gun for every American hiding behind the wood and mud walls. The two sides exchanged cannon fire throughout June 28, 1776. The British fired off 32,000 pounds of powder and the Americans only 5,000. But the fort’s soft Palmetto logs cushioned the cannonballs and the thick mud and sand walls absorbed the exploding bombs.
The outcome of the battle was both improbable and essential to the Patriot cause:
Prior to the victory at Ft. Moultrie, General Washington had enjoyed little success in the north. The improbable American victory at Ft. Moultrie in June 1776 lifted patriot spirits across the colonies. Word of the outcome reached the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Members of Congress saw that passionate Americans could actually defeat the king’s navy and they adopted the Declaration of Independence later that week.
On this day, a few dedicated and ordinary Americans were able to defeat a mighty King through ingenuity, dedication, and most of all a love of liberty.