William Moultrie

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William Moultrie
William Moultrie.jpg
35th Governor of South Carolina
In office
February 11, 1785 – February 20, 1787
Lieutenant Charles Drayton
Preceded by Benjamin Guerard
Succeeded by Thomas Pinckney
In office
December 5, 1792 – December 17, 1794
Lieutenant James Ladson
Preceded by Charles Pinckney
Succeeded by Arnoldus Vanderhorst
10th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
In office
February 16, 1784 – February 11, 1785
Governor Benjamin Guerard
Preceded by Richard Beresford
Succeeded by Charles Drayton
Personal details
Born (1730-11-23)November 23, 1730
Charleston, South Carolina
Died September 27, 1805(1805-09-27) (aged 74)
Charleston, South Carolina
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
United States of America
Service/branch South Carolina Militia
Continental Army
Years of service 1761, 1775 – 1783
Rank Major General
Unit 2nd South Carolina Regiment
Battles/wars Anglo-Cherokee War
American Revolutionary War
*Battle of Sullivan's Island
*Siege of Savannah
*Siege of Charleston

William Moultrie (/ˈmltr/; November 23, 1730 – September 27, 1805) was a general from South Carolina in the American Revolutionary War. Later he served as the 35th Governor of South Carolina


The William Moultrie Monument stands in White Point Garden in Charleston, South Carolina.

Moultrie was born in Charleston, South Carolina.His parents were Dr. John and Lucretia Cooper Moultrie. He fought in the Anglo-Cherokee War (1761) and served in the colonial assembly representing St Helena's parish before the advent of the American Revolution.[1]

In 1775 he was commissioned colonel of the 2nd South Carolina Regiment. In December of that year he led a raid on an encampment of runaway slaves on Sullivan's Island, killing 50 and capturing the rest.

In 1776 his defense of a small fort on Sullivan's Island (later named Fort Moultrie in his honor) prevented Sir Henry Clinton and Sir Peter Parker from taking Charleston, South Carolina.

The Continental Congress passed a resolution thanking Moultrie. He was promoted to brigadier general and his regiment was taken into the Continental Army.

Moultrie's skill failed to prevent the fall of Savannah, Georgia to the British in 1778. He was captured in the fall of Charleston to the British in 1780 and later exchanged. He was promoted to major general in 1782, the last man appointed to that rank by Congress.

After the war he served as the 35th Governor of South Carolina (1785–87, 1792–94). He wrote Memoirs of the Revolution as far as it Related to the States of North and South Carolina (1802).

The Moultrie Flag
Fort Moultrie, in 2006


After the war, the fort he had defended was renamed Fort Moultrie, continuing to function as a pivotal defense point until supplanted by Fort Sumter. Fort Moultrie was an active post of the United States Army from 1798 until the end of World War Two.

The Moultrie Flag[edit]

During his famous defense of the fort that would someday bear his name, a flag of Moultrie's own design was flown: a field of blue bearing a white crescent with the word LIBERTY on it.

Shot down during the fight, then held aloft by a Sergeant William Jasper to rally the troops, it became iconic of the Revolution in the South. It came to be known as the Moultrie Flag, or the Liberty Flag, and was incorporated in the Flag of South Carolina, as well as being used alongside the Gadsden flag in the modern liberty movement.

Grave of William Moultrie.


  1. ^ Fort Moultrie Centennial, Part I. Charleston, SC: Walker, Evans & Cogswell. 1876. p. 8. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bragg, C.L. Crescent Moon Over Carolina: William Moultrie and American Liberty (University of South Carolina Press; 2013) 336 pages

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Beresford
Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
1784 – 1785
Succeeded by
Charles Drayton
Preceded by
Benjamin Guerard
Governor of South Carolina
1785 – 1787
Succeeded by
Thomas Pinckney
Preceded by
Charles Pinckney
Governor of South Carolina
1792 – 1794
Succeeded by
Arnoldus Vanderhorst