Carolina Day might just be the biggest holiday you’ve never heard of.
It’s kind of a big deal amongst the locals, who celebrate it this weekend. Carolina Day is June 28th, although tomorrow – Saturday, June 27th – is when area doings take place. More about that in a minute.
What is Carolina Day All About?
It commemorates the Battle of Sullivan’s Island – the first time that American colonists decisively defeated the British in their fight for independence. This shocking victory happened on June 28, 1776 – about a week before the Declaration of Independence was signed. The momentum helped sweep the Colonies toward freedom.
British warships were swarming in off the coastline. The Royal Navy and the British Army under Cornwallis were trying to take the Fort Sullivan on Sullivan’s Island, and thus Charleston, in an attempt to gain a foothold in the American colonies.
A brave group of patriots from the Carolinas and Virginia turned back the British forces, even though they were outnumbered ten to one. The 2nd South Carolina Regiment under command of Colonel William Moultrie positioned themselves at Fort Sullivan on Sullivan’s Island and lead the fight.
Official commemorations of the holiday began all the way back in 1777. So in reality, Carolina Day is one of America’s original holidays. Fort Sullivan was renamed Fort Moultrie in the Colonel’s honor, and he went on to become a two-time governor of South Carolina.
You can visit Fort Moultrie today. It’s part of the National Park Service, as a unit of Fort Sumter National Monument and is located at 1214 Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island.
This Year’s Commemoration During COVID
Traditionally, the Palmetto Society plans and sponsors several doings in downtown Charleston to commemorate the holiday. They include a special church service at St. Michael’s Church at 71 Broad Street, followed by a procession down to White Point Gardens at The Battery. There they lay a wreath at Jasper Monument. Sergeant William Jasper was a hero in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. When the fort’s flag was shot down, he hoisted another and held it in place amidst raging gun and cannon fire.
However, this year, due to the coronavirus, downtown activities have been cancelled. Thankfully, they are still planning to celebrate on Sullivan’s Island itself, sponsored by the Town and the Battery Gadsden Cultural Center.
Here are the details…
- Location: outdoors on the plaza in front of Sullivan’s Island Town Hall;
- Saturday morning, June 27‘“, at 9 a.m.;
- Raising of the Moultrie flag;
- A Carolina Day proclamation by Sullivan’s Mayor Patrick O’Neil;
- Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution taking part;
- a remembrance of William Moultrie;
- Everyone is welcome; please practice social distancing and wear masks if possible.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger
photo credit: SC Historical Society