Useful and Appropriate: Cockades and Bazaars

Have you ever donated money to a fund that helps our soldiers and received a "Support Our Troops" ribbon to wear? Or maybe you've participated in a raffle for a donated item, knowing the raffle money was going veterans.

The idea of buying donated items at bazaars to support the troops is not new. Hundreds of these fairs were held across America during the Civil War. The simplest affairs were basic booths of items to buy. But many bazaars combined these booths with entertainment and education as well. They became great social events where participants might go to socialized, have their fortune told, hear concerts, skate on a summertime ice rink (how up-to-date and exciting!), and more.

And yes, they could buy a cockade as well!

This photo is a booth from one of the largest of these bazaars, the Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair in 1864.

This fascinating website gives you an interactive page to see photos and read newspaper accounts of the various displays in the fair. There were vendors for everything from books to candy to furniture to art, florals, and jewelry.

The fair lasted two weeks and proceeds - over $550,000! - benefited wounded soldiers and people displaced by the war.

Useful and Appropriate

There is a fun section in Little Women that tells a fictitious story of one of these fairs. May, one of the girls in the Little Women family, has some gentleman friends who want to support her booth by buying her items. This humorous paragraph pictures the fellows' predicament as they blew their money on feminine frills - and then had no idea what to do with them!

"The Empty Purse" by James Collinson
"To May's great delight, Mr. Laurence not only bought the vases, but pervaded the hall with one under each arm. The other gentlemen speculated with equal rashness in all sorts of frail trifles, and wandered helplessly about afterward, burdened with wax flowers, painted fans, filigree portfolios, and other useful and appropriate purchases."

This painting called "The Empty Purse" or "At the Bazaar" is set a little earlier in the 1850s, but it shows us some of the many items that would have been available. A doll, some pictures, a floral arrangement, embroidered slippers waiting to be "made up," suspenders and a hat are just a few of the "novelties" the poor lady can't purchase because she apparently spent all her money!

...And Cockades!

You may be wondering what all this has to do with cockades. Well, the answer is that two of my favorite original cockades were items that were sold at just such a bazaar!

The Relic Room in Columbia, SC has a number of items related to the Grand Bazaar held at the State House in 1865. Here's a fascinating young lady's diary entry about it:

"Jan. 18th. - Well, our great bazaar opened last night, and such a jam! I was at the State house helping to arrange the tables until four o'clock so I was thoroughly tired. There are seven booths in the House (of Representatives) South Carolina, at the Speaker's desk, is the largest, and on either side are Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Missouri. In the Senate are North Carolina, at the Desk, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. The tables or booths are tastefully draped with damask and lace curtains, and elaborately decorated with evergreens. To go in there one would scarce believe it was war times. The tables are loaded with fancy articles - brought through the blockade, or manufactured by the ladies. Everything to eat can be had if one can pay the price - cakes, jellies, creams, candies - every kind of sweets abound. A small slice of cake is two dollars - a spoonful of Charlotte Russe five dollars, and other things in proportion. Some beautiful imported wax dolls, not more than twelve inches high, raffled for five hundred dollars, and one very large doll I heard was to raffle for two thousand. "Why" as Uncle John says, "one could buy a live negro baby for that." How can people afford to buy toys at such a time as this! However I suppose speculators can. A small sized cake at the Tennessee table sold for seventy-five dollars."

Sherman was on the march at that point, and the diary notes that rumor said he intended to attend the Grand Bazaar himself! (No word on whether he offered to buy anything.)

In the absence of the modern government assistance we are used to, the ladies of the 1860s stepped up to provide wartime relief themselves. These fairs and bazaars were amazing monuments to the organizational powers of women - as well as to their ability to create "useful and appropriate" items for sale!

From Insurance to Empire: Cockades of Fraternal Orders

From providing life insurance for firemen to plotting a North-South American empire, fraternal organizations had a huge impact on the Victorian era.

Fraternal orders were popular from the 1700s through the early 1900s. Freemasons are probably one of the most well-known and oldest fraternal organizations (a number of American founders were Freemasons). But there were hundreds of other orders founded as well. Some were merely for socializing and financial support of the members' families. Others had deep-laid and secret plans for empire-building.

All of them had unique rites - and cockades!

Masonic Hat Cockade

Empire Building

The Freemasons claim to be the oldest order in America, starting in Europe previous to the Revolution. Contrary to popular books and movies, the Freemason society had little to do with the Revolution itself, as rebellion against the state is against the society's principles. However, Freemasonry had a great deal to do with the establishment of the new United States, as the order's ideals of freedom and equality became founding national principles.

As the young nation grew, more fraternal societies formed - and political factions formed as well. In the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s, a couple of orders in particular were created that were destined to have major impact on America's future: the Southern Rights Club and the Order of the Lone Star. One was destined to birth the secession movement, and the other won Texas from Mexico. Both of them were precursors to the Knights of the Golden Circle, an organization with mighty aims.

A Texas member of the Knights of the Golden Circle, with cockade.
DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

The KGC and Secession

Before the Civil War even started, the KGC had its first Confederate victory - in Texas. Trained KGC troops under the command of Col. Ben McCulloch, forced the surrender of the federal arsenal at San Antonio in February 1861.

The Knights, comprised of local chapters called "castles,"  had originally formed in order to create a southern empire including Cuba, Central America, Mexico and the Southern United States. At the outbreak of the Civil War, they abandoned this aim and instead joined forces with the Confederate army. Their influence for secession was undoubtedly major.

A fascinating (and Union-biased) "Exposition of the KGC" published in 1861 reports the following: "All the principle castles now put on their holiday garments, and men were heard in the streets to thank God that the 'hour for Southern deliverance had come.'...No sooner had the news of the election of Lincoln been received, than every Knight in Charleston mounted a cockade on his hat and ran through the streets shouting, 'GLORY! we are free! we are independent!'"

In addition to the Southern "castles," the Knights were the primary force behind many Copperhead movements throughout the North and West. In fact, Southerners planned on the aid of these Knights to quickly win the war. The "Exposition" observed:

"At no time previous to the bombardment of Fort Sumter was it presumed that the number of men to be counted on from the North would fall below 100,000 and with these, and the assistance of Northern capitalists, Northern engineers, manufacturers, etc., together with the heavy drafts to be made on the U. S. Treasury and the U. S. Arsenals, it was confidently apprehended as nothing more than a breakfast spell to 'clean out the Abolitionists,' capture the Capital at Washington, and kick Uncle Sam into nonenity."

The KGC aims died with the Southern cause, but the KGC organization lasted until the death of its members in the early 1900s.  Besides many Confederate generals and officials, famous members of the KGC included John Wilkes Booth and Jesse James.

Insurance and Social Clubs

Fraternal organizations with benign aims existed as well. After the war, a "Golden Age of Fraternalism" occurred, continuing into the early 1900s. Some sources believe that at least 50% of the male population belonged to at least one fraternal organization during this time. The goals of the orders were as varied as the orders themselves: insurance, politics, social functions, and heritage. In general, an order's aim was to provide aid and socialization for its members.

The Grand Army of the Republic was formed for Union veterans to continue their wartime camaraderie. The United Confederate Veterans served the same purpose.

The Knights of Pythias was formed for insurance and aid purposes. The Order of the Elks (now the Elks Lodge) was originally created as a social club in New York. The Woodmen of the World was an insurance and aid organization, and continues as an insurance company to this day. In addition to these well-known orders, thousands of small and local fraternities were created for socialization and aid for firemen, coal miners, factory workers, and more.
Knights of Columbus hat with cockade

The Orders Today

The Great Depression hit the fraternities hard, many people not being able to afford extras like membership fees and insurance. Then government welfare and commercial insurance companies took the place of many fraternities devoted to aid. Some dissolved and others simply turned into insurance companies themselves.

However, military and patriotic fraternities gained members during the World Wars and many continue to this day. Orders for charity and aid still exist as well, such as the Knights of Columbus or the Fraternal Order of Police.

The legacy of the Victorian orders continues through modern times in insurance companies, unions, college fraternities, and heritage organizations. And if you look at their badges and cockades, many of them still retain the original symbolism of the fraternal orders!

Temperance Cockades 1840-1860

Prior to the 19th century, drunkards were often considered hopeless addicts. And heavy alcohol consumption was considered standard behavior by many. That began to change in the early 1800s.

America was a new nation still fighting for legitimacy in the first decade of the 1800s. But once peace was established with European nations, Americans could turn their thoughts homeward and consider improving themselves.

Many of America's reform movements began in the 19th century. Temperance was no exception. Reformers and preachers began to weigh in against the sin of drunkenness and for the first time, people began to seriously consider helping alcholics beat their addiction.

Enter the Temperance Movement.

Temperance Fraternities

One of the earliest Temperance societies was the Washingtonian Society, formed by six alcoholics who decided to meet together for mutual encouragement to avoid strong drink. Their format of regular meetings to share stories and encouragement actually foreshadowed the modern Alcoholics Anonymous program.

The Washingtonians grew and their impact was huge, becoming one of the largest movements in America. Men would lecture around the country telling their own stories about what life is like when abusing alcohol, challenging their audiences to take the abstinence pledge. By 1841 Washingtonians claimed over 200,000 members, and by 1842 they had over one million. (US total population in 1842 was only 17 million)

Their success encouraged other Temperance societies such as the Sons of Temperance (and the spin-off Daughters of Temperance). These societies required their members to sign a pledge of abstinence and they worked hard to make more converts. The clubs were also fraternal in nature, meaning that they often provided health insurance and burial costs for members, as well as care for widows (assuming the member had "stayed clean!"). Newly joined addicts who had taken the pledge to abstain were often helped to find jobs and housing. Temperance fraternities were a safety net as well as a reform movement.

Son of Temperance, holding the society's
pledge and wearing the regalia with cockade.
Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

Spreading the Movement

The cause of Temperance quickly grew and became popular throughout the country, North to South and East to West. Even in California, Temperance groups existed in the 1840s.

Though the modern stereotype of white Southerners often makes them out to be alcohol abusers, a case can be made that the movement was even stronger in the South than the North. For instance, slave states members made up 44% of the Sons of Temperance in 1850 - but note that the Sons did not admit African Americans, and the South only represented 32% of the nation's total white population.

As the movement grew, Temperance societies began to link their abstinence idealogy to religion. Unlike the Washingtonians who purposely had no religious dogma, later societies often tied a person's spirituality to their commitment to Temperance. Further, radicals in the Temperance movement began to call for Prohibition, a complete outlawing of liquor in the country.

Not only was the "gospel" of Temperance preached, it was also written. T.S. Arthur **(editor and publisher of Arther's Home Magazine) wrote a widely read book called Ten Nights in a Barroom and What I Saw There. Other authors followed suit with books, pamphlets and cartoons illustrating the evils of alcoholism.

So what happened?

The Temperance movement's first wave withered with the advent of the Civil War. The issue of slavery became more important to reformers and Temperance was given a back seat, not to be revived until the 1870s. It would be this second wave that eventually realized the goal of complete Prohibition.

Temperance Cockades

Naturally what got me interested in this fascinating episode of history was the cockades! One of my customers suggested I research the topic of Temperance rosettes. I had no idea that my research would end up answering a question I long held about one of my own photographs! I had been puzzled by this beautiful photo of a couple in regalia. After comparing the many descriptions of Temperance cockades and collars, I've come to realize that they are most likely wearing Sons and Daughters of Temperance regalia. Mystery solved!

Many of the Temperance societies had their own regalia and almost all pre-1860 societies included cockades of some sort.  Here are some examples from various society rule books.

"The members of this Association shall furnish, at their own expense, a small white silk rosette, with a blue centre, of a fixed and uniform size..."
United Brothers of Temperance, 1847

"The regalia for a member of the National Division shall be a blue velvet collar, with a rosette of red, blue and white; gold button in the centre of rosette; two gold tassels suspended from rosette..."
Journal of the Proceedings of the National Division of the Sons of Temperance, 1844

"The Independent Order of Rechabites appeared in full regalia, preceded by an excellent band of musicians. Their regalia was a white satin collar, with a rosette of white, blue and scarlet ribbon, where it united in front."
Journal of the American Temperance Union 1840s

You'll notice a common color scheme - red, white and blue cockades. A quick look at Temperance posters from the era show many of the cockades had tassels. Though they were generally worn on a special collar, at least one poster shows a lady simply wearing the cockade on her breast.

Need A Temperance Cockade?

Naturally I couldn't fail to offer my customers cockades for such a worthy cause!

If you need a Temperance cockade, or a cockade for any other worthy cause, purchase below or contact me directly for a custom order!

Cockades in the American Revolution

The American army was founded on June 14, 1775 by order of the Continental Congress. A few weeks later, George Washington was named the first Commander in Chief of the Army. His job not only included fighting the British nation from which we were seceding. He also had to take a motley assortment of state militias, privately raised regiments, and volunteers from around the colonies and meld them into one unified fighting machine.

Washington at the Battle of Princeton, by Don Troiani.
Note Washington's staff have colored cockades showing their rank

Colors for Rank

One of Washington's first orders in the summer of 1775 after taking command, was that cockades would be worn by officers to show rank. He designated that “the field officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats, the captains yellow or buff, and the subalterns green.” This easy and cheap method of identifying officers (instead of buying new uniforms for everyone) saved the Colonies' lean budgets.

King George III, by Sir William Beechey.
Note the black cockade on his hat

Black Cockades

America became an independent nation when we seceded from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Before that, we were a colony of Great Britain. The cockade of King George of the House of Hanover was black. Thus the national British cockade was also black.

Even though America was at war with Great Britain, they still felt an affinity for their mother nation. After all, many of them were born there and still had relatives there. In fact, when George Washington's army was camped at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778, the officers were still officially toasting King George. It was natural that an American military cockade would be the Hanoverian color black. So, after the brief period of using colored cockades for rank, the army reverted to wearing black.

George Washington, by John Trumbull.
Note the black and white cockade on his hat

Black and White Cockades

America needed allies in the war with Great Britain, then the reigning power of the seas. The United States signed the Treaty of Alliance with France on February 6, 1778 and French troops entered the American War for Independence. At first their participation was mostly on the seas, but by 1779 they were landing troops on American soil.

The national cockade of France was white. In 1780, as a symbol of the two nations’ alliance, General George Washington established that the American military cockade would be an Alliance Cockade – black with a white center. French troops likewise wore an Alliance Cockade of white with a black center.

This painting by John Trumbull shows the French troops (left) and the American troops (right) at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis - all wearing the Alliance Cockades.

The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, by John Trumbull

A black and white Southern cockade from the Civil War.
American Civil War Museum.

Symbol of Attachment

The black and white cockade became an emblem of the American War for Independence for many years after the war ended. Even during the Civil War eighty years later, the occasional black and white cockade was worn as a reminder of America's first War for Independence.

A Philadelphia newspaper said on July 4, 1798, “It has been repeatedly recommended, that our citizens wear in their hats on the day of Independence, the American Cockade, (which is a Rose, composed of black ribbon, with a white button, or fastening) and that the Ladies should add to the attraction of their dress...this symbol of their attachment to the government.”

Mourning Cockades

Votes For Women: Suffragette Badges

On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution. It declares: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Controversy and Division 

The movement that would create this amendment had its roots 80 years earlier. In the 1840s, the American women's rights movement began and the first women's rights convention was held in Seneca Falls in 1848. The most controversial resolution of the convention was that supporting women's suffrage. In the end, only 1/3 of the attendees signed the resolution supporting women's suffrage, in spite of the fact that people such as Frederick Douglas argued in favor of it. But as time went on, the issue became a solid plank of the women's rights movement. Two national women's suffrage organizations were eventually established in 1869. One was led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the other by Lucy Stone. There was violent rivalry between the groups for decades.

Unity and Militancy

Eventually in 1890 the two groups joined forces under the leadership of Susan B. Anthony.

For many years, the women's suffrage movement worked through the political and court systems. But progress was slow. In 1916 the National Woman's Party was formed, a militant group that engaged in picketing, chaining themselves to the White House fence, and hunger strikes to gain attention for their cause. These methods proved effective, and the Nineteenth Amendment was passed just four years later, in 1920.

American Women's Suffragette Badges. NWHM.
Suffragette Badges

The British militant group, the Women's Social and Political Union, formed in 1908. One of the actions of the WSPU was to have a permanent affect on women's jewelry and accessories: They purposely chose a noticeable, attractive color scheme for the women's suffrage cause.

A brilliant tricolor theme was chosen for the WSPU activities. Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, co-editor of the weekly newspaper Votes for Women, wrote in 1908:

Rosette belt. Museum of London.
Purple as everyone knows is the royal colour. It stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity…white stands for purity in private and public life…green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring.

The colours enable us to make that appeal to the eye which is so irresistible. The result of our processions is that this movement becomes identified in the mind of the onlooker with colour, gay sound, movement, and beauty.

American and British suffragette badges shared the penchant for purple, but where British ladies paired it with green, American ladies added brilliant yellow. Both color schemes fulfilled their purpose: they were noticeable!

Suffragette Cockades

Many suffragette badges were simply metal lapel pins, but some were beautiful ribbon badges. I offer both American and British suffragette badges in my shop.

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Back to School With Copperheads

A few months ago Mr. Balcum, principle of the Middletown (Conn.) high school, expelled from the school a son of Samuel Babcock – a Democrat of the Copperhead stripe – for insisting on wearing a Copperhead badge, by order of his father, against the rule of the school. The father brought a suit against the teacher, and a justice imposed a fine on him, but the case was carried up, and the Supreme Court has reversed the decision. (Highland Weekly News, January 28, 1864)

There is, apparently, nothing new under the sun.

Especially in school.

Just as there are arguments today about whether students can wear patriotic or campaign items in school, the debate also raged during the Civil War.

Over 150 years ago, the 1864 election campaign was raging in the North. Children of Peace Democrats, or "Copperheads" wanted to wear their Lady Liberty and butternut badges to school.

Likewise, their War Democrat or Republican classmates insisted on wearing Union cockades. The resulting fracuses led to lawsuits, suspensions... and a great deal of fuming in the newspapers.

Consider some of these entertaining anecdotes I discovered concerning Copperheads in the schools.

The Definition of "Partisan Badge"

A few days since some difficulty arose among the pupils in the High School, caused by the wearing of a Copperhead badge by one of the scholars, who boasted that his father was in the Rebel army.

To offset his obnoxious exhibition the loyal children procured Union rosettes, pins, small flags, etc., with which to testify their regard for the Government.

The excitement spread into the common schools and presently the school board took the matter in hand. This body has a majority of Democrats. It met and decided that partisan badges should not be worn by the scholars, and then decided that all the Union badges were "partisan."

The Dayton Empire becomes the defender of this decision and goes so far as to say that the flags, etc., are "Abolition emblems." Think of that! A Democratic paper, the especial organ of the man whom the Democrats propose to nominate for Governor of Ohio, denouncing the Stars and Stripes, or rosettes of Red, White and Blue, as "Abolition Emblems' which are not to be tolerated! When such a standard of Abolition is set up, thank God, we are classed among the "Abolitionists." (Cleveland Morning Leader, April 23, 1863)

The System Stinks

One Democratic newspaper, after a scuffle in which some Copperhead children were expelled, sneered at the school system in general.

It has been seen that the Dayton Empire has advocated the right of the pupils to wear Copperhead badges if they choose. The Cincinnati Enquirer takes the same ground, and goes enough further to say:

"Looking upon the State machinery for what is called educating the sons of the people as much better calculated to perpetuate ignorance than to promote enlightenment, the only feeling we have of regret is occasioned by the fact that it was the sons of Abolitionists, rather than those of Democrats, who were expelled.

"As the teacher really did the boys a kindness by turning them out of the seminary, we suspect that if wrong was committed anywhere, it was upon those who were compelled to remain." (Cleveland Morning Leader, 29 April 1863)

Banning Teachers with Copperhead "Proclivities"

A young man from Nelson, Portage county, appeared in this village on Saturday last, who sported conspicuously on his coat, a Copperhead badge....He was accompanied by his sister, who was attending the Teachers' Examination, and who proved to be as strong a Copperhead as her brother.

Westfield Normal (Teachers) School, c. 1860
Betraying the "proclivities" by an excited advocacy of the cause, she was informed by Mr. Whitney, one of the Board of Examiners, that, unless she would take the oath of allegiance, she could receive no certificate. This she refused to do, and in default thereof, was directed to leave the class.—The action of the Board was in accordance with a decision of the State School Commissioner, and its justice is too obvious to require comment.

Brother and sister returned home, we doubt not fully convinced that Copperhead badges and Copperhead sentiments are at a great discount in Chardon. (Chardon Democrat, May 20, 1863)

Everybody Should Be Allowed

The Dayton Empire says, in respect to wearing badges in the common schools of that city:

"If one class of children are allowed to wear Abolition emblems, the other have the same right to wear Democratic emblems, and we hope they will exercise it, if they feel disposed."

The "Abolition emblems," mark it well, are the eagle buttons, the tri color, and the stars and stripes. The "Democratic emblems," are "copperheads" and "butternuts"....

Yes, and the "Copperhead" emblem, or "Badge of Liberty," "mark it well," is made of the head of the Goddess of Liberty, cut from a copper cent, with the word "Liberty" stamped across the top of the cap. (Dayton Daily Empire, 23 April 1863)


My reproduction Copperhead Badges is back in stock - with a lower price! This beautiful copper-plated replica of the original "Lady Liberty" badge is sure to be a conversation piece.

If you want more fun and helpful info about Copperheads in the 1860s, check out my info pack which is all primary source material on Copperheads. It includes a book of anti-Copperhead cartoons, a snide "Copperhead Catechism" and a compilation of newspaper anecdotes (like the ones above) about Copperheads.

Whether your sympathies are with the Republicans, War Democrats or Peace Democrats, there's a badge there for you! Get ready for the 1860s election season with your Copperhead - or Union Cockade!
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Carolina Day: Palmetto Trees & Cannon Balls

America celebrates the Independence Day on July 4, but South Carolina's Independence Day is actually June 28! That's because of an important battle that occurred on June 28, 1776. The events of "Carolina Day" had an effect on Southern cockades that lasted nearly a century - and an effect on American history that has lasted over 240 years!


Things weren't going very well for the Patriots in the early days of the American Revolution. Though there were some victories - such as the British being forced to evacuate Boston in March 1776 - there were some heavy losses as well. The Battle of Bunker Hill was one of the bloodiest battles in the entire war and the campaign to bring Canada over to the Patriots' side was a complete disaster.

However, the Patriots were gaining enough ground to worry the British. So the Brits decided to start a Southern campaign, beginning with the conquering of a Southern port.

Portal to the South

The South was a goldmine to whichever side could hold it. Southern commodities like tobacco, rice, indigo, and pine tree products made the South the richest area of the country.

Furthermore, the British felt that they had much stronger support from the Loyalists in the South than in the North. They didn't reckon on the strong Patriot contingent in the South as well.

As it turned out, the people of the Southern states were so deeply divided between Patriots and Loyalists that some of the hardest and bloodiest fighting of the war would occur there.

But General Henry Clinton and Admiral Parker knew nothing of what was to come. They initially headed for Cape Fear, NC to establish a port of entry for the British. This did not work out so the next stop was Charleston. Earlier reconnaissance had shown that the fortifications around Charleston were incomplete, making it an easy target - or so the British thought.

Spongy Wood and Cannon Balls (and Cockades)

In early June, nine British warships sailed into Charleston's harbor and troops were landed on Long Island. The idea was that the soldiers could wade ashore from there to the city while the ships bombarded into oblivion the half-complete fort on Sullivan's Island. The British miscalculated on both counts.

The water turned out to be too deep to wade. And the fort - well, the sand and palmetto logs used for constructing the walls simply absorbed the cannon balls! Because of this battle, palmettos have ever since been the symbol of South Carolina, and her patriotic cockades have often included palmetto fronds.

Meanwhile, the Patriots were low on ammunition so they made every shot count. They managed to significantly damage a number of the ships, plus the British accidentally grounded one ship.

The British had 220 killed and wounded; the Patriots had 12 killed and 25 wounded.

Oh, and the ship that was grounded? The Brits finally despaired of recovering her so they set her on fire. But the resourceful Patriots swam over and managed to turn the ship's guns on the British themselves - and then escape before the ship blew up!

Heroes of the Battle

Sergeant Jasper holding up the flag - painting by John Blake White, 1826
Colonel William Moultrie of the South Carolina militia commanded the Patriots on Sullivan's Island. As a result of his victory against overwhelming odds, the fort (which was finally finished) was named Fort Moultrie in his honor.

During the battle, the Patriots' spirits reportedly were flagging when the British shot down their flag. Sergeant William Jasper heroically grabbed the flag and held it up until a new flag staff could be mounted. His action brought new life to the fort's defenders and he has been immortalized throughout American history as a hero. (If you check your family tree, you may even have an ancestor named after him, like I have!)

Carolina Day

The Patriot victory on June 28 ensured that Charleston's port would be closed to the British until its eventual fall in 1780 - too late to turn the tide of the war. The Battle of Sullivan's Island was one of the first major victories for the American Patriots. And it provided an exclamation point to the Declaration of Independence, which would be signed less than a week later.

Carolina Day has been celebrated by lovers of freedom and American history ever since.
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