The American Revolution in South Carolina

Sullivan's Island

April 8, 1780


Patriot Cdr:

Col. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
British Cdr:

Vice-Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot
Killed:

0
Killed:

27
Wounded:

0
Wounded:

Unknown
Captured:

0
Captured:

0
Old District: 

Charles Town District
Present County:

Charleston County

A British naval squadron detachment, consisting of Roebuck, Richmond, Romulus, Blonde, Virginia, Raleigh, Sandwich (armed ship) and Renown, passed the heavy guns of Fort Moultrie, commanded by Col. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, with the loss of 27 men, and the loss of Aeolus, an ordnance ship which went aground and was burned. Richmond's foretop mast was shot away. The flotilla then anchored off Fort Johnson, the move having marked a major breach in the American defenses, because now the enemy was inside Charlestown Harbor right offshore the city's defenses.

Lt. Anthony Allaire:

"Saturday, 8th. But little firing from the Rebels. Rainy, disagreeable morning. The rebels were reinforced with thirteen hundred men last night, commanded by a Gen. Scott. They fired a feu de joie, and rang all the bells in town on the occasion. About four o'clock this afternoon the fleet hove in sight, coming up under full sail with a fresh breeze at south west, and passed Fort Moultrie -- the Rebel fort that they boasted of on Sullivan's Island, which no fleet could ever pass. They were but a few minutes passing. What damage is sustained we have not yet learned. The Richmond lost her fore top-mast; a cutter lay opposite the fort all the time the fleet was passing, with a flay hoisted to point out the channel. A heavy cannonade from the Rebels' batteries, which the shipping returned as they passed with a spirit becoming Britons."

De Brahm:

"Last night the [British] enemy commenced a battery of six pieces. All our workmen employed making traverses. A quarter of an hour before sun-set, the English fleet passed Fort Moultrie, under a heavy fire on both sides, and anchored in a line near Fort Johnson. Nobody wounded or killed in Fort Moultrie. The fleet consisted of the following vessels: -- One of 50 guns, two of 40, four frigates, two vessels armed en flute, and two other smaller ones; one of these armed en flute grounded on a band called "The Green."

William Dobein James:

"On the 7th, twelve sail of the enemy's ships passed Fort Moultrie, under a heavy fire. The garrison had been assiduous in preparing for defence; the old works were strengthened, and lines and redoubts were extended from Ashley to Cooper river. A strong abbatis was made in front, and a deep, wet ditch was opened from the marsh on one side, to that on the other, and the lines were so constructed as to rake it."



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