Also known as the liberty flag, the Moultrie flag is considered a strong symbol of the southern role in the American Revolution. With a deep blue background, the Moultrie flag features a bold white text across the bottom and there is a white crescent-looking symbol on the top hoist-side corner.
During the Revolutionary War, some of the soldiers carved the word as a fashionable modification. Another addition that was made later to the flag was of a palmetto tree that actually symbolised the heroic defence of Colonel Moultrie.
In 1755, the Moultrie flag was created by Colonel William Moultrie when he was commanded to take over the Johnson Fort in South Carolina.
The safety council of South Carolina actually wanted to salute the British warships with a flag to show that they are now in possession of the fort.
The Patriots were thrilled with the raising of the Fort Moultrie Flag. Some soldiers who hoped for a peaceful resolution with Great Britain, however, were also upset when the flag was raised. They believed that the British captain would look at the flag as an act of defiance and will immediately attack the fort but that never happened.
Colonel Moultrie’s troops started building Fort Sullivan in March 1776 in order to defend the entrance of Charleston Harbour. A wall of palmetto logs and sand was built that was not yet finished when a British fleet arrived.
On 28th June 1776, ten warships sailed to Charleston and bombarded Fort Sullivan. Once again, the soldiers elevated the Moultrie flag in defiance. The British warships bombarded the whole day, but it did little damage to the fort as the palmetto logs inclined to absorb the force like a sponge. The rest of the impact was absorbed by the sand.
During the bombardment, the Moultrie flag was broken by a cannon shot. A young Sergeant William Gasper ran outside the fort, risking his life and allegedly crying “we can’t fight without a flag”. The young man replanted the Moultrie flag on the wall, thus making himself a renowned youth in the American revolution.
The Fort Sullivan was later renamed Fort Moultrie in honour of Colonel William Moultrie who had commanded the heroic defence. The colonel was then promoted to General, and the sergeant William Jasper was presented with a dress sword from the president of the South Carolina Assembly.
The current flag of South Carolina is based on the original Moultrie flag. The only difference is that the word “liberty” is not included and a palmetto tree has been added to the centre of the blue field.
This addition was done during the American Civil War when many variations of the Moultrie Flag were used. Of these variations, the one with the palmetto tree in the centre was eventually adopted by the state.
The original Moultrie flag with the word “liberty” still remains the official flag of Moultrie County, South Carolina.