1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Moultrie, William

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MOULTRIE, WILLIAM (1730-1805), American soldier, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on the 23rd of November 1730. His father, a physician, and a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, migrated to Charleston before 1729. The son was elected to the Commons House of the Assembly in 1754, 1769 and 1772; and in 1760 he was captain of a provincial regiment in the expedition under Governor William H. Lyttelton against the Cherokees. Although he was connected by many ties to the British, he espoused the American cause on the outbreak of the War of Independence, and was a member of the first provincial congress (1775) of South Carolina, which in June made him a colonel of the Second South Carolina regiment; and he was a member of the second provincial congress (1775-1776). On Fort Johnson, on James Island in Charleston harbour, he raised what is said to have been the first American battle-flag blue, with a white crescent in the dexter corner, inscribed with the word “Liberty”; the flag was devised by him in September 1775. In March 1776 he took command of a palmetto fort which he had built on Sullivan's Island, off Charleston, which he held against the attack of Admiral Sir Peter Parker on the 28th of June, and which soon after the battle was renamed Fort Moultrie by the General Assembly. He was thanked by Congress, was made a brigadier-general in the continental army in September 1776, and was placed in command of the department of Georgia and South Carolina. He dislodged the British from Beaufort, South Carolina, in February 1779, and in April made it possible for the city of Charleston to put itself into a state of defence by delaying the advance of General Augustine Prevost. He was one of those who advised against the surrender of Charleston, where he commanded the garrison until the arrival of General Benjamin Lincoln. His imprisonment after the surrender of Charleston (May 1780) lasted until his exchange with others for General Burgoyne in February 1782. In October 1782 he was made a major-general. He was governor of South Carolina in 1785-1787 and in 1792-1794. He died in Charleston on the 27th of September 1805.

He wrote Memoirs of the Revolution so far as it Related to the States of North and South Carolina (2 vols., 1802).