The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Jasper, William

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JASPER, William, American soldier: b. South Carolina, about 1750; d. Savannah, Ga., 9 Oct. 1779. At the commencement of the Revolutionary War he enlisted in the 2d South Carolina regiment, in which he became a sergeant. Subsequently, in the attack upon Fort Moultrie by a British fleet, he distinguished himself by leaping through an embrasure to the ground, under a shower of cannon balls, and recovering the flag of South Carolina, which had been shot off. Governor Rutledge presented him with his own sword and offered him a lieutenant's commission; this, however, Jasper declined, saying: “I am not fit to keep officers' company; I am but a sergeant.” His commander gave him a roving commission to scour the country with a few men and surprise and capture the enemy's outposts. His achievements in this capacity seem to belong to romance rather than history and in boldness equal any recorded in the Revolutionary annals of the Southern States. Prominent among them was the rescue by himself and a single comrade of some American captives from a party of British soldiers, whom he overpowered and made prisoners. At the assault upon Savannah he received his death wound while fastening to the parapet the standard which had been presented to his regiment. His hold, however, never relaxed, and he bore the colors to a place of safety before he died. A county of Georgia and a square in Savannah have been named alter him. Consult McGrady, ‘South Carolina in the Revolution’ (1901).