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Episode 19 – Fort Moultrie National Park, SC

Episode 19
Fort Moultrie National Park

Photo- U.S. Mint America The Beautiful Quarters

 

Fort Moultrie National Park has seen many courageous men and women stand on its grounds. Yet, every once in a while, there is one person who comes along, so courageous, brave and fearless their heroic spirit spans the years.  That one valiant act can change the world around us and make a monumental difference; we are inspired to step forward and make a difference too.

On this episode of Quarter Miles Travel we tell the story of one man whose bravery, over 200 years ago, set in motion, experiences we continue to hold as courageous today.  Sergeant William Jasper gathered his fallen regiment flag and rushed forward in the face of firing guns and cannons.  He didn’t stop to think but acted on the desire to make sure his fellow soldiers kept fighting to save the island and port of Charleston.

History has many stories to tell and heroes to honor. And, while I love to find stories that tell us more about things we thought we already knew, I also love a stories of the human spirit to fight on for what you believe, to pull yourself up when you think you can’t go any further.  To step forward when the situation may tell you to stay still.  It is that spirit that my guest Nathan Betcher, National Park Service Historian at Fort Moultrie shares with you.   

On the South Carolina Commemorative Quarter, issued in 2016 by the U.S. Mint, the reverse side features Sergeant William Jasper, racing forward with the slightly tattered but still in tact, regiment flag.  His bravery and courageous act is a story for the ages.  I ask Nathan Betcher, how William Jasper’s actions paved the way for a fort on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina to become Fort Moultrie and part of many U.S. military operations.  As you listen to the podcast, you’ll see how General Moultrie becomes endeared to the local people.

The star of the U.S. Mint Commemorative Quarter is George William Jasper, who enlisted in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment on July 7, 1775.  His valiant act of rallying his fellow soldiers happens during the battle on Sullivans Island on June 28, 1776.  As British ships are moving into Charleston, the action taking place around Sullivan’s Island is heavy.  When enemy shots from the British Royal Navy bring down the fort’s flag, Jasper did not hesitate,  He grabs the flag, attaches it to an artillery Spong staff signaling to the regiment, to fight on….. this battle is not over.  They fought on and were successful in defending Sullivan’s Island and Charleston Harbor.  

His commitment was revered and his legacy continues to stand today.  Cities and counties around the country bear his name.  

He is buried in Savannah, GA and a stature to honor him is located in Madison Square.  

But, you have to listen to see how the Fort on Sullivan’s Island…. became Fort Moultrie, honoring the colonel!  

During my conversation with Nathan, we talk about the Pest houses on Sullivan’s Island which were used to house ill human cargo before moving to Charleston markets to be auctioned and sold into slavery.  Sick and diseased people both enslaved and sailors arriving from the voyage, were housed on Sullivan’s island  to be separated from healthy people.  

The enslaved Africans remained there until they were considered fit and healthy enough for auction.  This was around 10 days many would be auctioned at eh Slave Mart on Chalmers St. 

When visiting the island you will find a placemarker and a black iron bench, placed there by the Toni Morrison Society on July 26, 2008 as part of her Bench by the Road project.    

Fort Moultrie
The “Bench By The Road” project initiated by Toni Morrison.

Fort Moultrie Photos

Fort Moultrie National Park
Palmetto Trees growing along the shore of Sullivan’s Island.

 

Fort. Moultrie
Overlooing the ground around Fort Moultrie
Fort Moultrie
Sullivan’s Island was the first port of entry for enslaved Africans entering the colonies.

 

Fort Moultrie National Park
Nathan Betcher

 

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