General William Moultrie


By: Illustrious McDonald "Don" Burbidge, 33°

From a sketch by the late Dr. James Moultrie, Sr., with annotations by A. S. Salley, Jr., we learn that Dr. John Moultrie, the Emigrant and the progenitor of the Moultrie family of South Carolina, was born at Culross, Shire of Fife, Scotland. He was a physician of eminence and a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He came to Charles Town, S. C., anterior to 1729 in which year his name appears among the signatures of the original founders of the St. Andrew’s Club, now called St. Andrew’s Society. He was born 1702, died in 1771, his first wife’s name was Lucretia Cooper. He and his wife gave birth to the following children: John (Royal Lieut. Governor of East Florida), William (Major General in American Revolution), James (Chief Justice East Florida), Thomas (Captain in American Revolution).

The most distinguished member of the Moultrie family is Major General William Moultrie, some of whose descendants are found in the Brailsford family of South Carolina. The life and achievements of General Moultrie are too well known to be listed. As a memorial to this famous South Carolinian a tablet was erected in the vestibule of St. Philip’s Church located on Church Street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina which is the town he and his men so bravely defended during the Revolutionary war.

General Moultrie is also credited with designing and making the South Carolina State flag as we know it today. In his, "Memoirs of the American Revolution," General Moultrie writes "A little time after we were in possession of Fort Johnson (15th September, 1775) it was thought necessary to have a flag for the purpose of signals (as there was no national or State flag at the time). I was desired by the Council of Safety to have one made; upon which, as the State Troops were clothed in blue, and the fort was garrisoned by the First and Second Regiments, who wore a silver crescent on the front of their caps, I had a large blue flag made with a crescent on the dexter corner, to be in uniform with the troops. This was the first American flag, which was displayed in South Carolina. On its being first hoisted, it gave some uneasiness to our timid friends, who were looking forward to a reconciliation; they said it had the appearance of a declaration of war; and Capt. Thornborough, in the Tamar sloop of war, lying in Rebellion Road, would look upon it as an insult and a flag of defiance, and he would certainly attack the fort; but he knew his own force, and knew the weight of our metal; he therefore kept his station and contented himself with spying on us."

November 23 - William Moultrie is born in Charleston, South Carolina.

1749 – William Moultrie marries Elizabeth Demaris de St. Julian

Served as a militia Captain in Lt. Colonel James Grant's Cherokee Expedition.

1774 – Elected to the 1st Continental Congress, but was unable to serve.

June 17 - Commissioned a Colonel in the 2nd South Carolina Regiment at the age of 45.

March – Colonel William Moultrie is ordered by the President of the General Assembly John Rutledge to supervise the building of a large fort later known as Fort Moultrie.

June 28 - Commands Fort Sullivan at the during the First Battle of Charleston.

September 16 - Commissioned a Brigadier General in the Continental Army.

February 3 - Commands at Beaufort with about 300 militia, mostly citizens of Charleston and Beaufort , South Carolina.

May 11-12 – General Moultrie help organized Charleston’s defenses when General Prevost threatened the city.

May 12 - Captured following the, "Siege of Charleston" by the British

May 17 – General Moultrie places his magazine of gun powder in the "Exchange Building" located on Broad Street for safe keeping from the British armies. After the Revolutionary war ended General Moultrie went back to the Exchange Building and found his gun powder still in the place he left it for safe keeping..

February - William Moultrie is exchanged.

October 15 - Promoted to Major General.

Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Serves as South Carolina Lieutenant Governor.

Elected to his first term as Governor of South Carolina.

Elected to the South Carolina State Senate


Elected First President of the Society of the Cincinnati for the State of South Carolina along with 113 other officers of the Revolutionary war.

Elected to his second term as Governor of South Carolina.


Retires from public office.

Publishes his, "Memoirs of the American Revolution."

September 27 – Passes away in Charleston, South Carolina.

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