Carolina Day celebrates the past at Fort Moultrie

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) - Hundreds of years after the first gunshots rang out the Lowcountry is still commemorating a local battle that helped shape our nation.

On this day in 1776, a group of American revolutionaries stationed in a fort of Palmetto trees and sand on a small island in Charleston harbor held off a 9-ship fleet of the British Navy for hours, turning them back and preventing the capture of Charleston.

The group was led by Cols. William Moultrie, the island's namesake, and William Thomson.

The day is marked by the playing of "Three Blind Mice" on the church bells at St. Michael's Episcopal Church at noon.

This early patriot victory was the first in the American fight for independence and stopped the British from gaining a foothold into South Carolina for another four years. Park officials say this year marks the 237th anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan's Island.

On Friday, living historians will portray members of the 2nd South Carolina regiment with 18th century weapons demonstrations, medical programs, children's musket drills and camp life as it was back in 1776.

Carolina Day starts at Fort Moultrie at 10 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m.

There was also a special church service at St. Michael's in downtown Charleston, followed by a parade through the city to White Point Garden where a wreath-laying ceremony was held.