Charlestonians gather to honor city's defenders on Carolina Day

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- There's nothing quite like cannons to draw attention to an important day in South Carolina's history.

"Carolina Day celebrates the first significant victory over the Royal Navy during the Revolution," participant Fred Auld said.

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.

The colonists signed the Declaration of Independence six days later.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people in South Carolina haven't heard about Carolina Day so we want to make sure they don't forget about it," Auld said.

"In history it means everything. It's a great day," participant Ed Ravenel said.

Charleston's Carolina Day celebration started with a church service at Saint Michael's Episcopal Church. Historical groups and participants then proceeded down Meeting Street in the community parade.

It ended with a ceremony at White Point Garden on the Battery.

"It's about boldness. It's boldness of people to leave jobs on a business day, boldness of people to leave homes and their responsibilities and get out as a community and celebrate our freedom and liberty," said Sam Howell of the Palmetto Society.

Participants fired four cannons after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Gardens.

"Get out as a community and celebrate our freedom and liberty," Auld said.

It was a day of tradition and pride in Charleston and the United States.

Fort Moultrie had free admission and also gave musket lessons for children.