Residents and island visitors gathered on a clear Saturday at the steps of Town Hall Plaza on Sullivan’s Island to commemorate the 246th anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, an annual event hosted by Battery Gadsden Cultural Center.
On June 28, 1776, Sgt. William Jasper and others from the Second South Carolina Regiment, which was commanded by Col. William Moultrie, hoisted a regimental flag upon a partially completed palmetto log fort to defend colonial Charleston against a major land and sea assault led by British Admiral Sir Peter Parker and Gen. Henry Clinton.
On Saturday, emcee Chuck Galis welcomed the gathering crowd to a Carolina Day celebration. Sullivan’s Island Mayor Patrick O’Neil read a proclamation to kick off the ceremony. Members of Boy Scout Troop 59, which meets regularly at Stella Maris Church on the island, led a presentation and raising of the bright blue Moultrie Flag, followed by a dramatic musket salute by members of the modern-day Second South Carolina Regiment.
Maggie Adams, regent for St. Sullivan Chapter-NSDAR, recalled the life, death and courageous example of Col. Michael Kovats, a Hungarian cavalryman who trained and led the Continental Army during the British siege of Charleston. In January 1777, Kovats penned a letter to then-American Ambassador in France, Benjamin Franklin, in which he pledged his sword to defend the Continental Army’s cause. He famously closed the letter with the salutation, “Most faithful unto death.” Kovats ultimately gave his life in the American War for Independence on May 11, 1779. (Wikipedia reports, “To this date, Michael de Kovats is celebrated by cadets at The Citadel Military College in Charleston, South Carolina, where part of the campus is named in his honor. The Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C., has a statue sculpted by Paul Takacs and executed by Attila Dienes.”)
Mike Walsh, president of the Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, closed the ceremony by conveying the 2022 Cultural Stewardship Award to former Sullivan’s Island resident Wayne Stelljes. The Rev. Dr. Daniel W. Massie offered a benediction.
Rob Byko is a local Realtor and avid photographer. All photos in this story are by Rob Byko Photography and are copyrighted. All rights reserved.