THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION


July 4, 1776 to 1783

1776

Aug. 5 -- News arrived in Charles Town that the Declaration of Independence had been signed in Philadelphia. Lowcountry signers included Thomas Lynch, Arthur Middleton, Edward Rutledge and Thomas Heyward.

1778

Jan. 15 -- One of the most destructive fires in Charleston's history broke out after dark near the intersection of Queen and Union (now State) streets.

Dec. 29 -- The city of Savannah falls to British Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, who sets his sites on marching to Charles Town by land.

1779

Nov. 18 -- Lt. Col. William Washington was transferred to Charleston. 

1780

Mar. 28 -- Sir Henry Clinton and his troops arrive and make camp at Drayton Hall along the Ashley River.

Mar. 30 -- Leading a large contingent of British soldiers, Sir Henry Clinton set up camp near what today is Hampton Park and began bringing his troops over at Gibbes’ Landing. In his journal, a Hessian jager (or sharpshooter) Capt. Johann Ewald relates that they were posted at Grove Plantation, where he “did picket duty in one of the most beautiful pleasure gardens of the world.”

April 1 -- In his journal, British Capt. Johann Ewald records “The county around Gibbes’ house has been made a park and depot for the siege, and the greenhouse is a laboratory.”  

April 13 -- British batteries, stationed near where Hampton Park is today, opened a two-hour barrage of round shot and incendiary bombs as the Seige of Charleston began. Fires broke out all around town, including in areas still recovering from the Great Fire of 1778. S.C. Gov. John Rutledge called for an evacuation of the city. Soldieirs were ordered to kill the packs of dogs that were running loose in the street.

May 7 -- Fort Moultrie fell before an amphibious assault by British seamen.

May 9 -- Gen. Clinton ordered his 200 artillery pieces that encircled Charlest Town to open a bombardment. Twenty houses were hit and set afire. Gen. William Moultrie recalled that the bombardment "was incessant, cannon balls whizzing and shells hissing continually amongst us; ammunition chests and temporary magazines blowing up; great buns bursting and wounded men growning along the lines." (Source: Charleston! Charleston!, p. 161-162)

May 12 -- After a 42-day seige, General Lincoln surrendered Charles Town with its 5,500 troops and military supplies. One British officer noted the city's defenders were "the most ragged rabble I ever beheld." Another officer wrote the "people looked greatly starved," the houses "were full of wounded," while some of the finer residences were "empty and locked." (Charleston! Charleston!, p. 162.)

June 3 -- 110 of the "principal and most respectable inhabitants of Charles Town" accepted Gen. Sir Henry Clinton's offer of a pardon for all "treasonable offenses" to citizens who would take an oath of allegiance to the British government and lay down their arms. Among those accepting this pardon was Col. Charles Pinckney of Snee Farm. (Source: Charleston! Charleston!, p. 163)

Aug. 17 -- Capt. Archibald Broun, a Revolutionary hero of Brounsfield Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, married Mary Deas, the daughter of his wealthy neighbors, John and Elizabeth Allen Deas of Thoroughgood Plantation.

Oct. 5 -- Henry Laurens earned the unique distinction of becoming the only American to ever be held prisoner in the Tower of London, following his arrest for high treason.

1781

Aug. 4 -- Col. Isaac Hayne was hanged just outside the city's boundaries.

Dec. 31 -- Henry Laurens was released from the Tower of London in exchange for the release of Lord Cornwallis by the Americans.

1782
Aug. 27 -- In the waning days of the American Revolution, John Laurens was shot off his horse and mortally wounded. 

Oct. 27 -- Most of the British Army evacuated the city of Charleston in a convoy of 40 ships, along with 3,700 local Loyalists, as well as a good bit of booty.

We visit the site of Henry Laurens' (image above) townhouse on our Lost Charleston tour and visit his beautiful Mepkin Plantation on our Day on the Cooper River tour where he is buried with his son, John.
Stories about Lt. Col. William Washington (yes, that would be George's cousin) are included as we pass by his townhouse on our Charleston Overview tours. We also pass by his plantation and burial site on our tours to Savannah and Beautiful Beaufort by the Sea.
This Revolutionary-era map shows Gibbes Landing, where British forces established their base for the Seige of Charleston. We explore the fascinating history of Hampton Park on our Lost Charleston tours. (Image credit: University of Alabama Maps.)
We visit the memorial to Col. Charles Pinckney on our French Santee Tour.