By Jennifer Tuohy & Sarah Nolan for Island Eye News
Later this month, Sullivan’s Island will be memorialized in silver as the United States Mint releases the Fort Moultrie (Sumter) National Monument, South Carolina Beautiful Quarter, and Sullivan’s Island will be the first place you can get your hands on one of the coins.
Part of the America The Beautiful Quarters Program, the coin—scheduled for release on November 17, 2016 at a ceremony at Fort Moultrie—is one of 56 minted in honor of America’s national parks over 11 years.
All sites and designs featured on the coins represent places of the utmost natural and historical significance to this country.
The image on the Fort Moultrie quarter is of Sergeant William Jasper hoisting the 2nd South Carolina regimental flag to the ramparts whilst the fort was under attack from a British ship during the Battle of 1776.
At the time, when Commodore Sir Peter Park and nine warships attacked it on June 28, 1776, the fort, built entirely from Palmetto logs, was still incomplete. After the nine-hour bombardment, which saw the British cannonballs literally bouncing off the pliant trees, the ships were forced to retreat and the battle saved Charleston from British occupation. The fort was subsequently named for its commander, Colonel William Moultrie.
Congressman Mark Sanford, South Carolina’s governor during the early stages of the Beautiful Quarters program, was responsible for choosing the fort as a representative image of his state.
“Looking back through the history of South Carolina, the people of Charleston have struggled through some of the most difficult hardships imaginable. From hurricanes and earthquakes, to a civil war and fires, people in the Lowcountry have shown a whole lot of heart in the face of adversity, and the city has ultimately always bounced back,” he explains. “To me, it’s that spirit which defines the people of South Carolina— and historical landmarks like Fort Moultrie are the roots of that resilience,” Sanford says.
“With South Carolina known as the Palmetto State and the Palmetto tree on the state flag, it seemed fitting to have Fort Moultrie represent us on a state coin.”
It was Sergeant Jasper who, when the colors of the regimental flag were knocked down outside of Fort Moultrie during the attack, turned to Moultrie and said, “Colonel, don’t let us fight without our color.” He leapt over the wall and ran the length of the fort to reach the fallen flag. An entry from the diary of Captain Barnard Elliott described how Jasper “took the flag and tied it to a sponge staff and stuck it upon the merlon of the bastion near the enemy, gave three huzzas in the dangerous place he stood, and retired to his gun where he fought with his gallant company to the end of the battle.”
*On Nov. 16, 2016, from 6 to 7 p.m. a coin forum hosted by the U.S. Mint at the Fort Moultrie Visitor Center will share information on how the coins are designed and manufactured. Then on Nov. 17 at 10:30 a.m. The United States Mint and the National Park Service will celebrate the release of the coin with a ceremony at Fort Moultrie, 1214 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island.
Both events are free and open to the public. A coin exchange will take place immediately after the ceremony. For the coin exchange, bring cash in $10 increments up to $100 to exchange for rolls of the new South Carolina quarter.
For more information, call 843-883-3123. A version of this article appeared in the 2016 issue of SiP Magazine, read it online at www.sipmagazinesc.com.