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Battle of Sullivan's Island

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Battle of Sullivan's Island

The Battle of Sullivan's Island or the Battle of Fort Sullivan was fought on June 28, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, also known as the American War of Independence. It took place near Charleston, South Carolina, during the first British attempt to capture the city from American rebels. It is also sometimes referred to as the First Siege of Charleston, owing to a more successful British siege in 1780.

The British organized an expedition in early 1776 for operations in the rebellious southern colonies of North America. Delayed by logistical concerns and bad weather, the expedition reached the coast of North Carolina in May 1776. Finding conditions unsuitable for their operations, General Henry Clinton and Admiral Sir Peter Parker decided instead to act against Charleston. Arriving there in early June, troops were landed on Long Island, near Sullivan's Island where Colonel William Moultrie commanded a partially constructed fort, in preparation for a naval bombardment and land assault.

The land assault was frustrated when the channel between the two islands was found to be too deep to wade, and the American defenses prevented an amphibious landing. The naval bombardment had little effect due to the sandy soil and the spongy nature of the fort's palmetto log construction. Careful fire by the defenders wrought significant damage in the British fleet, which withdrew after an entire day's bombardment. The British withdrew their expedition force to New York, and did not return to South Carolina until 1780. (1)

Battle of Sullivan's Island

Part of the American Revolutionary War
Date June 28, 1776
Location Sullivan's Island, South Carolina
Result Colonial victory
Belligerents: United States, South Carolina, Great Britain

United States, South Carolina

Commanders and leaders:
William Moultrie - portrait.
Fort Sullivan:
435 militia
31 artillery pieces
Other defenses:
3 shore batteries
over 6,000 regulars and militia
Casualties and losses:

12 killed 25 wounded

Great Britain

Commanders and leaders:
Peter Parker - portrait.
Henry Clinton - portrait.
2,200 infantry
2 fourth-rates
6 frigates
1 bomb vessel
Casualties and losses:
220 killed and wounded
2 fourth-rates severely damaged
2 frigates moderately damaged
1 frigate grounded, later scuttled



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