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William MoultrieA Resolution

WHEREAS, William Moultrie, an American patriot in the War for Independence of the United Stated, served with great bravery and effect in the defense of a fort located in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, against a superior British naval force, and

WHEREAS, during the defense of said fort a flag, designed by William Moultrie, flew as a symbol of American determination to secure liberty for the people of Britain’s colonies, and,

WHEREAS, the City of Moultrie bears, with distinction, the name of this outstanding patriot, and,

WHEREAS, the City of Moultrie is without an official flag, and it altogether fitting and proper that the flag of this patriot be the official flag of this City.

NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the mayor and council of the City of Moultrie that the flag designed by William Moultrie, being a flag of 3 feet by 5 feet, blue with a white crescent in the upper corner next to the staff, inscribed with the word “liberty” and identical on both sides, be, and the same is hereby made the official flag of the City of Moultrie.

Adopted:  June 15, 1976

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Moultrie Flag

The Moultrie Flag

William Moultrie was born in South Carolina in 1731. He was a captain in the South Carolina militia before the revolution.  In 1775 he was a member of the South Carolina “Provincial Congress”; in the same year he was made a colonel in the South Carolina militia.

In 1776, Moultrie erected a fort of palmetto logs and sand on Sullivan’s Island in Charleston Harbor. This action was taken against the advice of his superiors, who told him it would never stand up against a bombardment. “Well, if they knock it down, we’ll roll up behind the wreck, and still prevent them from landing troops,” said Moultrie.

It did stand up against bombardment of three days by the fleet of Admiral Sir Peter Parker. When a cannon ball would strike it, the soft logs and sand would absorb it, and there was no knocking down of the walls.

Few pages in American history are more glorious than the story of the few gallant men who fought behind walls of palmetto logs and sand to meet and defeat the mighty British Navy of 1776. This early victory in the American Revolution fanned the feeble spark of hope in a glowing flame of victory that was never to be extinguished.

In one bitter ten-hour action, Moultrie and 435 men had inflicted heavy losses upon a strong British naval squadron.  This forced Parker’s fleet and several thousand British troops under Major General Sir Henry Clinton to give up a combined attack on Fort Sullivan near Charlestown.

Despite the rain of fire from more than 200 British guns; he forced his gunners to reply slowly and carefully, concentrating on the two biggest enemy ships. The effects were soon evident. The top of the Bristol mainmast was shot off, and her mizzen splintered. All the men on the flagship’s quarter deck were killed or wounded and had to be replaced twice, except for the intrepid Commodore Parker, who nevertheless, suffered indignity.

The first act of incorporation of the City of Moultrie was designed to meet the requirements for establishing an inferior court at the county seat.

On December 27, 1890, the General Assembly passed an act to incorporate the Town of Moultrie in the County of Colquitt and to define the limits and powers of the same. On December 16, 1895, the General Assembly again passed an act to reincorporate the Town of Moultrie as the City of Moultrie.

Back in 1775 Colonel William Moultrie had received an order from the Council of Safety to take Fort Johnson on James Island, South Carolina and to procure a flag. He devised a large blue flag with a white crescent in the upper corner next to the staff. The design was suggested by the blue uniforms of the garrison and the silver crescents which the men wore on their caps, inscribed with the words “Liberty or Death.”

On September 13, 1775, Colonel William Moultrie raised over Fort Johnson what is reputed to be the first distinctly American flag displayed in the South.

By virtue of the fact that the City of Moultrie, Georgia has derived its name from the illustrious revolutionary figure, Colonel William Moultrie, it appears fitting and proper that the City of Moultrie, Georgia should adopt as its official flag the Colonel William Moultrie Flag.

Before American independence became a reality, there were colonial and regimental flags by the score. While the pine tree was a popular design, there were numerous other symbols such as beavers, anchors, and rattlesnakes, or combinations of these symbols with appropriate slogans. Among these pre-Stars and Stripes emblems was the Moultrie Flag – the first distinctive American Flag to be displayed in the South.

The formal record states that “On June 28, 1776, while engaged in constructing a rude defensive work of logs on Sullivan’s Island Charleston Harbor, Moultrie was attacked by a British fleet under Admiral Sir Peter Parker.”  At one time during the battle, the crescent flag fell outside upon the beach. Sgt. William Jasper seeing this, cried out to Colonel Moultrie, “Don’t let us fight without a flag,” and leaped the parapet, walked the whole length of the fort, picked up the flag, fastened it on the staff, and in the sight of the whole British fleet and amidst a hail of bullets, fixed it once more firmly upon the bastion. For this, he was rewarded for bravery.

After an intense artillery attack lasting ten hours, the British forces were compelled to withdraw, and the next day the entire fleet left Charleston Harbor. The name of the fort was changed to Fort Moultrie in honor of the gallant defender. This victory left the Southern States secure from invasion for more than two years.

The emblem that Sgt. Jasper risked his life to raise again was identical to Colonel Moultrie’s earlier flag which was first raised in September 1775, except for the addition of the word “Liberty” in white letters.

A flag known as the Moultrie flag has flown among other flags on the fourth floor of the State Capitol for many years. This flag was stolen from the State Capitol on May 23, 1974. State Museum Curator, Charlie E. Fleming, filled the gap with a sign bearing the Words: “Sorry! Your liberty flag was stolen by some irresponsible person.” He has replaced this flag, but the stolen flag has never been found.

After its adoption by the Mayor and City Council of the City of Moultrie on June 15, 1976, the Moultrie flag will be another proud addition to the memorabilia of this proud little City.

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