Sullivan’s Island represents South Carolina on new quarter dollar coin. By Sarah Nolan
This fall, Sullivan’s Island will be memorialized in silver as the United States Mint releases the Fort Moultrie (Sumter) National Monument, South Carolina Beautiful Quarter on November 17, 2016. Part of the America The Beautiful Quarters Program, the coin is one of 56 being released 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 quarter is of Sergeant William Jasper hoisting the 2nd South Carolina regimental fag 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 of the plant 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.
The National Parks Service celebrates its 100-year anniversary this year, and Dawn Davis, Centennial Coordinator at Fort Moultrie, is very pleased with the timing of the 2016 South Carolina coin’s release. “It brings attention to the National Parks Service’s mission of preserving and protecting national treasures and leaving them unimpaired for future generations,” Davis says. Fort Moultrie will involve local school children as part of a launch event to “engage the next generation of stewards of our parks,” Davis says.
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 fag, it seemed fitting to have Fort Moultrie represent us on a state coin.”
It was Sergeant Jasper who, when the colors of the regimental fag 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 fag. An entry from the diary of Captain Barnard Elliott described how Jasper “took the fag 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.”
Fort Moultrie will have a bank partner at the November 17, 2016 commemoration event, making it the first place the public can obtain the new coins. Visit nps.gov/fosu/learn/historyculture/fort_moultrie.htm for more details.