“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sullivans Island in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Palmetto Fort


Palmetto Fort Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2013
1. Palmetto Fort Marker
In 1776 South Carolinians prepared for a British invasion by building a fort on this site. This key position on Sullivans Island, beside the main ship channel, protected the entrance to Charleston Harbor.

The fort was designed as a 500-foot square with a bastion at each corner. To build it, thousands of palmetto logs were cut and rafted to Sullivans Island. With double log walls standing 10 feet high, 16 feet apart, and filled with sand, the structure resembled an “immense pen.”

On June 28, Colonel William Moultrie and the garrison of the palmetto log fort successfully defended Charleston against a British fleet. Later, Moultrie was promoted to general, and the fort was renamed to honor him.

( Sidebar : )
Above a map of the fort: † This map shows the location and unfinished condition of the palmetto log fort in 1776 when the British fleet arrived. One corner of the fort is illustrated in the drawing above.
The fort stood near the site of the present-day Fort Moultrie III, but the exact location of the palmetto fort remains unknown.

Above a picture of William Moultrie: † Charleston-born Colonel William Moultrie supervised the fortís hurried construction. The fort did not look formidable, but Moultrie felt it would protect his men. When the British fleet arrived in June 1776,
Palmetto Fort Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2013
2. Palmetto Fort Marker
only half of the fort was complete, and the 400-man garrison had little ammunition and only 31 cannon (the British had nearly 300 guns).

Above an image of the South Carolina Flag and a Revolutionary War soldier: † The South Carolina state flag; its blue field, white crescent, and palmetto tree represents the Revolutionary War battle fought here in 1776. The tree represents the fortís palmetto logs; and the crescent and blue color symbolize elements of the soldiersí uniforms. South Carolina adopted the flag in 1861.
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 32° 45.493′ N, 79° 51.465′ W. Marker is in Sullivans Island, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker can be reached from Poe Avenue, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is located in front of Fort Moultrie. Marker is in this post office area: Sullivans Island SC 29482, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. British Attack (here, next to this marker); Charleston Surrenders (here, next to this marker); Fort Moultrie II (within shouting distance of this marker); 1860 Flanking Caponniere (within shouting distance of this marker); H.L. Hunley Disappears
Markers at Fort Moultrie image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2013
3. Markers at Fort Moultrie
Several markers can be found at this location. The Palmetto Fort marker is seen here on the right.
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Harbor Defense (about 300 feet away); Civil War Armament (about 400 feet away); 13-Inch Seacoast Mortar (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Sullivans Island.
More about this marker. A picture at the top of the marker shows soldiers inside the palmetto fort. It has a caption of “The fortís double walls, built of spongy palmetto logs and filled with sand (see cutaway), absorbed the impact of enemy projectiles.”
Also see . . .  Fort Moultrie. National Park Service website. (Submitted on August 7, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Revolutionary
Palmetto Fort Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, February 19, 2010
4. Palmetto Fort Marker
(yellow arrow) Palmetto Fort
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 415 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4. submitted on , by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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