Island residents and visitors gathered on a clear Saturday on the steps of City Hall on Sullivan’s Island to commemorate the 246e anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, an annual event hosted by the Battery Gadsden Cultural Center.
On June 28, 1776, Sergeant. William Jasper and others of the Second South Carolina Regiment, commanded by Colonel William Moultrie, hoisted a regimental flag over a partially completed palmetto log fort to defend colonial Charleston from a major land and sea assault led by the British Admiral Sir Peter Parker and General Henry Clinton.
On Saturday, emcee Chuck Galis greeted the gathered crowd at a Carolina Day celebration. Sullivan’s Island Mayor Patrick O’Neil read a proclamation to launch the ceremony. Members of Scout Troop 59, who meet regularly at Stella Maris Church on the island, led a presentation and raising of the bright blue Moultrie flag, followed by a dramatic musket salute by members of the Second South Carolina Regiment.
Maggie Adams, Regent of St. Sullivan-NSDAR Chapter, recalled the life, death and courageous example of Col. Michael Kovats, a Hungarian cavalryman who trained and led the Continental Army during the British siege of Charleston. In January 1777, Kovats wrote a letter to the then American Ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin, in which he pledged his sword to champion the cause of the Continental Army. He closed the letter with the greeting “The most faithful until death”. Kovats finally gave his life in the American Revolutionary War on May 11, 1779. (Wikipedia reports: “To this day, Michael de Kovats is celebrated by the cadets of the Citadel Military College in Charleston, South Carolina, where part campus is named in his honor. The Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C., has a statue sculpted by Paul Takacs and executed by Attila Dienes.”
Mike Walsh, President of the Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, closed the ceremony by presenting the 2022 Cultural Stewardship Award to former Sullivan’s Island resident Wayne Stelljes. Rev. Dr. Daniel W. Massie offered a blessing.
Rob Byko is a local realtor and avid photographer. All photos in this story are by Rob Byko Photography and are copyrighted. All rights reserved.