Liberty Flag/ Fort Moultrie Flag

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by flagof76, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. flagof76

    flagof76 New Member

    I've been interested in this flag , can you Flag experts tell some more about it & pics would be good, are there any from the Revolutionary War still around ? I know some say the original Liberty / Moultrie Flag just had a cresent moon on the corner, after the war, they added the Liberty to the flag at the bottom or inside the cresent moon.
  2. noman

    noman New Member

    A good picture of it is on pages132-134 & plate 44 of Richardson's "Standards and Colors of the American Revolution"
  3. Vexman

    Vexman New Member

    There was only one original flag, likely a military unit color. It was described as blue with the unit's emblem of a crescent with the word "LIBERTY" on it. Some interpret this as having the crescent in the corner where it is today on the SC State flag, although that is not clear. Also some interpret the word "LIBERTY" as being displayed along the bottom of the whole flag but the actual emblem (which we have) of the unit shows a crescent with the word "LIBERTY" inscribed within it. Take your pick. I'd go with the latter.

    My guess is the crescent/motto emblem was not in the canton, like most military flags of the time. If there was any emblem in the canton it likely would have been a "union" emblem, like the 13 stripes perhaps.

    All depictions of this flag are reconstructions and that includes the SC State flag which was heavily influenced by early reconstructions.
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    A sketch of Fort Sullivan, where the flag flew during the British attack in June 1776, shows a flag with a plain field and a crescent facing toward the hoist. The sketch was made by a British engineer who was present during the battle, so it's likely to be accurate. No motto is indicated, but if it was inside the crescent it might not have been visible from a distance.
  5. noman

    noman New Member

    See Richardson 'Flags and Standards of the American Revolution" a little dated but a classic!:cool:
  6. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    See Richardson 'Flags and Standards of the American Revolution" a little dated but a classic!

    True -- Richardson is a valuable source, but (like any other source dealing with American flags) it needs to be used with caution. I wrote a short article in this issue of NAVA News concerning his interpretation of the Fort Mercer flag:

    BTW, the flag that you mentioned in your post back on 4 December is the color of the 2nd SC that was presented to the regiment after the battle of Fort Sullivan, and is not directly related to the "Liberty" crescent flag. The 2nd SC color still exists -- I believe it's in a museum in Britain.
  7. Color Bearer

    Color Bearer New Member

    Hello! I'm researching the Fort Moultrie flag, in the process of making a replica, and I was very excited to see this old string! I'm hoping that the people who I'm quoting here are still active members...

    Vexman: where did that original quote appear? I've seen in quoted, but I'm really interested in finding the source (in hopes of getting more info...)

    Peter: Where can I find a photo of that sketch? I can't find any info on what the original flag was made of or its dimensions (although I'm going with silk, as the two presented four days after the battle were silk), and I'm hoping the sketch will help with dimensions. I was told by someone with a collection of revolutionary flags that it was probably square.

    Any more info anyone has would be most welcome :)
  8. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Color Bearer! Welcome to the forum. I think that I can answer both of your questions:

    1. The quote appeared in the memoirs of William Henry Drayton, president of the SC Provisional Congress. He stated that flag on Fort Sullivan was "a blue flag with a white crescent; on which was emblazoned the word Liberty." His description is a bit ambiguous -- does "on which" refer to the crescent or the flag as a whole? My take is that it was probably on the crescent, because the 2nd SC Regiment (which manned the fort during the battle) wore a cap badge with the word "Liberty" in a crescent.

    2. The sketch is in a little book called "The Carolina lowcountry April 1775-June 1776 and the Battle of Fort Moultrie," by Terry Lipscomb, published by the SC Dept. of Archives and History in 1994, page 28. I'm not sure that it's still in print; I could make you a scan if necessary.

    Concerning the proportions: regimental colors were typically square, as opposed to ensigns and garrison flags that were generally oblong. It seems to me that you could make a good case for either one, since the Moultrie flag actually performed both functions. For what it's worth, the British sketch shows the flag as oblong.

    You might be interested in an article that I wrote a few years back on flags of the state navies during the Revolution; it has a section on South Carolina. The article is available here:

    I hope all this is helpful. Keep us posted on your project!
  9. Color Bearer

    Color Bearer New Member

    Fantastic! That's very helpful. A scan would probably be the simplest and fastest way of getting a hold of the photo, if it wouldn't be too much trouble for you. If it's going to be a hassle, however, it looks like I can get the book through Barnes and Noble.

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