British Evacuation of Charleston

"The Evacuation of Charles Town" from a painting by artist Howard Pyle (1853-1911) done for Scribner's Magazine in 1898.

British Evacuation of Charleston

On Saturday, the fourteenth day of December 1782, the British troops evacuated Charlestown, after having possession two years, seven months, and two days.

The evacuation took place in the following manner: Brigadier General Wayne was ordered to cross Ashley-river, with three hundred light-infantry, eighty of Lee's cavalry, and twenty artillery, with two six-pounders, to move down towards the British lines…General Leslie, who commanded in town, sent a message to General Wayne, informing him, that he would next day leave the town, and for the peace and security of the inhabitants, and of the town, would propose to leave their advanced works next day at the firing of the morning gun; at which time, General Wayne should move on slowly, and take possession; and from thence to follow the British troops into town, keeping at a respectful distance (say about two hundred yards;) and when the British troops after passing through the town gates, should file off to Gadsden's wharf, General Wayne was to proceed into town, which was done with great order and regularity, except now and then the British called to General Wayne that he was too fast upon them, which occasioned him to halt a little. About 11 o'clock, a.m. the American troops marched into town and took post at the state house.

At 3 o'clock pm, General Greene conducted Governor Mathews, and the council, with some other of the citizens into town. We marched in, in the following order: an advance of an officer and thirty of Lee's dragoons; then followed the governor and General Greene; the next two were General Gist and myself; after us followed the council, citizens and officers, making altogether about fifty. One hundred and eighty cavalry brought up the rear. We halted in Broad-street…there we alighted, and the cavalry discharged to quarters.

Afterwards, everyone went where they pleased; some in viewing the town, others in visiting their friends. It was a grand and pleasing sight, to see the enemy's fleet (upwards of three hundred sail)…ready to depart from the port. The great joy that was felt on this day, by the citizens and soldiers, was inexpressible: the widows, the orphans, the aged men and other, who, from their particular situations, were obliged to remain in Charlestown, many of whom had been cooped up in one room of their own elegant houses for upwards of two years, whilst the other parts were occupied by the British officers, many of whom where a rude uncivil set of gentlemen; their situations, and the many mortifying circumstances occurred to them in that time, must have been truly distressing.

The South Carolina Society
of the
Sons of the American Revolution

The South Carolina Society was organized April 18th, 1889 in a room at the State Capital in Columbia. After the election of officers, the organizing group appointed delegates to the proposed National Convention in New York City to be held later in the month. The National Society was organized April 30th, 1889. Those descendents of our brave ancestors, whose vision and courage gave us our great nation, formed a fraternal, patriotic, and civic organization to perpetuate the basic principles of freedom to honor our founding fathers. The name adopted by the organization was the Sons of the American Revolution. The South Carolina Society began granting charters to chapters in 1923. Currently nineteen chapters promote the American spirit through fraternal meetings, commemorative observances of events and battles, educational materials, projects, lectures, tours and publications. South Carolina is rich in historical events of the American Revolution. From the mountains to the coast, South Carolina experienced the most battles and skirmishes of the war. The nineteen chapters of our society sponsor annual anniversary ceremonies of many of the battles and events.

Relics of the Revolution may be found throughout the state in some federal and state parks, museums, and libraries. Markers are found in our countryside reminding us of the sacrifice of our ancestors. The Society seeks to mark graves of our Revolutionary ancestors. Since the organization of the South Carolina Society, over 3,000 have filled the membership ranks. As of August 2015 membership was 858.

The South Carolina Society of the American Revolution joins in effort with the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Children of the American Revolution, and all patriotic and historical groups in keeping alive the ideals of our ancestors who gave us our United States of America.