Registration begins at 10 am January 14 for Dr. Larry Rowland’s Santa Elena Scholars Program!
1779: Battle of Beaufort
Instructor: Daniel Battle
December 1 @ 12:00
Commanders didn’t really know what to call the first land engagement in South Carolina of professional soldiers. Afterall, this was the first taste for many in the unconventional war that had newly arrived in the South. The bloody fight that ensued outside of Beaufort, SC was not of the customary large numbers usually associated with European battles. The fight was a clash of forces that were highly mobile and on the move. When the main British commander in Savannah heard of the clash, he referred to when as a “skirmish” even before he received the details. This, however, was far from a skirmish. The troops involved numbered near 500 men and four artillery pieces. The fight was intense and proved the Americans were not to be dominated. When the smoke cleared, there were dozens of casualties and certainly enough to classify it as South Carolina’s first true land battle between professional military forces.
The 1779 Battle of Beaufort, SC has seemingly been overlooked by most historians because the encounter did not appear to have any real strategic purpose behind it. Recent historical research, however, indicate the British did indeed have a goal in mind. Newly arrived from St. Augustine, British units consisted of 200 hand-picked Light Infantry from the 16 th and 60 th British Regiments led by Col. William Gardner. The force included British Marines and heavily armed ships, landing at what is today called Clarendon Plantation. British forces attempted to bluff the defense of the Port Royal Ferry, turning toward their intended prize of Beaufort. British intelligence had informed there was a “panic” in town and the town’s main fortification had been all but abandon. Even with information of a newly arrived American force on the island, the British command believed his force superior to any American soldiers encountered. Unfortunately for the British, that American commander was the fiery Gen. William Moultrie. The forces clashed outside of town in a fight that raged for almost an hour. Gen. Moultrie immediately penned a letter with details to American commander Gen. Benjamin Lincoln who nervously awaited the fate of the encounter. “You must allow we beat them”, Moultrie would claim. Gen. Lincoln would in turn pass on the good news of thwarting the enemy to Gen. George Washington saying, “The troops did themselves honor”.
Daniel Battle is a local archaeologist and co-founder of the non-profit South Carolina American Revolution Preservation Alliance (SCARPA). Battle was raised on St. Simons Island, Georgia and received his education from the University of Georgia and Georgia College. He and his wife Daphne moved to Beaufort in 2001 and opened a small archaeological consulting business. They have two children Scarlett and Lachlan. In 2015, they founded their nonprofit to pursue their interest in the new field of conflict archaeology. SCARPA is dedicated to raising awareness of the American Revolution in the South through education, preservation, and research, especially for sites endangered by neglect in rural settings. Mr. Battle has professionally worked with numerous organizations on early military sites around the south. He personally designed and implemented large scale studies into two significant Revolutionary War battle sites, including the Battle of Brier Creek in Screven County, Georgia and the Battle of Beaufort here in Beaufort. His efforts have resulted in their successful preservation despite years of neglect and other obstacles. After identifying the location of the important 1779 Battle of Beaufort based on an analysis of early maps and modern mapping technology, he set out on a mission to inform the public of this important resource that establishes Beaufort’s role in the fight for American Independence. He successfully won a grant from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program to conduct an intensive study of the battlefield that included a search for historic documentation scattered across the U.S. and Britain. Through his on-going efforts he has brought both public and government attention to the site, which is currently being purchased for preservation.
Programs at the Santa Elena History Center are offered at no cost to Annual Passholders. Others in attendance are asked to make a donation of their choice.
Please reserve your spot online!
The 3rd Annual Lowcountry Fair with Historical Flair will kick off with History Day for students on Friday, March 27 from 10am to 2:30 pm!
Includes re-enactments, meet-and-greets with Marsh Tacky horses, and educational booths by local partners.
Save the date! Registration will begin at the start of 2020!
The 3rd Annual Lowcountry Fair with Historical Flair commemorates the diverse and rich heritage of the South Carolina Lowcountry.
The Fair for the general public will be held Saturday, March 28 from 11am to 5pm and will feature artisans and craftspeople, food vendors, music, equestrian events, living history presentations weapons demonstrations, educational booths representing heritage organizations from the Lowcountry, and a large variety of activities:
500+ YEARS OF HISTORY RE-ENACTMENTS:
Coastal Heritage Society, Charles Towne Few, Searle’s Buccaneers, Four Holes Indian Organization, Pee Dee Indian Tribe of SC, Men of Menendez, Santa Elena Company, Mitchelville Preservation Project, Reconstruction Era National Park, 28 NC Regiment, 17th MI Regiment, 33rd Regiment of Foot, Robert E. Lee, Harriet Tubman, 24th SC Regiment, 54th MA Regiment, Parris Island Historical Society (WWI and WWII), Friends of Fort Fremont, and more!
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT:
Carolina Marsh Tacky Association, Educational Animal Exhibits, Nature Tours, Lowcountry Raptors, Traveling Hunley Exhibit, Variety of musical Groups
Save the date! Ticket sales will go live at the start of 2020!