Heat, sickness and brutality 236 years ago – South Carolina State Quarter Coin

Today, the South Carolina State Quarter Coin remembers the events of 236 years ago along the coast of South Carolina.

General Lincoln was appointed to the command of the Southern army, in September 1778, and arrived at Charleston in December.

In 1779, Lincoln’s army remained on the Savannah River. In March, a detachment, under Ash, was defeated at Brier Creek. In April, Lincoln, hearing that Prevost was advancing to attack Charleston, hastened to its relief.

On June 20th, the Americans were repulsed at Stono Ferry by Col. Maitland.

A few days later on June 23rd, the British, finding the heat excessive, went to Port Royal Island and Savannah.

Lincoln, with an army of only 800 men, remained near Charleston.

In his 1850 book, Seventeen Hundred and Seventy-Six or the War of Independence, Benson J. Lossing wrote:


As soon as Lincoln was apprised of the march of Prevost upon the capital, he detached a body of infantry mounted on horseback, towards Charleston, and hastily collecting the militia of the upper country, crossed the river with his whole force, to defend the town.

Moultrie, on his retreat, destroyed all the bridges upon the route, and this so delayed the British army, that it did not reach Charleston until the eleventh of May.

On the following day, Prevost summoned the town to surrender. Governor Rutledge had arrived there previously, and Count Pulaski, with his Legion, was also on the spot.

Batteries had been raised on the land side of the town. The suburbs were burnt down, and a great number of cannon were so arranged as to afford a strong defense against attacks from the interior.

Governor Rutledge, in order to give Lincoln time to arrive, opened negotiations with Prevost for surrendering, and ingeniously contrived to spend a day in the interchange of messages and answers.

Perceiving the strength of the batteries, and apprehending the near approach of Lincoln, the British general wisely determined to withdraw his troops, and abandon the enterprise.

He accordingly crossed the Ashley River, and proceeded to the island of St. John’s, separated from the mainland by an inlet called Stono River.

Leaving a strong division at Stono Ferry, Prevost retired with a part of his army towards Savannah.

On the twentieth of June, Lincoln attacked the division at Stono Ferry, but, after a severe battle of an hour and twenty minutes, he was repulsed with a loss of one hundred and seventy-nine men.

The British soon after established a post at Beaufort, upon the salubrious island of Port Royal, after which the main body of the army retired to Savannah.

General Lincoln with his army took post at Sheldon, near Beaufort.

The hot and sickly season having now commenced, both armies ceased operations, and nothing of importance was done in the southern department of the Union by the belligerent forces until the arrival of the French fleet under Count D’Estaing.

The royal cause lost many friends during this southern campaign, in consequence of the bad conduct of the English officers and soldiers.

Their career was marked by peculiar ferocity, and the negro slaves they spared, in their brutality, neither women, nor children, nor sick.

Houses were stripped of their rich furniture; individuals robbed of their ornaments; splendid mansions burned to the ground, and even cattle were wantonly destroyed.

The heart sickens at the recital of the wicked deeds of the British soldiery in Georgia, and makes one “hang his head and blush to call himself a man.”

Indeed, during the whole war, the two armies exhibited a striking contrast in this particular.

While the English exhibited a ferocious spirit towards their enemies, the Americans were constantly manifesting humanity and generous forbearance.

This fact is admitted by British writers.


The South Carolina State Quarter Coin shows against a view of a Charleston fence.

South Carolina State Quarter Coin