Palmetto: Symbol of Courage tells the story of South Carolina’s state tree. Read it to learn how a tree helped win a battle in the Revolutionary War and why it appears on our state flag.
On June 28, 1776 – exactly one week before the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia – South Carolina patriots on Sullivan’s Island defeated a heavily armed British fleet and saved Charleston from being captured. It was the first important Revolutionary War victory against the British in the South – and it caught everyone, including the patriots, by surprise. When the patriots hastily constructed their little fort out of palmetto logs, beach sand and marsh mud at the tip of Sullivan’s Island across the harbor from Charleston, they did not expect it to withstand cannon fire from the British ships. But luckily, most of the British cannonballs simply sank into the soft spongy palmetto logs, and did very little damage to the fort or to the soldiers inside. Carefully aiming their own cannons, the soldiers of South Carolina’s Second Regiment, commanded by Colonel William Moultrie, did great damage to the British ships and their sailors, and the fleet had to sail away in defeat.
After the battle the palmetto tree was adopted as the state tree and prominently featured on South Carolina’s state flag – one of the most beautiful in the United States.
Palmetto: Symbol of Courage is an important resource book for teaching SC history to elementary students. Kate Salley Palmer was especially careful in her research to insure accuracy for both the text and illustrations. Evidence to support this lies in the fact that Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island sells this book in their gift shop.
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