George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 5 May 1791]

Thursday 5th. Visited the Works of Fort Johnson on James’s Island, and Fort Moultree on Sullivans Island; both of which are in ruins, and scarcely a trace of the latter left—the former quite fallen.

Dined with a very large Company at the Governors, & in the evening went to a Concert at the Exchange at wch. there were at least 400 lad[ie]s—the Number & appearances of wch. exceeded any thing of the kind I had ever seen.

GW visited the two forts in Charleston harbor by boat, accompanied by “several . . . gentlemen of great respectability,” including William Moultrie whose courageous defense of the sand and palmetto-log fort on Sullivan’s Island 28 June 1776 earned him his status as a hero. Originally called Fort Sullivan, the post was renamed in his honor after the battle, but both it and Fort Johnson on the other side of the harbor failed to stop the British in 1780 (Md. Journal [Baltimore], 24 May 1791; BOATNER [1] description begins Mark Mayo Boatner III. Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. New York, 1966. description ends , 197–205, 750).

Governor Pinckney’s dinner, which began at 4:00 P.M., was attended by “the principal gentlemen of the civil, clerical and military professions.” At the concert “an excellent band of music played in the orchestra, and were accompanied in the vocal strain by the choir of St. Philip’s church.” For this occasion the Exchange “was decorated with various ornaments—the pillars were ingeniously entwined with laurel, and the following devices inscribed in different parts of the Hall: ‘With grateful praises of the hero’s fame,’ ‘We’ll teach our infants’ tongues to lisp his name.’” Several Latin mottoes were also displayed (Gaz. of the U.S. [Philadelphia], 21 May 1791).

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