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Moultrie Flag (U.S.)


Last modified: 2015-05-09 by rick wyatt
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[Moultrie flag] image by Randy Young, 31 January 2001

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Source: "Flags to Color from the American Revolution."

This one is "Crescent Flag of South Carolina," and the colors are listed as "Blue field, white crescent." This flag is very similar to others I've seen, usually listed as the Fort Moultrie Flag. The difference, though, is that this one has the word "LIBERTY" in the crescent instead of across the bottom of the flag.

"On Sept. 13, 1775, Colonel Moultrie received an order to take Fort Johnson, South Carolina. He had this flag made, for the troops wore a silver crescent on the caps inscribed 'Liberty or Death.' 'This was the first American flag displayed in the South,' he said. On June 28, 1776, the crescent flag, with LIBERTY across it, was raised at his defense of Sullivan's Island, later Fort Moultrie."
Randy Young, 23 February 2001

"Col. Moultrie devised a large blue flag with a white crescent in the upper left, facing the hoist. Col. Moultrie says in his memoirs that "this was the first American flag displayed in the South."

From McCandless and Grosvenor, Flags of the World, published 1917.
Peter Krembs, 5 April 2001

Liberty at Bottom - Wrong!

[Incorrect Moultrie flag] image by Rick Wyatt

I have spoken with Whitney Smith about this a few times. The correct Moultrie flag has the word in the crescent. The flags with the word LIBERTY across the bottom of the flag are wrong. My guess is that someone described it as a blue flag, with a crescent, with the word liberty on it. They put the liberty on the flag - not on the crescent.
Rick Wyatt, 23 February 2001

Interestingly, a very similar flag has been adopted as the flag of Liberty, South Carolina.
Ivan Sache, 14 August 2008

I recently learned from an attorney in Illinois who purchased a flag from me that the official flag of Moultrie County, Illinois is the "Fort Moultrie" flag. (Blue with crescent and "Liberty".)
Nathan Bliss, 10 January 2001

No Liberty

Being respectful to history, I've been searching high and low for information on what the "real" Moultrie battle flag design was.

Since, I live a stone's throw from Fort Moultrie itself, I went down to the fort. I inquired, looked through some historic paintings and artifacts, and spoke with the on-site historian. It appears, and this is what the historian on-site says, that the true Moultrie flag (flown in June 1776) was a plain blue flag with a crescent (or gorget) in the upper left corner. No "liberty" anywhere. Moultrie himself designed the original flag, and nowhere in his memoirs does he mention the word "Liberty" being on the flag. The historian noted that it was fashionable for the soldiers to carve the word "liberty" into their gorgets. This may be the reason that the word was added to the flag, but only after the battle, and probably very soon after the battle. This is historically likely, because several period paintings actually depict the word "liberty" being in the crescent. Painters probably came to the fort after the battle, saw the "new" flag, and painted what they thought would have been the battle scene (not altering the flag). Later still, Charlestonstonians began enlarging the word "liberty" and then moved it to the bottom of the flag; however, this design has never flown over the Fort.

So, the official answer that the historian gave me was that, although each design has its historical merit, the "true" flag is a simple crescent. A close runner-up is the crescent, with "liberty" in it. And the to-the-point "middle finger towards Britain" flag (which you see often in Charleston) is the crescent with Liberty across the bottom, although this is the least historically accurate.
Brad DeVos, 18 November 2008