A group of citizens recently developed a small interpretive park at the Breach Inlet overlook on Sullivan’s Island near Charleston, SC. The purpose is to commemorate the important, but nearly forgotten, action that occurred at this location as part of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island in the American Revolution. Thomson Park was dedicated June 18, 2011. You can see remarks and photos from the dedication, reception, and exhibition here https://thomsonpark.wordpress.com/dedication.
HISTORY On Sullivan’s Island in June 1776, American patriots repelled a land and sea invasion by a British force exceeding 5000 soldiers and sailors. Arriving in some 60 ships, the British expected an easy victory over the outmanned and outgunned revolutionaries. Instead, they suffered an embarrassing defeat. Colonel William Moultrie and 435 men inside Fort Sullivan heroically defeated the British navy’s bombardment, while Colonel William “Danger” Thomson and 780 men on the bank of Breach Inlet skillfully turned back the British army’s attack. This convincing Patriot victory boosted revolutionary spirits throughout the colonies in the summer of the Declaration of Independence. After this defeat the British abandoned their Southern strategy and Charles Town remained under Patriot control four crucial years.
THOMSON PARK commemorates the patriots’ successful defense of the northeast end of Sullivan’s Island against the British attack from Long Island (now Isle of Palms) across Breach Inlet. We were granted permission to use a parcel of undeveloped public land where Thomson’s Advanced Guard dug into the dunes and myrtles along the bank of the inlet. Wayside exhibits at the site of the action tell the story to a large audience every day.
The panoramic view of Breach Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean is spectacular from Thomson Park. The site is easy-to-find and accessible at 3241 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island, SC. The park is near the bridge leading from Sullivan’s Island to Isle of Palms, across from Sunrise Presbyterian Church. Free parking and beach access are available to the public.
The small park fits discreetly into the landscape of this beautiful, historic and active site. The Thomson Park concept features history in a way that complements the natural environment and requires minimal maintenance by the Town of Sullivan’s Island. Caring people like the visitor pictured at left keep Thomson Park attractive by pulling weeds and depositing trash in the nearby containers.
The story of the Revolutionary battle at Breach Inlet is told inside the landscaped area by permanent, low-profile, weather-resistant wayside exhibits similar to those seen at state and national parks. The content is clear and concise because visitors typically spend a minute or less at each panel. We tried to make the exhibits engaging to inform, educate, and inspire visitors of all ages and backgrounds. For those who cannot visit the park, the exhibit panels are posted on the Wayside Exhibits page https://thomsonpark.wordpress.com/wayside-exhibits.
YOU ARE INVITED to review and provide feedback about the exhibits and suggestions for improving knowledge about this battle and its place in history. You are welcome to add comments at the bottom of any page. If you’d like to speak to someone directly, please send me an email or give me a call.
I hope you’ll visit the park, enjoy the benches, and relax in this peaceful place where early Americans fought and won a key battle in their struggle for liberty.
Chair, Thomson Park dougmac1776 on the blog firstname.lastname@example.org 843-860-9173