ATTACK FROM LAND AND SEA   More than 12,000 British and American soldiers and sailors converged in the vicinity of Charles Town in early June 1776.  The immediate British objective was to capture Sullivan’s Island.  Their two-part strategy called for the navy to subdue Fort Sullivan by bombardment and cannonade and for the army to assault the fort’s vulnerable rear by land after crossing Breach Inlet.  See the map below.

MUTUAL SUPPORT   The Americans hurriedly prepared mutually supportive defenses.  Moultrie’s men inside the fort would defend against the British naval attack and Thomson’s men on the bank of Breach Inlet would defend against the British army attack.  These troops on opposite ends of the island depended upon one another.  If patriots at Breach Inlet failed to stop the army, Fort Sullivan was sure to fall.  If the fort could not withstand the navy’s assault, the patriots at Breach Inlet would be surrounded and trapped.

Approximate Disposition of Forces at the Battle of Sullivan's Island, June 1776

Click maps to zoom in.  Note – Breach Inlet has changed.  This map was published in 1776 from drawings made on the spot.  The scale indicates the distance across Breach Inlet was 1 1/2 miles, far greater than the current 1/4 mile.  Nearly all maps from the era show the distance as more than a mile.  Since 1776, Long Island has grown toward Sullivan’s Island as sand has filled areas once covered by water and sandbars.  Houses and businesses on Isle of Palms now occupy much of the area that was Breach Inlet during the American Revolution.  Green Island on this map evolved to Little Goat Island today.  Click for details:  1776 Map Overlay on Current Map

One Response to Strategy

  1. Mary Coy says:

    Having this map is a great visual tool for understanding the strategy of both sides! Thanks for including it!

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