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1774-1782: Revolution and the Siege of Charles Town

1774 – (July 7) Charlestonians Henry Middleton, John Rutledge, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Lynch, and Christopher Gadsden are named delegates to the First Continental Congress.

1774 – (Oct 22) Henry Middleton is chosen President of the Continental Congress.

1775 – (Jan 11) Carolina's First Provincial Congress convenes at the Old Exchange.

1775 – (June 18) Lord William Campbell, the last Royal Governor, arrives.

1775 – (Dec 9) The first Chamber of Commerce in America is formed during a meeting at Mrs. Swallow's Tavern.

1775 – Charles Town's population estimated to be 12,000.

1776 – (Spring) Admiral Sir Peter Parker and General Sir Henry Clinton prepare a campaign to occupy Sullivan's Island as the southern base of British operations. Major General Charles Lee, the American commander of the Southern Department, arrives in Charles Town to take charge of the defense of the city.

1776 – (May) Panic sweeps the city at the first offshore sighting of a British armada carrying over 3,000 British regulars.

1776 – (June 28) First major naval battle of the Revolution. Fleet of 11 British warships and 1,500 troops under Sir Peter Parker attack Ft. Moultrie and are repulsed.

1776 – (August 5) Declaration of Independence arrives at the city. Maj. Barnard Elliot reads it under the Liberty Tree near present-day 80 Alexander St..

1776 – William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton design the Great Seal of South Carolina; with matrices executed by Charles Town silversmith George Smithson. It would be used for the last time to seal the Ordinance of Secession in 1860.

1777 – (Feb. 13) The new state government stipulates that each male citizen shall denounce the King and pledge loyalty to the state.

1778 – (Jan 15) A major fire destroyes many buildings on Broad, Elliott, and Tradd Sts. British loyalists are suspected of arson.

1779 – (Nov-Dec) Unable to win a decisive battle in the northern states, the British prepare a massive combined sea and land expedition against Charles Town, under the command of Vice Admiral Arbuthnot, General Sir Henry Clinton, and Lord Cornwallis.

1779 – (Dec) General Washington orders 1,400 Continentals to join the forces of General Benjamin Lincoln defending Charles Town.

1780 – (Feb 10) British troops under Sir Henry Clinton land on Seabrook Island, and make preparations to lay seige to the city. South Carolina Gazette editor Peter Timothy takes a spyglass up the steeple of St. Michael's Church and reports seeing smoke from hundreds of British campfires.

1780 – (March) British warships sweep past the forts guarding the harbor entrance to anchor within broadside range of the city. British Army crosses the Ashley River and establishes a line of breastworks 1,800 yards north of Charles Town's defensive line, completing their encirclement of the civilian population.

1780 – (March 29) British siege begins; lasts 40 days.

1780 – (May 12) After a bitter struggle, General Benjamin Lincoln surrenders Charles Town to the British, their greatest prize of the Revolutionary War. Two-and-a-half year occupation begins.

1780 – To see an illustration of Charleston in 1780, click here.

1780 – (August 27) British troops arrest prominent citizens for encouraging resistance and imprison them in the dungeon of the Old Exchange. Only those signing an Oath of Loyalty to the Crown are released.

1780 – (Sept 3) Henry Laurens is captured by the British on his way to the Netherlands and is imprisoned in the Tower of London.

1781 – (Aug 4) Col. Isaac Hayne, a Revolutionary leader of the South Carolina Militia, is hanged by the British just beyond the city limits of Charles Town.

1781 – (Nov-Dec) American forces under Gen. Nathanael Greene retake most of South Carolina and advance to within 15 miles of Charles Town.

1781 – (Dec) When news reaches London of Washinton's defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown, the British Parliament resolves to bring the war to an end.

1781 – (Dec 31) Henry Laurens is released from the Tower of London in a prisoner exhange for the release of Lord General Cornwallis by the Americans.

1782 – (Dec 14) Defeated British Army marches out of city, ending the occupation.