William Moultrie, an American soldier, born in South Carolina in 1731, died in Charleston, Sept. 27, 1805. In 1761 he was appointed a captain of foot in a militia regiment raised against the Cherokees. At the outbreak of the revolutionary war he was appointed to the command of the second colonial regiment, and he also represented the parish of St. Helena in the provincial congress of 1775. In March, 1776, he was ordered to construct a fortress on Sullivan's island at the mouth of Charleston harbor, and was busy at the work when the enemy made his appearance. (See Moultrie, Fort.) In commemoration of Moultrie's bravery in defending the fort, it was subsequently called after his name. He was soon after put upon the continental establishment, was made a brigadier general, Sept. 16, 1776, and in February, 1779, he defeated a superior British force under Col. Gardner, near Beaufort. In May following, with about 1,200 militia, he opposed the advance of Gen. Prevost on Charleston, and held the city until the approach of Gen. Lincoln compelled Prevost to retire to Savannah. In the spring of 1780 Charleston was attacked for the third time by a strong land and sea force, and Moultrie, who was second in command, shared in the capitulation of the American troops.
While a prisoner he was approached by the British officers with offers of pecuniary compensation and the command of a British regiment stationed in Jamaica if he would leave the American service. He replied: "Not the fee simple of all Jamaica should induce me to part with my integrity." After remaining nearly two years a prisoner, he was permitted to go to Philadelphia, where in February, 1782, he was exchanged for Gen. Burgoyne. He was made a major general, Oct. 15, 1782. In 1785 he was elected governor of South Carolina, and again in 1794. After the close of his term in 1796 he devoted most of his remaining years to the preparation of his "Memoirs of the Revolution" (2 vols., New York, 1802).