The Portraits

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William Moultrie

Charles Willson Peale, 15 Apr 1741 - 22 Feb 1827
William Moultrie, 1730 - 27 Sep 1805
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 67.6 x 57.2 x 2.5cm (26 5/8 x 22 1/2 x 1")
Frame: 75.6 x 65.4 x 6.4cm (29 3/4 x 25 3/4 x 2 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the National Gallery of Art; gift of the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, 1942
Object number
Exhibition Label
In June 1776, as eight British warships stood poised to put a quick end to the rebellion in the South, William Moultrie, a planter with some experience as a militia captain, was in charge of the hastily built fort on Sullivan's Island in Charles Town harbor. The soft palmetto logs of the fort successfully absorbed bombardment from one hundred guns, whereas Moultrie's men discharged their twenty-five guns with a deliberation that demolished ship rigging and slaughtered enemy sailors. After eleven and a half hours, the British slipped away, giving South Carolina a three-year respite from war.
In the background of this portrait-showing Moultrie, risen to a general in the Continental army-can be glimpsed the famous fort, renamed in Moultrie's honor.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 144