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")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; transfer from the National Gallery of Art; gift of the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, 1942
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.
William Moultrie [1730-1805]; his godson William Moultrie Reid; William Moultrie Reid, Jr.; William Moultrie Reid III; his daughter Miss Reid and Louise Reiser [Mrs. C. W. Reiser], Columbia, S.C.; (Eunice Chambers [d. 1971], Hartsville, S.C.); (A. E. Rueff, Brooklyn); (Harry MacNeill Bland, New York); (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); purchased 1 May 1936 by The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1942 to NGA; transferred 1965 to NPG.