H. Laurens, E. Rutledge, 3 Pinkneys, J. Rutledge, W. Moultrie and Many More Sign Important South Carolina Document
Manuscript Document Signed "Charles Pinckney" as Governor of South Carolina, 1 page, 11.75" x 17.5" on parchment, Charleston, June 23, 1791, a petition to provide relief to Revolutionary War veteran Jacob Milligan, additionally signed by twenty of the most prominent men in South Carolina including Continental Congress President Henry Laurens ("Henry Laurens"), Signer Edward Rutledge ("Ed Rutledge") General William Moultrie ("Willm. Moultrie late Major General"), John Rutledge ("J. Rutledge"), Isaac Huger ("Isaac Huger"), Mordechai Gist ("M Gist late B Genl"), Charles Cotesworth Pinckney ("Charles Cotesworth Pinckney"), Thomas Pinckney ("Thomas Pinckney"), Jacob Read ("Jacob Read"), Rawlins Lowndes ("Raw. Loundes - President 1778"), together with nine others. Soiled with some dampstaining that affects several words of text, moderate soiling and expected folds, with washed out portions expertly cleaned and restored for better presentation.
The text of the document reads, in most part: "Wh[eras] Captain Jacob Milligan an Inhabitant of the City of [Charleston aforesaid] to leave the State on His Business as a Seafaring [Man?] We the Subscribers do with pleasure Offer this Testimony of his [good service?] and Bravery in the late War He stept [sic] forward early in the year of our Lord one thousand Seven Hun Dred and Seventy Five [in which?] he performed Sundry Services of the Country and enterprize [sic] in Obtaining Supplies for this State in the year one Thousand Seven Hundred and [seventy] six he was at the Battle of Sullivan's Island; and on the Subsequent periods of the War was engaged in several hazardous and desperate Actions against the enemy too Tedious to mention In the Armed Vessels and Gallies of the this State and that of Georgia he has in Short given on Various occasions a [very] Honorable proofs that he possesses in High degree a forward bold sp[irit] of Enterprize Valor and Fidelity qualities exerted by Captain Milligan whose abilities in good and bad Fortune, of the war Experienced by his Country [Men?] We hereby Recommend him to the Courtesy and Friendly Act for relief for soldiers Seamen and other Good Men who may see this..."
A remarkable document accomplished on behalf of Revolutionary War veteran, Jacob Milligan (1730-1797). Milligan first gained distinction as commander of an armed galley in June 1776 when a large British fleet attacked Charleston, South Carolina. When one of the British frigates ran aground near Fort Sullivan (now Fort Moultrie), the crew abandoned her and set it alight. Despite the danger, Milligan led a small crew aboard the frigate Actaeon and managed to fire off several of her guns toward the other British ships and escaped with some supplies before the fire ignited the powder magazine, destroying the ship. In the following years, Milligan captained a privateer, capturing numerous British merchant ships. In May 1778, Milligan's armed schooner Margery, was captured by the British ship Levant of 28 guns off the coast of Georgia. Although he lost his ship, he was treated as an officer and avoided the notorious prison ships. Following his exchange, Milligan continued as a privateer.
In 1780, prior to the British capture of Charleston, Milligan, who had been charged with a large quantity of powder for safe keeping, hid it within an arch in the west portico of the Charleston Exchange building. When the British evacuated Charleston at the close of the war, Milligan found his powder undisturbed where he had left it. Although the powder had become damp and was completely ruined, Milligan consoled himself reportedly commenting that the devil might have it rather than the British. Following the war, Milligan was granted the post of Harbor Master for Charleston.
In the late 1780s, Milligan found himself in financial trouble and landed in debtor's prison in 1790 (Legal Notice, Charleston City Gazette, January 22, 1790, p. 4). This is what may have prompted so many prominent South Carolinians to petition on his behalf for a pension.
Signatures on the document include Peter Freneau (1757-1813), brother of Revolutionary War poet, Philip Freneau, was a printed, publisher, newspaper editor and translator; Thomas Bee (1739-1812) was a South Carolina attorney whose grandson was Confederate General Bernard E. Bee, Jr., who was killed at First Bull Run in 1861; John Mathews (1744-1802) who served as South Carolina's Governor from 1782-1783; Alexander Gillon (1741-1794) was a South Carolina merchant who the state appointed commodore in 1778 and sent him to France to purchase vessels for the South Carolina Navy. In 1780 he chartered the Indien from the Duke of Luxembourg and renamed it the South Carolina which operated against British privateers. He later served for four years in the Continental Congress (1784-1788). William Alston (1756-1839) South Carolina planter who served with Francis Marion during the Revolutionary War. Henry Purcell ("H. Pursell late Chaplain") (d. 1802) Born in Herefordshire, educated at Christ Church, Oxford and ordained a Decon in 1764. Emigrated to Charleston in 1770. Officiated at St. George's Dorchester. Later Rector of Christ Church Parish. Commissioned a Chaplain in the 2nd S.C. Regiment by Congress, under Moultrie on May 7, 1776. 1778 appointed Deputy Judge Advocate General for S.C. and Ga. Arnoldus Vanderhorst (1748-1815) signs as Mayor of Charleston: "A. Vanderhorst Intendant City Chas.ton" Governor of South Carolina from 1794-1796. Christopher Gadsden (1724-1805) South Carolina-born merchant and delegate to the Stamp Act Congress of 1765 and a member of the First Continental Congress in 1774. During the Revolutionary War he served as a general and captured in May 1780 when the British captured Charleston. After his exchange, he was elected Governor of South Carolina, but declined the office due to ill-health. John Faucherand Grimké ("John Faucherand Grimkey") (1752-1819) Major and Aide de Camp to Gen. Richard Howe, 1777-1778. Lt. Col. South Carolina Artillery, 1779. Taken prisoner at Charleston 1780. Peter Bouquet was a member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress.
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