Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sergeant William Jasper, Rev. War.

The gallantry displaded by the heroic William Jasper, during the battle of Sullivan's Island, cannot be passed over in silence. It has been frequently recorded ; but while I notice the achievements of men of superior grade, his intrepidity, inhanced by his extreme modesty, demands my warmest encomium. The Flag Staff of  the Fort having been shot away very early in the action, Jasper leaped down upon the beach, took up the Flag, fixed it to a spunge staff, and, regardless of the incessant firing of the shipping, mounted and planted it on the rampart.

Governor Rutledge, in testimony of his admiration of so distinguished an act of heroism, presented him a Sword, and offered him a Commission. The first he gratefully accepted, but declined the last. " Were 1 made an Officer," he modestly said, " my comrades would be constantly blushing for my ignorance, and I should be unhappy, feeling my own inferiority. I have no ambition for higher rank than that of a Sergeant."

Through every subsequent period of the war, his conduct was exemplary ; but, in the details which I have seen, carries too much the air of romance, to be dwelt upon. He was a perfect Proteus, in ability to alter his appearance ; perpetually entering the camp of the enemy, without detection, and invariably returning to his own, with soldiers he had seduced, or  prisoners he had captured.

During the attack at Savannah, he appeared at the head of the assailants, he seized the colours of his regiment, which had fallen from the hands of the Lieutenant who bore them ; but receiving, himself, a mortal wound, returned them, and retiring, but reached the American encampment to expire.

NoteThere will be some missspelling on this report, but its still  readable.

General, then Captain Horry, relates the following Incident: "I commanded an eighteen pounder in the left wing of the fort. Above my gun on the rampart, was a large American flag hung on a very Ligli mast, formerly of a ship ; the men of war directing their fire thereat, it was, from their shot, so wounded, as to fall, with the colors, over the fort. Sergeant Jasper of the grenadiers leaped over the ramparts, and deliberately walked the whole length of the fort, until he came to the colors on theextremity of the left, when he cut off the same from the mast, and called to me for a sponge staff, and with a thick cord tied on the colors and stuck the staff on the rampart in the sand. The sergeant fortunately received no hurt, though exposed for a considerable time, to the enemy's fire. Governor Hutledge, after the battle, as a reward, took his small sword from his side, and in presence of many officers, presented it to Sergeant Jasper, telling him to wear it in remembrance of the 28th June, and in remembrance of him. He also offered Jasper a lieutenant's commission, but as he could neither read nor write, he modestly refused to accept it, saying, " he was not fit to keep officers' company, being only bred a Sergeant."

Note.  Sergeant William Jasper, of Captain Dunbar s Company, so renowned for his feats of daring bravery, while planting the American colors on the parapets of Spring Hill redoubt, was pierced with a ball, and fell into the ditch. Before he died he said to Major Horry, " Tell Mrs. Elliott I lost my life in supporting the colors eibe presented to our regiment."

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