The American Revolution in South Carolina

The South Carolina Navy


All Known SC Navy Captains

South Carolina was one of the few colonies/states during the American Revolution that established its own Navy. Very early in the struggle, many leaders recognized the need to stop the ubiquitous British Navy from harrassing the province's shipping and commerce. Goods needed to come in and goods needed to go out, and to merely count on "luck" was not considered by any within the colony.

During the first three years of the conflict, privateers were sanctioned by the Council of Safety to go after British shipping along the Atlantic seaboard and other parts of the Caribbean Sea. Some of the men who led these privateers were convinced to help create a state Navy in 1778, and South Carolina paid for the outfitting and manning of brigantines, schooners, and sloops to actively pursue the British Navy along its coastline. In April of 1778, nine men were appointed as Commissioners of the Navy.

The South Carolina Navy mostly operated in and around Charlestown Harbor and along the South Carolina coast from 1778 until the Fall of Charlestown in May of 1780. There were essentially no collaborations with other states' navies nor with the Continental Navy except on very rare occasions when things just happened to work out thusly.

As one can imagine, a Navy is an expensive operation, and even though South Carolina was considered one of the wealthiest colonies/states in the new Union, it could not afford to match the expenditures of the British Navy. When the British finally seized Charlestown and all the men therein, they also captured the entire South Carolina Navy, which was never resurrected afterwards.

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