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Today In Charleston History: August 4

 1781 – British Occupation.Issac Hayne Executed

At 5:00 p.m. Col. Issac Hayne “was escorted by a party of soldiers to a gallows erected within the lines of the town with his hands tied behind, and there hung up till he was dead.” David Ramsay reported:

The military escort consisted of three hundred men. The place of execution was just without the city-lines, near Radcliffe’s Garden, nearly in front, and within a stone’s throw of the present Orphan House building. The troops formed a hollow square around the scaffold, the British troops occupying the front and rear, the Hessians on the right and left.

During the march through the city “the streets were crowded with thousands of anxious spectators.” Someone in the crowd called to Hayne “Exhibit the example of how an American can die!” Hayne replied, “I will endeavor to do so.”


One thought on “Today In Charleston History: August 4

  1. Be on the lookout for my book’s release next spring by the University of South Carolina Press. The working title is “Killing Isaac Hayne: The Making of an American Martyr,” but will likely be changed to something like “Martyr of the American Revolution: The Execution of Isaac Hayne, South Carolinian.” The short summary: “In 1781 patriot militiamen were playing an integral role in helping the Continental army reclaim South Carolina from the British. [Title] examines the events that set an American militia colonel on a disastrous collision course with two British officers, his execution in Charleston, and the repercussions that reached from the front battle lines to the halls of Parliament and the Continental Congress.”


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