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“J” is for Jasper, William (d. 1779)

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“J” is for Jasper, William (d. 1779). Soldier. Little is known of Jasper’s early life. In 1775 he enlisted in the grenadier company of the Second South Carolina Continental Regiment. On June 28, 1776, as a sergeant, he won lasting fame during the British attack on Sullivan’s Island, near Charleston. When an enemy shot brought down the fort’s flag, Jasper restored the banner under enemy fire. In 1779 he led dangerous guerilla raids against British patrols. During the patriot attack against British forces in Savannah, Jasper received a mortal wound. He became a national hero as a character in the historical novel by Mason L. Weems, The Life of Gen. Francis Marion. Eight counties (including Jasper County, South Carolina), numerous towns, and thousands of Americans were named for the man described as “the Brave Sergeant William Jasper.”

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.