Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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JASPER, William, soldier, born in South Carolina about 1750; died in Savannah, Georgia, 9 October, 1779. He enlisted as a sergeant in the 2d South Carolina regiment, and distinguished himself in the attack on Fort Moultrie, 28 June, 1776. In the height of the engagement the flag-staff was shot away, and the flag fell to the bottom of the ditch on the outside of the works. Fearlessly leaping from an embrasure, Jasper recovered the colors, which he tied to a sponge-staff and replaced on the parapet, where he supported them until another flagstaff had been procured. In recognition of this act, Governor Rutledge gave Jasper his own sword, and offered him a lieutenant's commission, which he declined, as he could neither read nor write. His activity and enterprise induced. Moultrie to give him a roving commission, and, selecting about six men from the regiment, he often returned with prisoners before Moultrie was aware of his absence. On one occasion, actuated by sympathy for a Mrs. Jones, whose husband was a prisoner and liable to execution, with only one companion he captured a small British guard, and released the prisoners they were taking to Savannah. In the assault on Savannah, 9 October, 1779, Sergeant Jasper accompanied D'Estaing and Lincoln in their attack on the Spring Hill redoubt, and was mortally wounded while attempting to fasten the regimental colors to the parapet. A square in the city of Savannah and a county of Georgia bear his name.
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