tv Hanging of Isaac Hayne During the American Revolution CSPAN March 26, 2017 9:11pm-10:01pm EDT
history. announcer: on august 4, 1781, american militia colonel isaac hayne was hanged by the british for treason in charleston, south carolina. discussesor cl bragg his new book, "martyr of the american revolution, the execution of isaac hayne, south carolinian." in this illustrated talk, he discusses the details and death,ences of hayne's which was debated in the continental congress and parliament. it is hosted by the society of cincinnati in washington, d.c.. mr. bragg: thank you, and good evening, everyone. the introduction is hard to live up to, but i will try. it is a pleasure and honor to be here this evening with you.
we are kindred spirits, interested in american history, but most especially the founding of our nation's country. i reside in thomasville, georgia, 30 miles north of tallahassee, florida. i can say with some confidence that between 1775 and 1783, absolutely nothing happened in this part of the world. unless of course maybe you are a creek indian or a seminole. i am an anesthesiologist by profession. it is my nature to put people sleep. i sincerely hope that won't happen tonight. i want you to know if i catch anybody napping, i reserve the right to send you a bill. time in 2007this that i became a member of the society of the cincinnati of south carolina. my knowledge of the revolutionary war was rudimentary at best. i began to study.
i was familiar with the battles of lexington and concorde, bunker hill, saratoga, valley forge, washington crossing the --aware, the ballard trenton the battle of trenton. i was not very knowledgeable about the events that had taken place in my home state, south carolina. this map is from the history of south carolina and the in 1902.n, published i've highlighted the major battles that involve continental soldiers, but you can see that there was quite a lot going on during that period, as evidenced by the red hashmarks all over the state. i wondered why i had heard so much about the war in the northern states, but knew very little about what happened in the south. be that whenmay the south lost the civil war,
our nation's narrative came under control of northern historians who greatly diminished the role of the south in winning the revolutionary war. fortunately, about the time of the bicentennial in 1976, interest in the revolutionary war surged, and an interest in what happened in the south was revived. finally about the 1990's, we begin to see more writing on the subject of the war on the south. there's been quite a number of good books published since then. the war and the south has even made it to the silver screen. while i would never promote the patriot"- "the starring mel gibson as the pinnacle of historical accuracy, it does have its high points. i certainly wouldn't want anyone using that to base their knowledge of the revolutionary war. became aong after i
member of the society of the cincinnati of south carolina, a friend suggested i write the godfrey -- i write the darker feet of a general, south carolina's preeminent patriot. i relied heavily on his wartime memoirs published in 1802. on one occasion, i was struck by the phrase "the unfortunate colonel payne was executed. paine unfortunate kernel e was executed." while traveling back and forth between thomasville and charleston, i was going back and forth quite close to the grave of the man who would become the central character of my next , the unfortunate kernel -- the unfortunate colonel hayne.
it is literally in the middle of nowhere. couple of slides illustrate that. of these trips, i decided to follow the signs. i pulled off the main highway onto a dirt road not much more than a fire break. i traveled past cultivated fields until i got to the site hall, where i saw these historical monuments that had been in place since 2007, replacing those that had been erected in 1964. wasn'try of isaac hayne a brand-new one, and has been told in book form as far back as , who wroteid boutin his thesis about hayne and
published it in the form you see here. narrative is a very straightforward telling of the story without embellishment. i wanted to provide more information about the circumstances that led to isaac being and his unfortunate predicament, as well as the two british officers who were there with him and charleston. at one point, when i was just about finished with the manuscript, i was riding up i-75 towards atlanta listening to the radio, and bill o'reilly came on talking about one of his new books. in his books he is always killing somebody, whether it is jesus, reagan, kennedy, patton, the japanese. so i thought, kissing -- so i thought, killing isaac hayne, undimmed jump on that bandwagon.
maybe there would be trademark issues. my publisher was not amused. [laughter] mr. bragg: he upped me come up with this title, "martyr of the american revolution, the execution of isaac hayne, south carolinian." carolinasion of south and the title hopefully sends a subliminal message that important and germanic things did occur and south carolina during the revolutionary war. i'd like to begin with a visual representation of when on the revolutionary war timeline the isaac hayne incident occurred. and in 17737075 and . you can see all the battles underneath. if you look at the isaac hayne and the arrow there, it points to about midway between 1781 and
1782. the incident was quite late in the war. in addition to pointing out when showe war, i also want to that early in the war, much of what happened that we find interesting today occurred up north. not everything, but a lot. in the second half of the war, you have almost the opposite being true. so many of the battles of importance took place down in the south. so what actually did happen on august 4, 1781? let me give you a brief synopsis from the book. inonel isaac hayne traveled july 1780 to seek medical attention for his family. his wife and three children were suffering from an outbreak of smallpox. acting under threat of imprisonment and protesting that
he would never take arms against his fellow americans, he swore allegiance to king george the third so he could speedily return home. home, heid return found his wife and two of his children had perished. hayne reinjured american service as patriot forces forced the british to withdraw closer to charleston. he knew full well if he was captured, he would face dire consequences. a was indeed captured by british rating party in july 1780 one and imprisoned in the royal exchange. seeking to make an example of him, british military authorities summarily sentenced him to death. many citizens of charleston petitioned for mercy. three of his remaining four children caught up on the british common. -- british
beggedant, where they for their father's life on their knees. never asked for mercy, and only requested two things. ant he might have opportunity to say last goodbyes to his children, and that he might die the death of a soldier by firing squad rather than by hanging. only one of these requests would be honored. on august 4, 1781, payne walked back to the place of his execution at the outskirts of town. he climbed onto the back of a cart, and a rope was tied around his neck. given an opportunity to say his last words, he remarked almost casually, he only wished to say goodbye to his friends, and then he would be ready. affectionately shaking hands with those who had come with him, he commended his children to their care, and signaled for the car to move. and 1781,ll of this,
who knew who isaac hayne was? certainly the people of charleston new. --y had heard about it, cnet heard about it, seen it, and now they can read about it in the paper. and loyalistia men militia men knew who isaac hayne was. continental officers and british officers knew who isaac hayne was. generals nathanael greene and charles cornwallis knew who isaac hayne was, as did generals washington and clinton. the continental congress in philadelphia new, and so did the house of lords and british parliament in london. so, who then comes to mind when one hears the expression, martyr
of the american revolution? don't shout out your answer. [laughter] mr. bragg: i'm willing to guess is nathan hale. was a 21-year-old former schoolteacher from connecticut who was captured by the british in 1776 and summarily hanged as a spy. he has become a part of american mythology on account of his youth, bravery, and legendary famous last words, "i regret that i have but one life to give for my country." he has been immortalized in novels, art, graphic and even a postage stamp. he had a cemetery named after him, in which he is not very -- not buried. there is a bust that can dedicate his schoolhouse in
connecticut. there are at least eight monuments to nathan hale. there were even to in this building i did not know about. the realization of how many statues there were four nathan hale sent me into the leaves while i was working on this presentation. i want to show you what i came up with. here's an informal survey of revolutionary war monuments conducted non-scientifically from my desktop over a period of about 15 minutes one saturday in december. [laughter] mr. bragg: for george washington, there were too many to count. lafayette was number two with 15. nathan hale third place with at least 10, and so on down the line. it's interesting that 30% of the names on this list were born in countries other than the united states. down at the bottom we have the
south carolinians, and all except for pain -- all except for hayne served in the confidential army. let's get back to the story. -- continental army. let's get back to the story. part of my wanting to write was theaac hayne realization that there were actually three principal characters in the story, if we call hayne the protagonist. we have two antagonists. anytime you give a doctor a powerpoint presentation, this is what you are liable to come up with. i tried to clean it up a little bit so you could see. these three officers live somewhat parallel lives until they came together in charleston
in 1781. it ended badly for hayne, not so badly for balfour and route -- and rowdon. rowdon was 26onel in 1781. time on the staff of lieutenant general sir henry clinton. camden. fight at 1781, in terms of field command, he was second only to cornwallis. rebels who hee referred to as infamous scoundrels, ignorant bigots. sympathy --elt any felt little, if any, sympathy
for the place of american women who suffered indignities, assaults, and rapes at the hands of the british. this is what he wrote to his uncle in 1776. nymphs of this i'll are a wonderful tribute tatian -- are in wonderful tribulation. you cannot walk without running the imminent risk of being ravished, they are so little accustomed to these vigorous methods they do not bear them with proper resignation. and we have the most entertaining court-martial's everyday." there you have colonel rowdon. next we have our second antagonist, lieutenant colonel balfour. he was a 38-year-old scotsman. he had also been present at bunker hill, brandywine, germantown.
he had served on the staff of general william howe. at the time of the heinous incident, he was commandant of charleston, which had surrendered to the british in may 1780. i searched high and low for a portrait balfour, and it just as soon to be one. i searched repositories and archives on both sides of the atlantic and made numerous inquiries. al i could find in terms of pictorial representation of balfour was a fictitious one. it comes from a novel written by famed southern author william gilmore simms, based in part on the story of isaac kane -- isaac hayne. and of course, balfour is a major villain in the story. him as motrin described a scot who carries authority with a high hand.
when he appealed to balfour's balfour called his plea that it. according to dr. david ramsey, balfour displayed all the frivolous self-importance and disgusting insolence which are natural to little minds of the by sudden -- little minds when puffed up by sudden elevation. that i amemind myself only giving the american partisan view of these two officers. in reality, they were both highly professional and well respected on their side of the argument. finally we come to isaac hayne. this image is not actually isaac hayne. it is his son. it has been published over and over as the carolina patriot isaac hayne.
hopefully there was some family is sort of, so that what he looked like. he was a native south carolinians, a member of the low country aristocracy, and wealthy. benevolent, conciliating and his disposition, and possessed of an irreproachable character. of course, those aren't my words. those of the words of his contemporaries. he resided at hayne hall near jacksboro. in 1765, he married elizabeth hudson, sister of his best friend richard hudson, who would later become a delegate to the continental congress and signer of the articles of confederation. in a decade of marriage, isaac and elizabeth would have eight children. the intersection of these three fourappened because of fateful choices. clinton issued proclamations,
haynes for allegiance to george and rejoined american forces, and when he fell into the hands of balfour and rowdon, they showed no mercy. the first choice was by general clinton. he was part of the force that attacked fort sullivan in 1776, but he was stuck on long island, -- heown as islet bongs returned in april, 1780, but charleston under siege from the land side, and was able to cause the city to surrender on may 12, 1780. according to the articles of capitulation agreed on by clinton and the american ,ommander major general lincoln
he would be allowed to return home on parole and left alone as long as he behaved themselves are you -- themselves. the militia in the country rightly assumed this same article apply to them. disbanded his militia company, and everyone went home expecting to be left alone. clinton just couldn't leave matters as they were. right before he got on a boat to , leavingto new york cornwallis in command of south carolina, he issued a series of three proclamations. the summation of which is on the screen. voided all the paroles, forced the inhabitants of south carolina to take sides, and promised to deal harshly
with transgressors. cornwallis was ambivalent about this at first. finally, he said if the inhabitants didn't sign up coming would make sure they were punished. this policy forced into american service thousands of their , who said if they must fight, let it be on the side of america, their friends, and their countrymen. oultrie also had a lot to say about those who took his protection under duress. i would be willing to bet this is not what you think it is going to be. a great many exchange their paroles for protections. many at first refused. persuaded, and others threatened that if they did not sign, they would be in -- informed against.
it was unavoidable with many. i advised several of my friends after the fall of charleston to take that step and stay with their families to we could come in force and release them." that is a very important statement. he implied that if the american forces regained control of a the force worn allegiances would become null and void themselves. on said the majority of inhabitants in the frontier districts, though ill disposed to us from circumstances, were not actually in arms against us. they were therefore free from their paroles, and nine out of 10 are now embodied on the part of the rebels. the next fateful choice belonged to hayne. accounts vary, but whether he
went to charleston to obtain medicine for his family or because he was compelled to do so by the british, once he was there, he was apprehended and threatened if he didn't take protection, he would be locked up. "i declare it is contrary to my inclination and forced on me by hard necessity," he said. "i will never bear arms against my country." when he returned home to hayne hall, he found his wife and daughter elizabeth and mary had succumbed to smallpox. i crossed out the word choice on this slide because hayne found himself in a dilemma. he was being pressed from both explicitly pressed by the british. it's hard to know just how explicit he was being pressed from the american side, although
rutledge did write to john dickinson that statement there. his person and property were at our mercy." in any event, during this time, the british were being gradually forced out of the back country, closer and closer to charleston. it is this shift that is likely what nudged pain back into service, and would later be the basis of a question debated by both sides. did loss of was, territory cancel obligations made prior to the loss of territory? many americans thought so. rie -- william moultrie sure did. the british disagreed. slide is just to give you
an indication of how the tide of war was turning and south carolina, beginning in 1780. the british had the upper hand. you can see where hayne signed his allegiance. after the battle of camden, things started turning in favor of the americans. brigadier general andrew williamson had commanded south carolina militia and the backcountry and in georgia until the fall of charleston. now with the backcountry under british control, williamson took protection and swore allegiance to the crown in order to preserve his property and fortune. williamson would not actively fight, but he was willing to help the british and -- british in other ways by providing provisions and military information. he was decried a traitor to the
patriot cause and they wanted him back. he was taking up residence outside of charleston. there.tish left him it is hard to say whether he was defended or not. in any event, hayne cite out from his camp with a party of militia on the night of july 5 to see if he could capture williamson. they took williamson completely by surprise and brought him back to be tried on charges of treason. of course, the british were livid of this. concern for williamson's life, embarrassed either inability to protect the loyal citizen. balfour in charleston immediately sent major thomas fraser to pursue hayne and take williamson back. -- maining main runs
roads and operating an upmost secrecy, they covered 76 u.s. -- circuitous -- 70 miles. second-in-command and a few of their men were not in camp. they were at the plantation home of mary ford, where a -- where hayne made his temporary headquarters. the record is unclear about the whereabouts of williamson, but the british were covered -- british were covered him and then came after hayne. hayne took of across the field. his horse came to a fence and stumbled. he dismounted to try to remove the rails, and the british caught up with him. in the melee, his friend maclaughlin was killed, but he was taken prisoner.
his british captors immediately conveyed him to charleston, where he was incarcerated in the city jail located under the royal exchange and customhouse. if you are ever in charleston that have the time, i would urge you to visit the site. it is really very well done. this is the cell where he was held. hayne and theor british was whether or not he as a spy,considered or if he was a traitor. instead of receiving a trial by jury of his peers, they declared him a traitor. instead of trying him, they summarily sentenced him to be executed. i've included all the correspondence between him and his lawyer and his british captors as an appendage to the
book. it is all laid out in plain view. it is very interesting. here is something from the patriot that actually did happen. contrary to what you might think, there are nuggets of historical accuracy. the mel gibson," character is a composite of thomas sumter, daniel morgan, and maybe some others. , the melw the movie gibson character has an attractive widowed sister-in-law who looks after his children while these out and about fighting the british. widower,ne, who was a also had a sister-in-law who was a widow herself. her name was mary hudson para no.
while he was campaigning against the british, she took care of his kids. unfortunately, unlike "the patriot," there is no happy, romantic ending to this story. hayne ansh did allow opportunity to bid final farewell to his children day before his execution. overcome withs so grief she cannot bring herself to visit him on his last day. on the morning of august 4, 1781, hayne marched from the exchange to the place of execution,- place of located not far from marion square. he was accompanied by several friends, his lawyer, a priest, and a contingent of british soldiers. when he came in sight of his place of execution, he realized he would not be afforded the death of a soldier, and his
heart sank. his great-grandson theodore b observed, "murders condemned to death, most of them losing their nerve before the end. but colonel hayne had to walk with his hands and in through quite a distance to the place of his execution, yet not for a moment did he show the slightest fear during this terrible ordeal , and he preserved his dignity and composure to the end." arrived atocession the place of execution, he was given the opportunity to say his last words, commending his children to the care of his friends. he announced his readiness and was hanged. it wasn't until about the 1850's that judicial hanging as we think of it today came into being. in the 18th century, hanging was
essentially strangulation, and can oftentimes be a slow and agonizing way to die. his corpse was carried to hayne hall by his 20-year-old body servant paul and buried in accordance with his wishes. his grieving family, or what was left of it, was allowed no respite from their distress. a loyalist foraging party returning to charleston from procuring foodstuffs for hospitals camped on the grounds ,f hayne hall the night after close enough to see the fresh grave and the garden. there were consequences beyond what happened to hayne. british prisoner of war exchanges were halted for a while. british pows were afraid of
retribution, and british officers were afraid of capture for fear of retribution. hundreds, if not thousands, flocked to the american side. francis marion is supposed to have said, "and the enemy played a generous game, we should be ruined. but with them, humanity is out of the question. withwill treat the people severity come around his opposition and send recruits to our standard till they accomplished their own destruction. oh -- own destruction. destruction." green was invalid. his officers were demanding recognition -- demanding retribution. he practically had to order francis marion not to take retribution. he asked george washington what
he should do, and george washington said i know not what to say on the subject of retaliation, but i'm convinced that of all the laws this is most difficult to execute where you have not the transcripts in your possession. humanity will ever interfere and plead strongly against the sacrifice of an innocent person for the guilt of another. balfour was transferred to new york. home, boarded a ship for and was captured by the french, who safeguarded him, although efforts were made by the americans to obtain possession of him so they could hang him. he finally made it back home to england, where he took his place in the house of lords. when he got there, he found that the duke of richmond had been pushing a resolution for an inquiry into his actions and hanging either kane -- hanging
isaac hayne. the resolution failed, and ro , saying thataged if there was not a public apology, there would be a public tool. -- public duel. richmond caved and gave an apology. long after, the continental congress started making noise about the possibility of taking retribution against cornwallis. after a lot of debate, that resolution failed. david boutin believed if hayne had been executed early in the war instead of late in the war, he would have been remembered as a patriot like nathan hale. grandson believe if that
had occurred, he would have a monument as high as the monument at bunker hill. did get a monument placed in his honor in 1929 at the site of his burial. it's a very quiet, pastoral setting, not too far off the main highway. in closing, i would like to suggest that perhaps come in the future, when you hear the word martyr of the american revolution, please remember isaac hayne. i am happy to take any questions. [applause] mr. bragg: thank you. that talk kind of ends like isaac hayne did, sadly.
[laughter] yes sir. i wonder if part of the explanation is that you didn't have anything quite as memorable , at leastnathan hale the way you related. centerleft he was concerned with his children, which is of course wonderful, but it didn't say anything about the revolution. mr. bragg: perhaps you are right, although we not completely certain what nathan hale did say. he certainly had a better praise agent -- better press agent than isaac hayne. [indiscernible] mr. bragg: the town was not very
much more than this to crossroads. the jets and borough assembly -- the jackson borough assembly that you mentioned where the state legislature met briefly occurred much later in terms of months to a year. the hanes didn't have any part in that. >> first question, why isaac hayne? it seems like the british could have hung anyone at anytime. secondly, how much of this is retribution for john andre's execution in 1780? mr. bragg: those are two very good questions. i address both of those
questions in the book. hayne?ac the british were being pushed back. they were suffering losses, they were tired, they were really annoyed at the way people were going to the american side. they were looking for somebody to make an example of. all of a sudden, here they had this really prominent arson -- prominent person for that area. i can't read too much into their thoughts, but i think isaac hayne fell into their hands at just the wrong time for him and just the right time for them. as to part b of your question about john andre, i also address this in the book. there was an element of revenge for john andre.
to those who may be unfamiliar, john andre was the british major who was in cahoots with benedict arnold and was captured and hanged as a spy. john andre was not just a very popular officer on the british side. withs very good friends owdon and balfour. it is said that when a loyalist made a plea for haynes life, balfour wrote down one word on a piece of paper and gave it to him, and that word was andre. >> is isaac hayne and ancestor of the famous senator kaine -- who had a debate
with daniel webster? mr. bragg: i believe he was a grandson. -- ma'am? quest [indiscernible] mr. bragg: i don't know the answer to that. data was not much available on how many and of what gender or age slaves he had. i know he did have quite a few. on one occasion, a friend of his or rated him for not being more strict with the slaves. i do know that. >> and the slide depicting hayne iing to his execution,
believe there were two american authors. is that the artist's imagination, or were there american authors there? mr. bragg: that's a really good question, and one i can't answer with certainty, except to say that the artist who painted that the church -- that picture used various accounts. some of them were of questionable accuracy. before you asked that question, i probably could have named the guys, but now i can't. several of them were known to be on a prison ship in the harbor at the time of his execution. there is one school of thought that they were taken off the ship and brought into town so that they could watch, and there is another school of thought that says that that is a complete fabrication.
>> and curious if you have a sense of how many hangings or executions there were during the war on either side, whether were the only significant ones, or if this was something much more common. aware of: i'm not executions of british on the part of the americans or of americans on the part of the british. what i do know is that there were lots of nonjudicial executions going on and the south carolina backcountry and both sides of the argument were guilty of that behavior.
yes sir? assumptions onny whether or not colonel hayne was executed in uniform? mr. bragg: i do not know for certain, although every seen orn i have ever has him in uniform. he was taken at the head of his troops. probably not an unfair assumption that he was in his uniform. question,so ask the what exactly was the uniform of an american militia officer? thank you very much for your attention. i appreciate it. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here. i think we all agree that that was fascinating and captivating. we certainly appreciate it. hopefully you all will stay around and join us for some light refreshments in the winter garden to my right. dr. bragg will be in the back of the room signing books, and we know you want to read the full story, so stay for that, as well. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016]
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