1760 – England
John Rutledge was called to the English bar and sailed home for Charlestown soon after.
1776 – American Revolution
The South Carolina delegation returned from the Continental Congress. During the return trip from Philadelphia aboard the Hawke, the British man-o-war Syren bore down on the small pilot boat. Capt. Joseph Vesey sailed hard for the shore and beached the Hawke on the North Carolina coast. The delegates and crew scrambled to safety in a nearby swamp and made their way overland to Charles Town, leaving the Hawke as a prize for the British.
Once in Charlestown John Rutledge warned that a British attack in the South was probable. Christopher Gadsden presented his “Don’t Tread on Me” flag to the Provincial Congress. As recorded in the South Carolina congressional journals the proclamation read:
Col. Gadsden presented to the Congress an elegant standard, such as is to be used by the commander in chief of the American Navy; being a yellow field, with a lively representation of a rattlesnake in the middle in the attitude of going to strike and these words underneath, “Don’t tread on me.”
Gadsden also a presented copy of Thomas Paine’s just published Common Sense, which helped inflame local political sensibilities.