On Jan. 10, 1776, Christopher Gadsden, a South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress, sent Commodore Esek Hopkins a list of “Field Officers & Captains” stationed at Charlestown (Charleston), South Carolina.
Gadsden assured Hopkins, “Shou'd you go there...you may depend on all the Assistance they can give. They are most of them Gentlemen of considerable Fortunes with us who have enter’d into the service merely from Principle & to promote & give Credit to the Cause….”
In a biography of Charles Pinckney, historian Marty D. Matthews remarked that many Carolinians were apathetic toward the contest between Congress and Britain. Gadsden explained that whiggish members of the Carolina gentry set an example of service, hoping to make enlistment fashionable.
Matthews explained that the occupation of South Carolina by the British army in 1780-81 convinced many Carolinians to join the Continental effort.
Several American leaders hoped more gentlemen might enlist as officers. Major General Richard Montgomery, a member of the Anglo-Irish gentry who enlisted in the Continental Army, wrote to General Philip Schuyler on November 13, 1775, "I wish some method cou[l]d be fallen upon of engaging Gentlemen to serve--a Point of honour and more knowledge of the world to be found in that Class of men wou[l]d greatly reform discipline and render the troops much more tractable."
Marty D. Matthews, Forgotten Founder: The Life and Times of Charles Pinckney (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2004), page 19; Michael P. Gabriel, Major General Richard Montgomery: The Making of an American Hero (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002), page 140.