Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan provides infrequently used words to strengthen your

Recently I was reading about William Moultrie (1730-1805), a

prominent soldier in the Revolutionary War. In the outset of the Revolution, the South Carolinian was appointed colonel of a regiment.
The American Educator Encyclopedia states that although Moultrie was associated with loyalists, he early espoused the patriot cause, entered the South Carolina provincial congress, took command of a state militia, and defended Charleston against an attack in March, 1776.
Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia says that Moultrie’s most notable feat was the construction of a palmetto fort at Charleston, which he defended successfully against the attack of Adm. Hyde Parker of the British Royal Navy.
In 1802 Moultrie’s book “Memoirs of the Revolution” was published, two volumes of letters and accounts of the Revolution in the Carolinas and Georgia. I find it intriguing to read about the events of the Revolutionary War, especially accounts that were authored by someone who experienced the events firsthand. I came across this week’s words in researching Moultrie.
1. palmetto (pahl-MET-oh)
A. strong
B. various palm branches with fan-shaped leaves
C. beautiful
D. rugged
2. feat (feet)
A. an act or deed, especially an act of courage
B. an official order given by someone who has power
C. an edifice
D. a generous gesture
3. arduous
A. fast, productive
B. bilious
C. hard to accomplish or achieve
D. marked by great labor or effort
4. brigadier (brig-uh-DEER)
A. a one-star general officer grade rank
B. a rank between colonel and major general
C. the lowest ranking of the General Officer ranks
D. All of the above
No. 1, palmetto, is B. A number of items are constructed from the fronds of the palmetto palms.
No. 2, feat, is A. Not only did Moultrie achieve the feat of constructing a palmetto fort at Charleston, he successfully defended it against an attack led by the admiral of the British Navy.
No. 3, arduous, is C and D. In the preface to “Memoirs of the American Revolution,” Moultrie refers to writing the work as “an arduous task.”
No. 4, brigadier, is D. When Moultrie was made brigadier-general, he was given command of the army in Georgia and South Carolina and was active in defending the territory of the two states.
E-mail me to request a link to an archived version of Moultrie’s “Memoirs of the American Revolution.”
Editor’s Note: Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D., of Eupora is a speech and theatre professor at East Mississippi Community College and is the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Calhoun County. Contact him at