Moultrie's most famous battle was fighting off a British attempt to capture what was then called Charles Town Harbor. He and his group of about 400 men battled from a fort made of sand and palmetto logs on Sullivans Island. Moultrie's unit held firm against an estimated 2,000-strong British group trying to cross from what is now Isle of Palms.
"This statue represents freedom and liberty, from now to eternity, for this great nation," former Gov. James B. Edwards said.
The British eventually captured Charleston in 1780. They also caught Moultrie, who was later released in a prisoner exchange. Moultrie twice served as governor. While in office, he moved the state capital from Charleston to Columbia.
The 8-foot statue was sculpted by John Ney Michel. Local groups raised $250,000 for the project.
Moultrie's statue shows him in uniform, with his sword sheathed. He's holding his hat at his side as he appears to look out at Charleston Harbor.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley praised the statue, calling it beautiful, patriotic and the result of an ambitious undertaking.
"Liberty is a precious thing, and our forefathers are rightly venerated for their bravery and devotion," Mr. Riley said.