Carolina in the Revolution

Almost all our ancestors are northerners, but we do have one group of Scotch/Irish Presbyterian Seceder ancestors who immigrated to  Ninety-Six District, later Abbeville County, and Chester County South Carolina in the late 1700′s, just in time for the Revolutionary War.  Our branch followed their minister Alex. Porter to Preble County, Ohio in the early 1800′s, supposedly to avoid contact with the institution of slavery, but before they left, the second generation fought in the Revolution.

We also have a loyalist family  in our tree who fought in South Carolina on the British side.   While we had 15 ancestral families who immigrated to and from Canada, the Nathaniel PARKS’ family was the only one who were actually resettled loyalists.  When I was growing up, I thought all our American/Canadian/American ancestors were loyalists, but most just went to Canada for an opportunity.

Nathaniel PARKS (1738-1818) Nathaniel and his son Joseph enlisted in the loyalist 3rd Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers (known as Skinners Greens) on 6 June 1778.  Nathaniel was 40 when he enlisted and his son was 18 years old.  The N.J. Volunteers were relocated to Canada arriving in Parrtown New Brunswick  in Oct 1783 aboard the Duke of Richmond (Parrtown was renamed Saint John in 1785.

29 Dec 1778 – Both Parks sailed with the expedition to take Savannah, Georgia  They subsequently took part in the Franco- American Siege of that city in Sep/Oct 1779.

29 Nov 1779 – They were both listed as sick in quarters, Joseph now promoted to corporal, both still serving in the same company and battalion. Sargent, Capt. Bartholomew Thatcher’s Co., 3rd NJV commanded by Lt. Col. Isaac Allen, Staten Island.. Savahnah.

Both Parks continued in this situation through 1780 and into 1781.

July 1780 – The battalion march in  from Savannah to Augusta, Georgia, and shortly thereafter to Ninety Six, South Carolina. At Ninety Six there were numerous small expeditions and skirmishes, which they may have taken part in.

May and Jun 1781 – Nathaniel and Joseph took part in the Siege of Ninety Six by the Rebel forces under [our possible relative] General Nathanael GREENE  , and the immediate evacuation of that post after the lifting of that event.

8 Sep 1781 – They also took part in the very bloody Battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina,.  Though half the British forces were killed, wounded or captured, the Parks survived apparently unscathed. At this time they were serving in the same company but the battalion had just been renumbered to the 2nd. This was due to the “old” 2nd battalion being under strength and drafted into the 1st and late 4th battalions.

Thomas Gibson CARSON (1710 – 1790) immigrated in 1773 to Charleston, SC from Newry, Ulster, Ireland, sailing in the ship “Elliott” on June 30 and arriving on Aug. 20, 1773.  It was a hard trip, and storms added sailing time.  Less than a decade later, he was in the military in 1780 and 1781 in Georgia and Tennessee, serving as a horseman in Captain Joseph Carson’s Company of the South Carolina Militia, and participated in the battles of Rocky Mount and Hanging Rock under Colonel William Bratton. He was certified as a Revolutionary War Soldier by Colonel Elijah Clarke and received bounty land in Washington County for his services. Georgia sources show he served in the Battalion of Minute Men. He applied for an invalid soldier’s pension. His home was burned by the Tories during the Revolutionary War.

Thomas Gibson CARSON ‘s son William A Carson (1735-1801) immigrated to America with his family in 1773, and joined Captain William Fullwood’s company of volunteer militia on September 30, 1775, in South Carolina. The company took part in the Snow Campaign Dec. 23-30, 1775.

Thomas Gibson CARSON ‘s grandson-in-law John Hearst (1750-1808) was identified as a major in his will and is presumed to have served in the Continental Army. John’s grandson George F Hearst struck Silver in the Comstock Lode and became enormously rich. (Plus the bad guy in Season 3 of Deadwood)

William McCAW Sr’s son-in-law Edward “Ned” McDaniel  (1756-1824) was born after his father’s death, according to family tradition in Braddock’s Defeat. Braddock’s Defeat was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne (modern-day downtown Pittsburgh) in the summer of 1755 during the French and Indian War.

During the  Revolution, Ned served as private and horseman in Captain Thompson’s and Capt. Benjamin Garrison’s regiments Cols. Lacey, Bratton, and Gen. Marion.  During the service, he was in several engagements, was wounded in the battle of Rocky Mount, and was wounded in the shoulder in the battle of Hanging Rock.  He was pensioned by the State of South Carolina on account of wounds received in the War.”

Edward McDaniel Revolutionary Service from his pension application

Thomas Gibson CARSON ‘s son Thomas Carson (1759-1807) served in the military between 1780 and 1781 in Georgia and Tennessee. He served in a “Refugee” regiment. At the first siege of Augusta, GA, in 1780, Colonel William Candler raised a volunteer regiment known as the Refugee Regiment of Richmond county. Thomas was enlisted at the direction of Colonel Elijah Clarke, commander, on Sep 15, 1780, to serve “till the British are totally expelled from this state.” The regiment moved to Tennessee in Sept., 1780, marching to the Nolichucky settlements, fighting battles at King’s Mountain on Oct 7, 1780, Fishdam Ford on Nov 9,  1780, Blackstock’s Farm on Nov 20, 1780, and Long Cane (South Carolina) on Dec 11, 1780. The regiment was disbanded on Jun 5, 1781. According to the book “Roster of South Carolina patriots of the American Revolution”, he served as a horseman in the militia under Captain Joseph Carson (not believed to be his brother, Joseph, who would have been 15 in 1781), during 1780 and 1781. At the battles of Rocky Mount and Hanging Rock, he was under Colonel Bratton.

Thomas’s brothers  John Wesley , David  (1762-1826)  and Adam (1764-1842) were also privates in  Joseph Carson’s company.  His niece Margaret’s husband Josiah Patterson (1751-1835) was the Lieutenant.

Thomas Gibson CARSON‘s son John Wesley Carson (1760-1823) served in the military between 1777 and 1783 in Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. John served in both the “Minute Men” and Refugee” units.  David Carson served in the military in 1780 and 1781 in Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Thomas Gibson CARSON‘s son David Carson served with Adam Carson in 1794 in the “Trans-Oconee Republic”, in GA. General Elijah Clark (1733 – 1799) attempted to establish a republic in Georgia, on the southwest side of the Oconee River. Adam Carson was a captain in the militia commanded by General Clark, and David served also..

Thomas Gibson CARSON‘s son Adam Carson served in the military between 1777 and 1783 in Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina, serving in the Minute Men Battalion (see notes for Thomas Carson, preceding). He enlisted at age of 11 or 12, in the same company as his brothers under Captain John McGaw ( McGaw was actually McGough, a family close to the Carson family) and Joseph Carson during 1780 and 1791. Adam was promoted to Orderly Sergeant, and served 2-1/2 years until the end of the war. His company was mainly expelling Indians, Tories, and English from Georgia. He was in both sieges of Augusta, GA, and the battle of Long Cane. He commanded militia in Greene Co., GA, resigning on 31 March, 1791.

a href=””>Thomas Gibson CARSON’s son Joseph (1766 – 1798) served in the military between 1777 and 1781 in GA and TN. He served in the Minute Men Battalion and in the Refugee Battalion. He served in Picken’s Brigade as a private from August 17, 1781, until November 15, 1781. On April 7, 1784, General Elijah Clarke certified that Joseph Carson was a refugee soldier entitled to a bounty of land. About 1790, Joseph Carson served as a captain under General John Clark, raiding the Creek Indian Village of Cheehaw Town.

James McCAW (1762 – 1840) served eight tours between 1775 and 1781 in all at least two years and two months.   It’s interesting how in the Revolution, troops served for a while, went home to work the crops and returned to serve again.

Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son John Patterson (1763-1837) was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, serving as a substitute for his father in August 1778 when he was just 15 1/2 years old; he saw service in the Carolinas in 1778, 1780 and 1781 and was discharged March 1781. He was in both the infantry and cavalry.   We know a lot about his service from his 1832 pension application letter.

Two of Samuel PATTERSON’s sons-in-law, William and John McGaw were Captains in the Revolution.  They were born in Dunfermline, County Antrim, Ireland and emigrated to Abbeville District, S.C. about 1767 when they were teenagers.  They married sisters Mary and Sarah Patterson.

Willliam McCAW Sr’s daughter-in-law Mary Johnston (1757- 1829)  first married James Henry Gordon. Soon after Gordon was killed 7 Oct 1780 at the Battle of Kings Mountain, she married John McCaw (1758-1825).

Throughout the course of the Revolutionary War, over 200 battles were fought within South Carolina, more than in any other state.    I’ve included a few battles in neighboring North Carolina and Georgia in this post where our South Carolina relatives participated.

When the Revolutionary War began in Massachusetts in April 1775, the free population of the Province of South Carolina was divided in its reaction. Many English coastal residents were either neutral or favored the rebellion, while significant numbers of backcountry residents, many of whom were German and Scottish immigrants were opposed. Loyalist opposition in the backcountry was dominated by Thomas Fletchall, a vocal and active opponent of attempts to resist King and Parliament.  By August 1775 tensions between Patriot and Loyalist in the province had escalated to the point where both sides had raised sizable militia forces.

Events were largely nonviolent for some time, although there were isolated instances of tarring and feathering, but tensions were high as the sides struggled for control of munitions. The Council of Safety in early August sent William Henry Drayton and Reverend William Tennent to Ninety Six to rally Patriot support and suppress growing Loyalist support in the backcountry. Drayton was able to negotiate a tenuous truce with Fletchall in September.

On Sep 15, Patriot militia seized Fort Johnson, the principal fortification overlooking the Charleston harbor. Governor William Campbell dissolved the provincial assembly, and fearing for his personal safety, fled to the Royal Navy sloop of war HMS Tamar. This left the Patriot-controlled Council of Safety in control of the provincial capital.  The council began improving and expanding Charleston’s coastal defenses, eventually resulting in a bloodless exchange of cannofire between Patriot-controlled positions and Royal Navy ships in the harbor on Nov 11 and 12.

Matters also escalated when the Council of Safety began to organize a large-scale response to the seizure by Loyalists in October of a shipment of gunpowder and ammunition intended for the Cherokee. On Nov 8 the Council of Safety voted to send Colonel Richard Richardson, the commander of the Camden militia, to recover the shipment and arrest opposition leaders.

Snow Campaign

While Richardson gathered forces in Charleston, Major Andrew Williamson (see bio below), who had been recruiting Patriots in the backcountry, learned of the gunpowder seizure. He arrived at Ninety Six early on November 19 with 560 men. Finding the small town to be not very defensible, he established a camp on John Savage’s plantation, which was protected by an improvised stockade and provided a field of fire for the force’s three swivel guns. Loyalist recruiting had been more successful: Williamson had learned that Captain Patrick Cuningham and Major Joseph Robinson were leading a large Loyalist force (estimated to number about 1,900) toward Ninety Six.  In a war council that day, the Patriot leaders decided against marching out to face the Loyalists. The Loyalists arrived the next day, and surrounded the Patriot camp at the Siege of Savage’s Old Fields (also known as the First Siege of Ninety Six, November 19–21, 1775).

The leaders of the two factions were in the midst of negotiating an end to the standoff when two Patriot militiamen were seized by Loyalists outside the stockade. This set off a gunfight that lasted for about two hours.  For two more days the Patriots were besieged, during which there were occasional exchanges of gunfire. The siege ended after a parley in which the Patriot leaders were allowed to lead their forces out of the encampment in exchange for the surrender of their swivel guns, which were later returned. Both sides withdrew, the Loyalists across the Saluda River, and the Patriots down toward Charleston.

Meantime, an army of up to 3,000 Patriot militia under Colonel Richard Richardson marched against Loyalist recruiting centers in South Carolina, flushing them out and frustrating attempts by the Loyalists to organize. The Patriot expedition became known as the Snow Campaign due to heavy snowfall in the later stages of the campaign.

Col Richard Richardson

James McCAW first entered the service of the United States when he was 13 or 14 years old as a volunteer in Captain Dixon’s Company in Col. Lacy’s [sic, Lacey’s] Regiment and served in what was called the Snowy Campaign in the year 1775 (to the best of his recollection) took some Tories whilst in the service served three months and was dismissed.

[I think McCaw may misremember his Colonel in his first tour.  Edward Lacey was a Captain 1775-1779.  He was  promoted to Lt. Colonel, then became Colonel of Turkey Creek Volunteer Militia in June 1780.  His unit was also called the Chester Troops and the Chester District Militia by later historians.

In 1775, Col. Richard Richardson commanded the Camden Regiment which included Chester County.  There was a Captain Dixon from Rowan, NC on this campaign, but McCaw’s officer was probably – Capt. John Nixon of the Camden District Regiment.]

By Nov 27 Richardson reached the Congaree River with about 1,000 men. There he paused for several days, crossing the river and accumulating more militia companies into his force. When he left camp his force numbered about 1,500.   By Dec  2 he had reached the Dutch Fork region (between the Saluda and Broad Rivers), gathering an ever-increasing number of militia along the way. There he halted at Evan McLauren‘s house, capturing several Loyalist officers in the area. The Loyalist forces, hampered by loss of leadership, were shrinking due to desertion. Those that remained organized retreated toward Cherokee lands at the headwaters of the Saluda River.

After issuing proclamations calling for the arrest of Loyalist officers and the return of the stolen munitions, Richardson resumed the march, his force grown to about 2,500.  His force, still growing in size, marched toward the Enoree River, chasing down Loyalist leaders. On Dec  12 Richardson reported that his force numbered 3,000, and that he had captured Fletchall (who was found hiding in a cave) and several other Loyalist leaders.  Fletchall’s farm was searched and his private correspondence, including letters from Governor Campbell, were found.

At the Enoree Richardson was joined by militia forces under Williamson, as well as addition militia from North Carolina led by Colonels Griffith Rutherford and William Graham, swelling his force until it numbered between four and five thousand.   These forces scoured the backcountry, and located a camp of 200 Loyalists on the Reedy River, several miles inside Cherokee territory.   Richardson sent William Thomson with 1,300 troops to attack the camp. Thomson and the volunteers surprised the Loyalist camp on December 22, taking prisoners and seizing supplies, weapons, and ammunition. Thomson was able to control his men and avoid a slaughter: only five or six Loyalists were killed, and one of Thomson’s men was wounded.

The next day, Dec 23, it began snowing as the Patriot forces made their way back toward the coast. The march home of the Patriot force was difficult because the force was unprepared for the weather. Richardson’s army was dissolved, and most of the Patriots returned home.  Richardson took 136 prisoners, who were dispatched to Charleston under guard on Jan 2, 1776.

After Capt. Patrick Cunningham had been defeated at Great Cane Brake, Col. Richardson considered the upcountry to be pacified and turned his army homeward. He couldn’t stay because winter was coming and his army had no tents, their shoes were worn out, and they were badly clothed. Along the way home, it snowed for thirty hours, dumping two feet on the weary Patriots.

Battle of Sullivan’s Island

Britain’s strategy was to take advantage of strong Loyalist support in the South, begin a military drive in Charles Town, and perhaps sweep through the Upcountry, North Carolina, and Virginia while gathering men to take on Washington in the North. Under Colonel William Moultrie, the South Carolinians defeated the Royal Navy in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island on June 28, 1776 and brought the Patriot Continental Army a major victory. In Philadelphia, the news reached delegates of the Second Continental Congress a few days later and emboldened them to write and sign the Declaration of Independence. The battle at Sullivan’s Island also caused the British to rethink their strategy and leave the South for approximately three years.

James McCAW tour No. 2 volunteered again in the year 1776 under the command of Colonel Lacey Captain Dixon’s Company marched to Charleston was in hearing of the Battle at Fort Moultrie on the 28th of June served three months and was dismissed.

The land assault was frustrated when the channel between the two islands was found to be too deep to wade, and the American defenses prevented an amphibious landing. The naval bombardment had little effect due to the sandy soil and the spongy nature of the fort’s palmetto log construction. Careful fire by the defenders wrought significant damage in the British fleet, which withdrew after an entire day’s bombardment. The British withdrew their expedition force to New York, and did not return to South Carolina until 1780.

Fort Sullivan was renamed Fort Moultrie shortly after the battle to honor Colonel William Moultrie for his successful defense of the fort and the city of Charleston.

Sergeant William Jasper raising the flag over the fort.

One iconic emblem of the battle was the flag designed by Colonel Moultrie. Commissioned by the colonial government, he designed a blue flag with a white crescent saying LIBERTY on it, which was flown at the fort during the battle.   Despite being shot down during the siege, it was seen as a symbol of this successful defense (and famously raised during victory). It came to be known as the Moultrie flag or Liberty Flag. When Charleston (lost to the British in the 1780 siege) was reclaimed by American forces at the end of the war, the flag was returned to the city by General Nathanael Greene.

Fort Moultre Flag.

Cherokee War

In the Upcountry, the British had convinced the Cherokee to fight on their side. Although the British officer in charge of the operation had told the Cherokee to attack only Patriot soldiers in organized groups, soon murder and cabin burnings were widespread on the frontier. The Whigs Andrew WilliamsonAndrew Pickens, and James Williams, who had been battling Loyalists in the Upcountry, launched a successful campaign against the Cherokee. In 1777 they ceded their remaining lands to the South Carolina government. On Feb 5, 1778 South Carolina became the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States.

Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son John Patterson (Jan 1763

County Down, Ireland – 11 Nov 1837 Preble Co, OH) was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, serving as a substitute for his father in August 1778 when he was just 15 1/2 years old; he saw service in the Carolinas in 1778, 1780 and 1781 and was discharged March 1781. He was in both the infantry and cavalry.

John applied for a Revolutionary War Pension on Sep 18, 1832.  We know a lot about his service from his application letter.

In August 1778 John was assigned to Captain John Cowan’s  (Cowen’s) Company of militia, Colonel George Reed’s Upper Ninety-Six District Regiment and General Andrew Williamson’s Brigade. The force rendezvoused at Beaverdam Creek in Georgia. John served for three months during which time he was engaged in defending the country against the Cherokee by burning the Indian’s corn and destroying seven Indian towns.  His discharge was signed by Lt. Davis.

Battle of Kettle Creek – Feb 14, 1779

The battle was fought in Wilkes County Georgia about eight miles  from present-day Washington, Georgia. A militia force of Patriot decisively defeated and scattered a Loyalist militia force that was on its way to British-controlled Augusta.

The victory demonstrated the inability of British forces to hold the interior of the state, or to protect even sizable numbers of Loyalist recruits outside their immediate protection. The British, who had already decided to abandon Augusta, recovered some prestige a few weeks later, surprising a Patriot force in the Battle of Brier Creek. Georgia’s back country would not come fully under British control until after the 1780 Siege of Charleston broke Patriot forces in the south.

Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son-in-law  Capt. William McGaw participated in the Battle

William was born 8 Feb 1749/50 in Dunfermline, County Antrim, Ireland. His father was John McGaw.   He emigrated to Abbeville District, S.C. from Ireland at the age of 17 about 1767 with his brother John.  They married sisters Mary and Sarah Patterson, daughters of Samuel Patterson. He was elder in Cedar Springs Association Reformed Presbyterian Church in Abbeville and elected ruling elder in the Hopewell Congregation in Preble Co, OH.  William died 31 May 1836 in Preble County, Ohio and is buried next to Mary.

William served in the Revolutionary War in the 58th South Carolina Troops Militia / Ninety-Six District Regiment from fall or early winter of 1775. He began as a private and was promoted to Captain within a year to 18 months of the unit known as John Anderson’s Company. He retained this command until the close of the war.  A Private and a Captain under Maj. Andrew Williamson, [later Brigadier General], Col. Andrew Pickens (wiki) [later Brigadier General , Major General and Congressman] . Later, a Captain under Col. Robert Anderson (wiki)  (Upper Ninety-Six District Regiment)..

Battle of Stono Ferry – Jun 20, 1779

Fought near Charleston, South Carolina. The rear guard from a British expedition retreating from an aborted attempt to take Charleston held off an assault by poorly-trained militia forces under American General Benjamin Lincoln.

Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son-in-law  Capt. William McGaw participated in the Battle.

On May 23, the British under Lt. Col. John Maitland had established their defenses at Stono Ferry, located on the Stono River. The British troops were camped on one side with a detachment of Hessians camped on the other side. A British galley was anchored in the river to provide covering fire for the Hessians.The British rear guard force was attacked by Patriot forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln on June 20th.

The battle began well for the Patriots. They engaged the British positions with small arms and cannon fire for an hour, at which point they advanced to the abatis. Of the Highlanders, two companies resisted until only 11 men were left standing; a Hessian battalion finally broke.

The patriots were on the verge of victory when fresh British reinforcements came up. Gen. Lincoln realizing that his men were running short on ammunition fell back. A British pursuit force was cut off by the quick action of BG Pulaski and his cavalry force, which stopped the British. As the Patriots attacked the Hessian camp they immediately came under fire from the galley. The Patriots opened fire on the ship and forced it to withdraw from the fight. Being on the high ground, the Patriots overshot the Hessians when they opened fire on them. The British had gathered all the boats they could, and crossed over the river to reinforce the Hessians. The British troops charged after the Patriots.Unknown to the British, the South Carolina Navy schooner Rattlesnake had come down the river. It began to fire into the rear of the British and Hessain forces. They both turned from the Patriot force and fired upon theRattlesnake. The Rattlesnake fired back at them, and repulsed the attack with heavy losses.

The American loss in the battle was 34 killed, 113 wounded and 155 missing.   Among the dead was Hugh Jackson, brother of future President Andrew Jackson, who was felled by heat and exhaustion.  The British casualties were 26 killed, 93 wounded and 1 missing.

Stono Ferry, the trail Prevost used to get to Charleston and his escape route using the coast and the sea islands to make his way back to Savannah.

The result of this battle was that South Carolina was still free of British troops near Charleston, but the British army which was out in the open and vulnerable was allowed to escape back to Savannah and its defenses. If the Americans would have been able to defeat this British force it would of been a major blow to Prevost and his army’s chances of holding Georgia. Instead as the future would show this Prevost and his army that made it back to Savannah would play a major role in the defeat of the combined French/American force that attacks Savannah and in the final attack on Charleston.

Siege of Charleston

In 1780, the British embarked on the southern strategy a second time. They planned to trap George Washington’s troops by pushing their troops up from the South while Washington defended himself in the North. The British landed a major expeditionary force south of Charleston, landing on John’s Island, moving to James Island, and then besieging Charles Town. General Benjamin Lincoln defended the city during a two month siege, but was forced to surrender almost all the Continental forces in the Carolinas to General Clinton. Henry Middleton, once president of the Continental Congress, was forced to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown as prisoner.

In April 1780,  Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son John was drafted to go to Charleston under Captain Cowan who then belonged to Colonel Pickens’ regiment. When this draft had proceeded about eighty miles on the way to Charleston, they were met by an express informing them the city had surrendered.  Col. Pickens then  marched his men to Camden.  John was out on tour about one month.

James McCAW Tour No. 3 volunteered again under his former officers in the year 1779 marched to Charleston at the Time the British drove General Moultrie to Charleston.  Served three months when dismissed.

James McCAW Tour No. 4 Volunteered again under the same officers marched to Orangeburg [District] served three months when dismissed.

James McCAW Tour No. 5 Volunteered under the same officers marched to Black Swamp.  Served three months when dismissed these last two tours were before the fall of Charleston in the year 1780.

On April 22, 1779, a  party of thirty Loyalists disguised as Indians attacked and captured a six-man guard post belonging to the SC 6th Regiment without firing a single shoot. The Loyalists then burned the guard buildings and fled the area.

Afterward, this post at Black Swamp was reinforcfed with one hunded men of the SC 5th Regiment under Lt. Col. Alexander McIntosh. When Gen. Augustine Prevost landed 300 men nearby on April 28th, Lt. Col. McIntosh abandoned the post.

General Washington begged Governor John Rutledge and the rest of the state’s council to leave Charles Town while there was still time, and they did. Rutledge traveled around the state, printing proclamations and other state papers on a printing press he had with him, and sending numerous letters demanding that the Continental Congress send the Continental Army to relieve South Carolina.

The British quickly established control over the coast, making posts at the other port cities of Beaufort and Georgetown. It was during this time that many enslaved African Americans managed to escape to their lines. The African Americans wanted freedom, and the British promised them that. Approximately 25,000 African Americans, one-quarter of the enslaved population, escaped to the British during the war to achieve freedom.

The British followed their coastal occupation by establishing posts upcountry where they could establish control by coordinating with local Tories.

Responding to Rutledge’s pleas and the British threat to the whole southern flank, Washington sent an army of Continentals under General Gates, but were defeated at Camden on August 16, 1780 and the remnant of the army retreated northward in record time.

Just before the battle of Camden, Gates met with Francis Marion, a militia officer who had escaped parole at the defeat of Charleston because of an accidental injury, which caused him to be out of town at the surrender. Marion had a small group of rag-tag militia men with him, whose appearance evoked derision from the Continentals. Gates saw Marion as an embarrassment and got rid of him by giving him orders to scout the British, and destroy boats, bridges and other items that might be useful to the British.

Marion left, obeying his orders, and missed the battle. The following day, by order of Governor Rutledge, and by invitation of the troops, he accepted command of the Williamsburg militia at the confluence of Lynches River and the Pee Dee River. This band, joined together with a few other militia men from around the state became known as Marion’s Brigade (Marion was eventually commissioned general). Marion had not yet heard the news of Gates’ defeat at the time. The next day a small militia under Thomas Sumter was surprised and completely routed at Fishing Creek; Sumter barely escaped with his life. At this point Marion had the only viable Patriot army left in the South. From that time until the arrival of General Nathanael Greene, the war’s outcome in the south depended entirely on the militia, and the militia gradually turned the tide.

The war was not only a clash of arms, but a battle for the sympathy of the population. After leaving Gates, Marion began a new and unheard of policy, as he destroyed boats the British might use, and commandeered food, horses and other property from the settlers. He had his troops issue receipts for each item to the owners. His gentlemanly actions quickly made Marion a hero, and garnered support for his brigade. Many of these receipts were redeemed after the war, with the new state government usually paying in full.

General Nathanael Greene, who took over as Continental Army commander after Camden, engaged in a strategy of avoidance and attrition against the British. The two forces fought a string of battles, most of which were tactical victories for the British. In almost all cases, however, the “victories” strategically weakened the British army by the high cost in casualties, while leaving the Continental Army intact to continue fighting. This was best exemplified by the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Several American victories, such as the Battle of Cowpens and the Battle of King’s Mountain also served to weaken the overall British military strength.

General Clinton’s Mistakes

General Clinton thought that South Carolina was a Loyalist colony that had been bullied into revolutionary actions by a small minority. His idea was to increase British presence in the entire state and bring back the confidence of moderates in the area so that they would fight for the British. Clinton alienated Loyalists by spending all of the money on extra arms and soldiers rather than doctors.

American Colonel Abraham Buford and his body of Virginia patriots had set south in hopes of defending Charles Town, but turned back when they realized they were too late. British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton was unwilling to let the rebels escape back to the North and chased after them, another act that alienated more loyalists. Tarleton caught up with them on May 29, 1780 near the present town of Lancaster, and Americans were told to surrender, but refused. They still marched forward with full knowledge that Tarleton was fast approaching. In the Battle of Waxhaws the Americans were routed by Tarleton and his men, who suffered minimal casualties. Due to confusion in the battle, quarter was refused, and a number of Americans who had surrendered were slain. This spawned the battle cry that Southern patriots would use for the rest of the war, “Tarleton’s quarter!”

The second British blunder was Clinton revoking the Carolinians’ paroles. He broke his promise that, if the Carolinians who surrendered did not actively seek to harass the British government, he would leave them and their paroles alone. On June 3, he proclaimed that all prisoners of war could either take up arms against their fellow Americans or be considered traitors to the Crown. Many soldiers, whose pride had already been bruised, reasoned that if they were going to have to take the chance of getting shot again, they might as well fight on the side they wanted to win.

The third British mistake was burning the Stateburg home and harassing the incapacitated wife of a then inconsequential colonel named Thomas Sumter. Because of his fury toward this, Sumter became one of the fiercest and most devastating guerrilla leaders of the war, becoming known as “The Gamecock.”   The Lowcountry partisans fighting under Marion and Upcountry partisans fighting under Andrew Pickens (whose home had also been burned) plagued the British by using guerilla warfare in the mountains, woods, and swamps of the state.

Huck’s Defeat – Battle of Williamson’s Plantation

In the absence of civil government in South Carolina (Governor John Rutledge had fled to North Carolina when Charleston fell), backcountry Whigs selected their own leaders to continue the fight against the “senseless cruelty of the Tory militia” and the “cruel and contemptuous treatment of the populace” by British Legion commander Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton.

Around the first of June 1780, the British army established a fortified outpost at Rocky Mount on the upper Catawba River, near the North Carolina border, and placed a garrison there under Lieutenant Colonel George Turnbull, a career British officer who commanded a British Provincial regiment called the New York Volunteers. In early July, Turnbull ordered Christian Huck,  a Philadelphia lawyer and a captain in Tarleton’s British Legion, to find the rebel leaders and persuade other area residents to swear allegiance to the king.   A native of Germany, Huck was one of many Pennsylvania Loyalists whose property was confiscated after the British evacuated Philadelphia. He was then banished from the state and joined the British army at New York. Huck was a remarkably poor choice for this assignment because he held a great deal of bitterness toward the Whigs [Patriots] in general, and the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in particular. [Our guys]

During an earlier incursion into what was then called the Upper District between the Broad and Catawba Rivers (modern Chester County, South Carolina), his troops had murdered an unarmed boy, reportedly while he was reading a Bible, and burnt the home and library of Rev. John Simpson, a Whig leader and influential Presbyterian minister. A week later, Huck and his men invaded the New Acquisition District (roughly modern York County, South Carolina), and destroyed the ironworksof William Hill, another influential Whig. Residents who had only wanted to be left alone had then joined the Patriots.

James McCAW Tour No. 6  After the fall of Charleston in the year 1780, volunteered in Captain Pagan’s Company Colonel Lacey Regiment under General Sumpter [sic – Thomas Sumter] was at the Skirmish at Williamson’s Plantation where Captain Huck was killed, was at the Battle of Rocky-Mount,   Battle of Hanging-rock and at the skirmish at Fish dam Ford on Broad River Served six months when dismissed..

Rocky Mount Campaign Map , July, 1780  1) British post at Rocky Mount, 2) British post at Hanging Rock Creek, 3) site of the battle of Williamson’s Plantation, 4) British post at Camden. Shaded area is the Catawba Nation. The dark line at the top of the map is part of the border between North and South Carolina.

Huck commanded a cavalry unit of about 100 Loyalists and was given marching orders to “push the rebels as far as you deem convenient.”

On his list of “rebels” to “push,” was Colonel William Bratton. Huck and his cavalry arrived at Bratton’s home on July 11, 1780. After attempting to gain the captain’s whereabouts from his wife Martha, Huck set-up camp just west of Bratton’s home at Williamson’s Plantation.

Martha sent word to her husband’s camp and at dawn on July 12th, Colonels William Bratton, Andrew Neel, William Hill and Edward Lacey and a force of about 100 men surrounded Huck’s camp and ambushed the waking Loyalists early in the morning at reveille. Huck attempted to rally his men but was killed almost immediately with a wound to the head. After the smoke cleared, only about two dozen of the Loyalists managed to escape the ambush. On the American side, there was only one Patriot death.

Battle of Williamson’s Plantation

The battle of Williamson’s Plantation was a disaster for the British, not because of the British losses that were incurred, but rather because it cooled Loyalist ardor, greatly encouraged the Americans, and put to an end the previously-effective Provincial/Loyalist raids from Rocky Mount.

Battle of Rocky Mount – Aug 1, 1780

Loyalists commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Turnbull occupying an outpost in northern South Carolina withstood an attack by 600 American Patriots led by Colonel Thomas Sumter.

Throughout 1779 and early 1780, the British “southern strategy” to regain control of its rebellious provinces in the American Revolutionary War went well, with successful amphibious operations against Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, and a routing of the few remaining Continental Army troops in South Carolina in the May 29, 1780 Battle of Waxhaws. The British, in complete control of both South Carolina and Georgia, established outposts in the interior of both states to recruit Loyalists and to suppress Patriot dissent.

One of these outposts was established at Rocky Mount, near the confluence of Rocky Creek and the Catawba River, south of present-day Great Falls, South Carolina. This outpost was garrisoned by a regiment of New York Volunteers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Turnbull.

In the absence of Continental Army command structure to organize resistance to the British following the disaster at Waxhaws, companies began to grow around Patriot militia leaders who had either survived it, or were not present at the battle. One militia colonel, Thomas Sumter, began in June 1780 to accumulate a militia force near Salisbury with financial assistance from North Carolina officials. While his force was too small to effectively oppose large-scale British and Loyalist activity for a time, enlistments rose following the Patriot victory known as Huck’s Defeat on July 12. By late July he had several hundred men and decided it was time to take action.

Battle of Rocky Mount – Attacking the Abatis. A party of militia (one of whom is carrying a torch), rush the abatis under covering fire from riflemen in the woods. According to William Clark, the abatis consisted of “fixed huge timbers pointing outwards.”

His primary target to attack was the British outpost at Rocky Mount. Sumter had learned on July 20 from a spy that the defenses might be susceptible to small arms fire, a clear benefit since Sumter lacked any sort of field artillery. (To Sumter’s detriment, the spy was probably a double agent, and Turnbull shortly thereafter began strengthening Rocky Mount’s defenses until they were proof against musketry.)

On July 28, Sumter broke camp and moved his company, numbering about 600 men, down to Land’s Ford, a major crossing point of the Catawba. There he met Major William Davie, who was leading a company of dragoons, and additional smaller militia companies. They decided that Davie would lead a diversionary attack against another outpost while Sumter would assault Rocky Mount.

The action began early on July 30.   Davie and his dragoons rode to the British outpost at Hanging Rock (south of present-day Heath Springs, South Carolina), where they surprised a company of Loyalists camped outside the fortifications, inflicting casualties and seizing 60 horses. The action happened so quickly that the British forces inside the fortifications were unable to respond.

Sumter’s attack went less well. Turnbull’s work on the defenses at Rocky Mount paid off, and Sumter’s men were unable to penetrate the defenses. After several hours of fruitless battle, they tried setting fire to the works, but this was frustrated by a torrential downpour that ended the battle.  Sumter’s forces suffered relatively modest casualties, and Sumter went on to successfully attack Hanging Rock a few days later.

William McCAW Sr’s son-in-law Edward “Ned” McDaniel  (1756-1824) served as private and horseman in Captain Thompson’s and Capt. Benjamin Garrison’s regiments Cols. Lacey, Bratton, and Gen. Marion.  During the service, he was in several engagements, was wounded in the battle of Rocky Mount, and was wounded in the shoulder in the battle of Hanging Rock.  He was pensioned by the State of South Carolina on account of wounds received in the War.”..

Battle of Hanging Rock  – Aug  6, 1780

The battle was in present-day Lancaster county south of Heath Springs, South Carolina, about a mile and a half from a place known as Hanging Rock.  A British garrison was located just south of Heath Springs. It was well fortified with more than 1400 British troops, including the 500-man Prince of Wales Regiment of the regular army, led by Major John Carden of the British Army.  The Americans were under Gen. Thomas Sumter, commanding troops made up of Maj. Richard Winn’s Fairfield regiment, Col. Edward Lacey’s Chester regiment, Col. William Hill’s York regiment and Maj. William Richardson Davie of the Waxhaws of Lancaster county with Col. Robert Irwin’s cavalry of Mecklenburg county, North Carolina.

The Liberty Boys at Hanging Rock; or The Carolina Game Cock by Harry Moore July 28, 1916.

Sumter decided on a plan of attack of assaulting the camp in three mounted detachments. The initial assault was made early in the morning where Winn’s and Davie’s men completely routed Bryan’s corps. Capt. McCulloch’s company of the British Legion, after presenting a volley, was also routed by Sumter’s riflemen. The Prince of Wales Regt. also came under heavy fire and suffered very severe losses, including Carden who was badly wounded. The King’s Carolina Rangers then came up, and having cleverly deployed themselves in some woods, checked the rebel assault with a surprise crossfire. This allowed the British to drew up on a hollow square in the center of the cleared ground, and to further protect themselves with a three-pounder which had been left by some of Rugeley’s Camden militia.

Then, in the heat of the battle, Major Carden of the British Command lost his nerve and surrendered his command to one of his junior officers. This was a major turning point for the Americans. At one point, Capt. Rousselet of the Legion infantry, led a charge and forced many Sumter’s men back. Lack of ammunition made it impossible for Sumter to completely knock out the British. The battled raged for 3 hours without pause, causing many men to faint from the heat and thirst.

At the end, the British had lost 192 soldiers; the Americans lost 12 killed and 41 wounded. It should have been a total American victory but the American militia was untrained and suffered from extreme thirst. A small group of Americans came across a storage of rum in the British camp and became so drunk that it became necessary to prematurely start the march back to the base camp at Waxhaw. Thus, the intoxicated Americans were in no condition to take prisoners and let the remainder of the British army retreat to Camden.

Battle of Fishdam Ford  – Nov 8, 1780

An attempted surprise attack by British forces under the command of Major James Wemyss against an encampment of Patriot militia under the command of local Brigadier General Thomas Sumter around 1 am on the morning of 9 Nov 1780, late in the Revolutionary War. Wemyss was wounded and captured in the attack, which failed because of heightened security in Sumter’s camp and because Wemyss did not wait until dawn to begin the attack.

Battle of Fish Dam Ford  – Marker is near Leeds, South Carolina, in Chester County. Marker is on State Highway 215 ½ mile west of Store Road

In mid-September General Cornwallis moved north to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was virtually surrounded by active North Carolina militia and Continental Army units. Following the important defeat of gathering Loyalists at Kings Mountain, Cornwallis retreated back to Winnsboro, South Carolina, where he engaged in attempts to suppress the Patriot militia that were harassing his supply and communication lines.

Two troublesome militia commanders in South Carolina were Thomas Sumter and Francis Marion. Marion caused trouble for Cornwallis in the northeastern part of the state, east of the Santee River. His activities were successful enough that Cornwallis sent Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton in November to hunt the wily Marion down. Sumter made similar troubles in the backcountry, where Cornwallis sent Major James Wemyss with the 63rd Regiment and some Loyalist dragoons to find him.

Wemyss learned on Nov 8 from local Loyalists that Sumter was encamped near Fishdam Ford. His intelligence about Sumter’s camp was sufficiently detailed that some men were specifically designated to attack Sumter’s tent. Moving quickly, Wemyss arrived near Sumter’s camp early on November 9. Fearing they would be discovered by Sumter’s patrols, Wemyss opted to attack immediately rather than waiting for dawn.

Sumter’s men had been wary to the possibility of surprise attacks, which were a popular British tactic. His officers had ordered their men to lie on their arms, to keep their fires burning, and had specific instructions about how to form up in case of attack. When Wemyss led the British attack against Sumter’s sentries, he was hit twice by musket fire and went down. His dragoons continued the charge into the camp, where the campfires illuminated them, providing easy targets for Sumter’s men, who had lined up in the woods just outside the camp. Their first volley took the British lead company by surprise, killing and wounding several men. They retreated, and Wemyss infantry then advanced into the camp, where they also came under fire from the woods. The British attempted a bayonet charge, but it was confounded by a fence between the two lines in the darkness. After twenty minutes of battle, the British retreated, leaving their wounded, including Major Wemyss, on the field.

Sumter played virtually no role in the battle, escaping from his tent to the riverbank early in the action.  Following the British failure, Lord Cornwallis recalled Tarleton to instead go after Sumter, who he believed was preparing an attack on Ninety Six. Tarleton and Sumter met at Blackstock’s Farm, in which Sumter very nearly revenged himself for Tarleton’s near-capture of him at Fishing Creek in August.

William McCAW Sr’s son-in-law Edward “Ned” McDaniel  (1756-1824) served as private and horseman in Captain Thompson’s and Capt. Benjamin Garrison’s regiments Cols. Lacey, Bratton, and Gen. Marion.  During the service, he was in several engagements, was wounded in the battle of Rocky Mount, and was wounded in the shoulder in the battle of Hanging Rock.  He was pensioned by the State of South Carolina on account of wounds received in the War.”.

Tides Turn for the Americans – Battle of King’s Mountain

On Oct 7, 1780, at Kings Mountain, American Colonel Isaac Shelby led a body of North and South Carolinians and attacked British Major Patrick Ferguson and his body of American loyalists on a hilltop. America’s first major poet, William Cullen Bryant, described the homefield advantage that led to the Patriot victory in one of his poems. This was a major victory for the Patriots, especially because it was won by militiamen and not trained Continentals. It provided a great swing of momentum for the moderate “Overmountain Men” who had grown tired of British brutality. Kings Mountain is considered to be the turning point of the revolution in the south, because it quashed any significant further recruitment of Loyalists.  With Ferguson dead and his militia destroyed, Cornwallis was forced to abandon plans to invade North Carolina and retreated into South Carolina.

Willliam McCAW Sr’s daughter-in-law Mary Johnston (1757- 1829)  first married to James Henry Gordon. Soon after Gordon was killed 7 Oct 1780 at the Battle of Kings Mountain, she married John McCaw (1758-1825).

Engraving depicting the death of Patrick Ferguson, from a painting by Alonzo Chappel.

In Dec 1780, General Nathanael Greene arrived with an army of Continental troops. When Greene heard of Tarleton’s approach, he sent Brigadier General Daniel Morgan and his backwoodsmen over the Appalachian Mountains to stop him. On Jan 17, 1781, the two forces met at the  Battle of Cowpens, named for an enclosure being used as a cow pen. Pickens and his guerilla soldiers joined Morgan directly before the battle. Morgan still felt they were not strong enough to take on Tarleton’s trained troops and wanted to cross a river that would separate them from the British and secure them a chance to retreat. Pickens convinced Morgan that staying on the British side of the river would force his men to fight it out in what some historians consider the best-planned battle of the entire war. The Patriots defeated the British and later victories at Hobkirk’s Hill and Eutaw Springs would further weaken the British.

In the Battle of Cowan’s Ford, Cornwallis met resistance along the banks of the Catawba River at Cowan’s Ford on Feb 1, 1781 in an attempt to engage General Morgan’s forces during a tactical withdrawal. This move to the northern part of the state was to combine with General Greene’s newly recruited forces.

Siege of Fort Granby – Feb 19, 1781

With the men he had collected earlier in the month, Brig. Gen. Sumter moved forward to attack Fort Granby below the Congaree River. The fort was a British post that protected a landing at Friday’s Ferry on the Congaree River. It was garrisoned by a company of 300 local militia, with the overall command by Maj. Andrew Maxwell.

James McCAW Tour No. 7 volunteered with General Sumter in the year 1781 as a Commissioner  to value property that might fall into the hands of the Army went with Sumter on what was called Sumter’s Rounds in State of South Carolina was at the Siege of Friday’s fort or Congaree fort, marched from thence to Thompson’s fort at Buckhead served two months when dismissed

General Thomas Sumter

Brig. Gen. Sumter on February 16th, with 280 men left his camp on the Catawba River and moved toward Fort Granby, where Maj. Andrew Maxwell lay with his garrison of 300. He reached the fort and briefly laid siege to it on February19th by having his men build some “Quaker” cannons, then demanded the surrender of the fort. He threatened to blow the fort to splinters.

Maj. Maxwell knew that the cannons were fake and declined to surrender his fort. Brig. Gen. Sumter tried to assault the fort but was easily repulsed. He then surrounded the fort and laid down a slow continous rifle fire to harass the fort’s garrison, at the same time he wrote Brig. Gen. Marion requesting reinforcements. Though Gen. Marion did reply, he would not, or else could not help Brig. Gen. Sumter in the siege or his subsequent movements.

Francis, Lord Rawdon, learning that Fort Granby was in danger, dispatched Lt. Col. Welbore Ellis Doyle from Camden with the Volunteers of Ireland, a relief force of 600 infantry, 200 cavalry, and two artillery pieces to attack Brig. Gen. Sumter. Lt. Col. Doyle crossed the river eight miles above Fort Granby, seized the fords above Friday’s Ferry (apparently to cut off Brig. Gen. Sumter’s retreat) before bearing down on him.

Receiving word of Lt. Col. Doyle’s approach, Brig. Gen. Sumter, on the night of February 20th, destroyed nearby provisions and other articles that would be of use to the British, then lifted his siege. By the morning of February 21st, after Lt. Col. Doyle had crossed the river and arrived at the fort, Brig. Gen. Sumter had departed to attack Thomson’s Plantation downriver two days hence.

He attempted to take the stockade by assault, and by setting fire to it, but the defenders, under Lt. John Stuart of the 71st Regiment, 2nd Battalion, held their own and were able to put out the fire. Toward the close of day, Brig. Gen. Sumter left a force watching the stockade and moved with his main body to Manigault’s Ferry, where he collected boats in the area.

This was now two straight disappointments for Brig. Gen. Thomas Sumter. He did not seem to have the patience for long sieges, and without any field artillery, there wasn’t much more his men could achieve.

Pickens’ Regiment

In April, Andrew Pickens raised a regiments of state regulars. In May 1781, Maj. General Nathanael Greene sent Pickens and Lt. Colonel Henry Lee to support Elijah Clarke in operations against Augusta, Georgia. The siege began on May 22 and after maneuvering, securing outposts and the cutting off of reinforcements by the Patriots, Colonel Thomas Brown surrendered Augusta on June 5, 1781. .

James McCAW’s 8th and last Tour – volunteered in the year 1781 under Captain Fair and  Colonel Pickens Regiment marched to Georgia had two Skirmishes with the Indians and made some prisoners then fought with the British at Governor [James] Wright’s plantation in Georgia.   Colonel Twigs [sic, John Twiggs] commanded  Georgians served at this two three months when dismissed having served in all at least two years and two months; He further declares that he had to apply to history for the periods of the war but can well recollect his fighting and can pretty well recollect his service..

In September 1780, Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son John went to Soap Creek, Georgia and volunteered to serve in Capt. Dunn’s Company in Col. Clarke’s Regiment.  He was with Col. Clark when he took possession of Augusta, but was soon driven away by the British.  He continued in service on this tour — after the Battle of King’s Mountain which was on the 7th of October.  After this battle, the company under Capt. Dunn dispersed being all volunteers for no definite time.

The Siege of Ninety Six  – May 22 to June 18, 1781

Major General Nathanael Greene led 1,000 troops in a siege against the 550 Loyalists in the fortified village of Ninety Six, South Carolina. The 28-day siege centered on an earthen fortification known as Star Fort. Despite having more troops, Greene was unsuccessful in taking the town, and was forced to lift the siege when Lord Rawdon approached from Charleston with British troops.

Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son-in-law John McGaw was an officer in the Revolutionary War.   John  was born about 1757 in Dunfermline, County Antrim, Ireland.  He and his brother William,  came from Ireland about 1767. They married sisters Mary and Sarah Patterson, daughters of Samuel Patterson. John died in 1805 in Abbeville District, SC.

John was a Lieutenant and a Captain under Col. Andrew Pickens and Col. Robert Anderson before and after the Fall of Charleston.  He participated in Siege of Ninety-Six 1781, Indian Villages.

Nathaniel PARKS and his son Joseph were Loyalists soldiers in the Siege of Ninety Six , and the immediate evacuation of that post after the lifting of that event.

Greene and about 1,000 men arrived outside Ninety Six on May 22, the same day that Andrew Pickens and Henry “Light-horse Harry” Lee began to besiege nearby Augusta, Georgia. They immediately began siege operations, targeting the Star Fort, under their chief engineer, the Pole Col. Thaddeus Kosciuszko. Cruger did what he could to interfere with the siege works, frequently sending out parties at night to harass the workers. In one notable incident, not only did he drive the workers away but he also captured some of the digging tools.

Star Fort Ninety Six South Carolina.

By June 3 Greene’s men had a trench within 30 yards  of the Star Fort. They then used a tactic similar to one used by Gen. Marion to capture Fort Watson, whereby they constructed a wooden Maham Tower, about 30 feet  tall, with a protected platform at the top. Under this elevated cover, American sharpshooters would have a clear firing line into the fort. At first, the crack Riflemen in the tower were able to pick off a number of Cruger’s artillerymen. Cruger quickly countered by using sandbags to raise the height of the parapet, giving enough cover so his own marksmen could fire on the tower through slats in between the bags. He also attempted to set the tower on fire with heated shot, but was unable to get the balls hot enough for this to be effective. The attackers then fired flaming arrows into the fort (a tactic that had worked when Fort Motte was captured), in order to set anything flammable within the fort on fire. Cruger had work crews remove the roofs off the buildings in the fort to prevent them from burning.

On June 7 Lord Rawdon left Charleston with 2,000 men to relieve the siege. The next day, Pickens and Lee arrived, having successfully captured Augusta on June 6. Greene did not learn of Rawdon’s move until June 11. With the situation becoming critical, Greene decided to attempt an assault on the fort. (Cruger learned of Rawdon’s approach the next day when the messenger, posing as a Patriot, got close enough to the fort to race the remaining distance on his horse.

Battle of Guilford Courthouse – Mar 15, 1781

Generals Greene and Cornwallis finally met at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in present-day Greensboro. Although the British troops held the field at the end of the battle, their casualties at the hands of the numerically superior American Army were crippling. Following this “Pyrrhic victory”, Cornwallis chose to move to the Virginia coastline to get reinforcements, and to allow the Royal Navy to protect his battered army. This decision would result in Cornwallis’s eventual defeat at Yorktown, Virginia later in 1781. The Patriots’ victory there guaranteed American independence.

When Lord Cornwallis commenced his march to Virginia, Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son John volunteered to service in a light horse company for six weeks under Capt. Givens? and Col. Harris?.  John was engaged in guarding the fords on the Catuwba River about one week.  He was then marched to Guilford Court House. Near Guilford, his company joined forces with General Greene.  During this tour, John was engaged in several skirmishes with the British, but was in no general engagement.  At the end of the six week volunteer, John received a discharge from Capt. Givens?.

Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene observed as the veteran 1st Maryland Regiment threw back a British attack and countered with a bayonet charge. As they reformed their line, William Washington’s Light Dragoons raced by to rescue raw troops of the 5th Maryland Regiment who had buckled under a furious assault of British Grenadiers and Guards.

In the summer of 1781, Samuel PATTERSON Sr’s son John enlisted in the troop of Capt. Francis Moore’s company of light horse, Colonel, Col. Charles Myddleton’s SC 2nd Regiment of State Dragoons.  In March 1782, John’s  ten month enlistment expired and he was discharged by Capt. Moore at Orangeburg   Engagements included:

May 1, 1781  Friday’s Ferry
May 11,1781  Orangeburgh
Jun 18, 1781  Myddleton’s Ambuscade
Jul 17, 1781  Quinby’s Bridge
Jul 17, 1781  Shubrick’s Plantation
Sep 8, 1781  Eutaw Springs

Battle of Eutaw Springs – Sep 8, 1781

At Eutaw Springs, Nathanael Greene, with around 2,200 men, came across a British camp under Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Stewart. The American force formed up in two lines, with the militia in the front line, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia regulars in the second. A British bayonet charge broke the centre of the American first line. The situation was temporarily restored by the North Carolina Continentals until they too were broken by a British charge, but the Virginia and Maryland troops were sent into the breach and not only repelled the British camp, but forced a general retreat, with the British in some disorder.

Battle of Eutaw Springs – 1781 Colonel William Washington is unhorsed during bitter fighting by Don Troiani

The Americans now came into the British camp, where most of them now stopped to plunder the British supplies. The tables now turned again. At the north-east corner of the camp was a strong brick house now defended by the remaining British battalion, commanded by Major John Marjoribanks. This battalion had driven off the American cavalry before pulling back to the brick house. Attempts to capture the house failed, and Marjoribanks was able to restore some order to the rest of the British force. With the newly restored force he was able to drive the American loots from the British camp. One American battalion now returned the favour, and delayed the British advance, allowing the American army to retreat without suffering a rout. The British held the field, and suffered less casualties than the Americans – 85 killed compared to 138 American dead and 41 missing.

Nathaniel PARKS and his son Joseph fought on the Loyalist side in very bloody Battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina,.  Though half the British forces were killed, wounded or captured, the Parks survived apparently unscathed. At this time they were serving in the same company but the battalion had just been renumbered to the 2nd. This was due to the “old” 2nd battalion being under strength and drafted into the 1st and late 4th battalions..

Despite the military victory, overall the result of Greene’s operations was to force the British to abandon most of their conquests in the South, leaving them isolated in Charleston and Savannah. The British attempt to pacify the south with the aid of the Loyalists had failed, even before the surrender at Yorktown.

In Dec 1782, the British evacuated Charles Town. The overjoyed residents changed the name to “Charleston” because it sounded “less British.”

Generals in South Carolina 

General Nathanael Greene, (see my post Nathanael GREENE) (1742 – 1786)  A major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War.  George Washington’s most gifted and dependable officer, his friend and comrade-in-arms.  Nathanael’s first two children were named George Washington Greene and Martha Washington Greene.

Major General Nathanael & Catharine Greene.

Greene took over as Continental Army commander after Camden, engaged in a strategy of avoidance and attrition against the British. The two forces fought a string of battles, most of which were tactical victories for the British. In almost all cases, however, the “victories” strategically weakened the British army by the high cost in casualties, while leaving the Continental Army intact to continue fighting. This was best exemplified by the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

Edward Lacey (1742-1813)  In 1779  Edward Lacey, captain of the Chester Co. militia, became one of Sumter’s most trusted deputies.

In July 1780 a Philadelphia Tory, Capt. Christian Huck, began a campaign of terror — murdering and burning his way across York County, South Carolina with a small force of about 100 Tories, including about 20 British dragoons. Captain Huck destroyed the local iron works then stopped to camp for the night. General Sumter was alerted to Huck’s presence nearby and soon 500 local militiamen, including the Chester Co. contingent led by Capt. Lacey, surrounded Huck’s position. At morning’s first light the patriots opened fire. Capt. Huck, rushing from the house where he had been sleeping, jumped upon his horse and tried to get away, but was almost immediately shot in the neck and killed.

Although Edward Lacey Jr. was a committed patriot, his father was just as devoted to the King. Before leaving to fight Huck, Capt. Lacey had ordered his father held under guard to prevent him from warning the Tories. The old man escaped his guard but was recaptured. Capt. Lacey, taking no chances, then ordered his father tied to a bed.

Prior to the arrival of Gen. Nathanael Greene, the Patriot resistance in the Carolina back country had consisted primarily of locally-raised militia units often operating independently of one another. Gen. Sumter had been chosen by the South Carolina militia commanders to be their leader, but his leadership was contested by Col. James Williams, who had finagled an appointment as commander from John Rutledge, the patriot governor of South Carolina, then in exile in North Carolina. Farther west, “over the mountains,” Evan Shelby and John Sevier raised and led patriot armies made up of their neighbors. In the autumn of 1780, concerned by the success of the British and in particular by the activities of Col. Patrick Ferguson in the Carolina back country, Shelby, Sevier and others raised troops from Kentucky, western North Carolina and southwestern Virginia and set out to find and stop Ferguson. The mountain men marched toward the settlement of Ninety-Six, nearly missing Ferguson who had turned to the east. Thomas Sumter and his band of 400 men were camped in the area. Col. Williams, still trying to wrest control of the militia away from Sumter, surreptitiously met the Over the Mountain Men and purposely misled them about Ferguson’s location. Col. William Hill and Col. Lacey uncovered Williams’ deceit, and Lacey was sent that night to convince the Westerners to join the Carolina men in fighting Ferguson. A new book, “The Road to Guilford Courthouse”, by John Buchanan* describes that night in detail:

“Taking a guide who knew the country, he [Lacey] set out at 8:00 that evening. Twice on the way, when they got temporarily lost, Edward Lacey thought the guide might betray him and pulled his pistol, cocked it, and threatened to kill the man; but the guide convinced Lacey of his innocence and after some eighteen to twenty miles on the trail they arrived at the campsite on Green River in the wee hours of Friday, 6 October. Now it was Colonel Lacey’s turn to come under suspicion. He was blindfolded and led to the colonels. He introduced himself but they had no knowledge of him. As his guide had convinced him, Lacey finally convinced the colonels that James Williams had lied to them, Ferguson was to the east headed in the direction of Charlotte, and speed was of the essence before Ferguson could be reinforced by Cornwallis. The colonels were won over by Lacey. It was agreed that the combined forces would meet that evening at a place well known to all, the Cowpens, just over the South Carolina line. It was still dark when Edward Lacey swung back into the saddle to retrace his route to the South Carolinians’ camp.”

On that same Friday, October 6, Col. Patrick Ferguson chose King’s Mountain as the place to dig in and make his stand against the patriots he knew were on his trail. On Saturday, the seventh, the “flying column” in the advance of the combined patriot army found him there. Surrounding the small mountain, they moved in on Ferguson’s soldiers from all sides. Col. Lacey commanded one of several militia units taking part in the battle. Within hours the battle was over, the hated Ferguson dead.

Col. Lacey continued to lead troops under Gen. Sumter, fighting in several other battles in South Carolina. Following the war, Lacey was made Brigadier General by South Carolina and named a judge in the newly created Chester District. He was elected to the South Carolina legislature, serving until 1793. In 1797 he moved his family west, first locating in Montgomery Co. Tenn., then the farthest frontier, to the west of Nashville. He remained there for two years, then moved again to Livingston Co. Ky. where he served as a county judge. On March 20, 1813, he drowned while attempting to cross a flooded creek.

Francis Marion (1732 –1795) a military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War. Acting with Continental Army and South Carolina militia commissions, he was a persistent adversary of the British in their occupation of South Carolina in 1780 and 1781, even after the Continental Army was driven out of the state in the Battle of Camden.

Due to his irregular methods of warfare, he is considered one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare, and is credited in the lineage of the United States Army Rangers. He is known as the Swamp Fox.

Daniel Morgan (1736 – 1802) was an American pioneer, soldier, and United States Representative from Virginia. One of the most gifted battlefield tacticians of the American Revolutionary War, he later commanded troops during the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.

Daniel Morgan.

Andrew Pickens (September 13, 1739 – August 11, 1817) was a militia leader in the American Revolutionand a member of the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina.

Andrew Pickens.

On Feb 14, 1779, he was part of the militia victory at the Battle of Kettle Creek in Georgia.  Pickens was captured at the Siege of Charleston in 1780.

He and three hundred of his men went home to sit out the war on parole. Pickens’ parole did not last, however. After Tory raiders destroyed most of his property and frightened his family, he informed the British that they had violated the terms of parole and rejoined the war. He saw action at the Battle of CowpensSiege of AugustaSiege of Ninety Six, and the Battle of Eutaw Springs.

Pickens also led a campaign in north Georgia against the Cherokee Indians late in the war. His victorious campaign led to the Cherokees ceding significant portions of land between theSavannah and Chattachoochee rivers in the Long Swamp Treaty signed in what is now Pickens County, Georgia. Pickens was well regarded by Native Americans that he dealt with and was given the name Skyagunsta, “The Wizard Owl.”

Thomas Sumter (1734 – 1832) nicknamed the “Carolina Gamecock” (after his house was burned down and he went on a rampage of killing British soldiers), was a hero of the American Revolution and went on to become a longtime member of the Congress of the United States.

Thomas Sumter By Rembrandt Peale.

He acquired the nickname, “The Carolina Gamecock” during the American Revolution for his fierce fighting tactics, regardless of his size. A British General commented that Sumter “fought like a gamecock”, and Cornwallis paid him the finest tribute when he described the Gamecock as his greatest plague. The University of South Carolina‘s official nickname is the “Fighting Gamecocks.”

South Carolina Gamecocks

In addition, Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor was named for Sumter after the War of 1812. The fort is best known as the site upon which the shots initiating the American Civil War were fired, at the Battle of Fort Sumter.

Sumter and his actions served as one of the sources for the fictional character of Benjamin Martin in The Patriot, a motion picture released in 2000..

Andrew Williamson (c. 1730–1786) was born in Scotland.  As a youngster he emigrated with his parents to British Colonial America and settled in Ninety Six, South Carolina. Reputedly illiterate, but highly intelligent and a skilled woodsman, he probably began his career as a cow driver. Williamson grew up to became a prominent businessman in South Carolina. At the start of the War of Independence Williamson built a small fort at Ninety Six. He participated in campaigns against local Loyalist forces and took part in an expedition against the British in Florida. After the fall of Charleston he capitulated to the British and tried to persuade others to follow his lead.

His actions were considered traitorous by his former compatriots, who took him prisoner on two occasions – the first time to persuade him to reconsider, and the second time to stand trial. However, after the second abduction, the raiding party led by Colonel Isaac Hayne was intercepted within 24 hours by a British column, who freed Williams and took Hayne prisoner.  After the war Nathanael Greene revealed that Williamson was not the turncoat he appeared to be, as he had been providing intelligence to the Continental Army, but to many of his contemporaries he remained a controversial figure.

James McCAW’s 1834 Pension Application

In addition to the eight tours described above,

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the Agency of any State except that he now is on the roll of State pensioners of State of South Carolina.

Answer to Interrogatory 1: I was born as I am informed in the kingdom of Ireland in the [year] 1762

Answer to 2 Int: I have no record of my age

Ans to Int 3: I was living in Craven County Camden District in the same part I now live and only as his name is now called Chester District when called into service and have lived there where I now live

Ans to Int 4: I always served as a volunteer

Ans to Int 5: I have seen General Lincoln in Charleston when in Charleston as to other officers and circumstances I have mentioned them in the fore part of my declaration

Ans to Int 6: I never received any discharge but was dismissed

Ans to Int 7: I will name some to whom reference may be had of my veracity Viz William Walker, John Douglas Esq., John Rosborough, Clerk of the Court Chester District, John McCreary (late a member of Congress), John McKee

Sworn to & subscribed the day and year aforesaid in Open Court S/ James McCaw S/ Peter Wylie, JCOCD South Carolina, Chester District Personally came into open court before me Peter Wylie Judge of the court of ordinary of Chester District Joseph Gaston.  Personally came into open Court before me Peter Wylie Judge of the court of ordinary of said District George Weir Esq. (a Soldier of the Revolution) who upon being duly sworn saith upon oath that he is well acquainted with James McCaw and has been well acquainted with said McCaw during the Revolutionary War and saith that said McCaw was one of those veterans who turned out in defense of his country when the State of South Carolina was in possession of the British and Tories and further saith that he this deponent was with said McCaw at the Battle of Rocky-Mount & hanging-rock and further saith that he this deponent has sufficient information of said McCaw’s Services in the State of Georgia as this deponent had two or three Brothers in said service in Georgia with said McCaw and this deponent further saith that he fully believes all the statements set forth in said McCaw’s declaration to be true as he believes said McCaw to be a man of truth & veracity.S/ Joseph Gaston

Sworn to & signed this 17 day of October 1833 in open Court S/ Peter Wylie, JCOCD South Carolina, Chester District (a Soldier of the Revolution) who being duly sworn saith upon oath that he fully believes the whole of the above affidavit to be true & further saith that he has been in service with James McCall above named in the revolutionary War and knew him to be true to his country. Sworn to and subscribed this 17th day of October in open Court. S/ Peter Wylie, JCOCD S/ Geo. Weir


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6 Responses to Carolina in the Revolution

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