Revolutionary War Battles
January 3, 1781 at Hood's Point, Charles City County, Virginia - On January 3, Gen. Benedict Arnold was leading a British expedition when all of a sudden, it was fired upon by an American battery. The British had anchored near Jamestown on the James River, late that evening. The advance party of Arnold's invasion force landed at Hood’s Point consisting of 130 Queen's Rangers under Lieut. Col. John Graves Simcoe lands at Hoods Point, with the light infantry and grenadiers of the 80th Regiment. They proceeded to take a rebel shore battery, which had been abandoned immediately before by its 50 man garrison, and spiked the battery’s guns. Arnold then commenced his move up the James River and began his raid on rebel commerce and stores. Three transports with some additional 400-500 British troops did not land till the 4th, and these then did not reach up with Arnold till 9 January. Conclusion: British Victory.
January 5-7, 1781 at Richmond, Virginia - On January 5, Arnold's invasion force landed at Westover, Virginia, approximately thirty miles southeast of RichmondBrig. Gen. Benedict Arnold approached the town of Richmond. Richmond had about 1,800 inhabitants and was the seat of the rebel government in Virginia. Governor Jefferson dispatched "General Nelson to the coast as soon as he was informed of the enemy entrance into the (Chesapeake) bay, for the purpose of bringing the militia into the field; while Baron Steuben, believing Petersburg, the depot for the Southern army, to be the object, hastened his Continental force, about two hundred recruits to that town." (Lee) Arnold, however, marched for Richmond. Unknown to the British, most of the town's military supplies had been evacuated earlier. The size of Arnold's entire force is believed to be 1,500 based on a sworn deposition he later gave, though Clinton speaks of it as 1800. Arnold's force was stated by Johann Ewald to include, a detachment of Jägers, the Queen's Rangers, the 80th Regt., the Royal American Regiment (aka Robinson's Corps), a company of artillery and 100 pioneers. Lt. Col. John G. Simcoe and his Rangers attacked the Americans on Richmond Hill, and, as well, a few mounted men on Shrove Hill, and drove them away. At 1:00 P.M., Arnold's command entered Richmond. Arnold offered Jefferson a deal that said if Jefferson would allow British ships to come her and take all of the tobacco from the warehouses that Arnold would not burn down the town. Jefferson refused Arnold's request. For the remainder of the day, Arnold ordered his men to set fire to the town. They ended up burning and destroying the warehouse and a number of private and public buildings. On January 7, Arnold and the British force left Richmond. Conclusion: British Victory.
January 7, 1781 in Westham, Henrico County, Virginia - From Richmond, Simcoe, with the Queen's Rangers rode to Westham where he destroyed "the only cannon foundry in the state," (Lee) a laboratory and some shops. Arnold's expedition met small resistance from a few militia, and then plundered and destroyed much of the town, capturing or destroying five brass guns, 300 stand of arms, and some quartermaster stores. Nevertheless, damage in all was relatively small, as the workshops and warehouses were not wholly consumed. On the 8th, the expedition returned to Westover, without having suffered any loss. Conclusion: British Victory.
January 8, 1781 at Charles City, Virginia - From Westover, Gen. Benedict Arnold sent Lt. Col. John G. Simcoe on a reconnaissance mission toward Long Bridge, located on the Chickahominy River. Simcoe had captured several sentinentals that informed him that Gen. Thomas Nelson and 150 Virginia militia was near Charles City Court House. On January 8, a black prisoner helped Simcoe and guided 40 mounted Rangers to the courthouse. When they arrived, they surprised about 150 patriot militia, commanded by Col. ?? Dudley. After a brief fight, the British had driven off the militia. They captured a number of the militia while the rest of them escaped to Nelson's camp a few miles away or to Williamsburg. 20 militia were killed or wounded. Simcoe lost one man killed and three wounded. Simcoe left and headed back to Westover with his prisoners, arriving before dawn on January 9. On receiving a (false) report that Von Steuben was at Petersburg, and of the appearance of militia at Manchester, Arnold marched back to Portsmouth to protect his line of retreat. To face the British invasion, von Steuben later had 600 men at Chesterfield Court House, but with clothing only for 150. Conclusion: British Victory.
January 11-13 , 1781 at Waccamaw Neck, Georgetown County, South Carolina (also given as taking place on 6 January) - Marion sent Col. Peter Horry and 30 to 40 mounted militia to attack some loyalists butchering cattle not far from Georgetown. The Loyalists captured a 6-man advance guard but the Patriots managed to escape. At the same time, Horry heard the commotion and led his men forward and opened fire on the Loyalists. The Loyalists quickly left the area, leaving the Patriots in possesion of the field. The Loyalists soon reappeared, charging towards the Patriots. Horry ordered his men into a nearby swamp. The British did not pursue them, fearing an ambush. Another larger group of Provincials in Georgetown, under Lieut. Col. George Campbell (totaling 60), hearing the shots sallied out to protect their friends. Horry's force was dispersed, and thus began a series of minor skirmishes of small parties (sometimes as small as 2 or 3 men), back and forth, taking place thru much of the large "V" between the Sampit and Black River roads, the latter approximating the route of State highway 51. Another source describes the Waccamaw event this way. Lieut. Col. George Campbell with a detachment of mounted Kings American Regiment and a troop of Queens Rangers, under Lieut. John Wilson, skirmished with a larger sized force of Col. Peter Horry's mounted men near the Wacccamaw River outside of Georgetown, and Horry was beaten back. According to Marion, in his letter to Greene of 14 January, the British lost three men and three horses killed, and two prisoners, Horry lost 2 men wounded, two horses killed, and one Captain Clark was captured and paroled. British sources speak of Campbell losing 1 killed and two captured. Capt. John Saunders, of the Queen’s Rangers, quoted in Simcoe: “On the 6th January following, Lt. Col. [George] Campbell having marched some distance into the country, saw about a dozen mounted men on the road: he order Lt. [John] Wilson with his party to charge them. They instantly went to the right about, and retreated with precipitation within a corps and taken a strong and advantageous post in a swampy thick wood on each side of the road. Lt. Wilson and his party received a heavy and unexpected fire from this ambuscade, but impelled by their wonted spirit and intrepidity, and unaccustomed to defeat, they continued the charge and obliged the rebels to betake themselves to their horses, and to flight. Serjeants Burt and Hudgins, having charged through them, were carried off by them; Corporal Hudgins was killed, covered with wounds; two or three of the men were wounded, and three horses killed.” Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: American:2w, 1c; British: 3k, 3w, 2c
January 15, 1781 in Road to Burr's Mill, Spartanburg County, South Carolina - Capt. George Gresham, with some S.C. militia, surprised a small advance party of Tarleton’s and took two prisoners. In the same or related encounter they captured a black manservant and two horses. Conclusion: American Victory.
January 18, 1781 at Love's Ford, South Carolina - On January 18, a group of Newberry militia found Col. Banastre Tarleton's baggage train at Love's Ford of the Broad River. They captured horses, baggage, wagons, and some Negroes, and other property. The militia took their booty to a blockhouse on the Pacolet River. Conclusion: American Victory.
January 22, 1781 at Morrisania, New York - On January 22, an American force, commanded by Lt. Col. William Hull, led a raid to within 3 miles of the British lines. He attacked the headquarters of of Lt. Col. James De Lancey's Tory Battalion at Morrisiana. Morrisiana is located in Westchester County and was the ancestral home of the Morris Family. It was located in what now is the Bronx. The Americans burned barracks and the pontoon bridge over the Harlem River, and destroyed a great store of forage. The Americans withdrew with 52 Tory prisoners, and some horses and cattle. De Lancey gathered up his scattered forces and harassed the Americans during their withdrawal all the way to the Williams' Bridge. On the other side of the bridge was a large contingent of Americans with 2 cannon. The Tory force fell back, collected their wounded, and buried their dead. They then proceeded to rebuild their burned down huts. Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: American: 25k&w; British: 16k, 32w, 52c
January 23-24, 1781 at ??, South Carolina - On January 23, at the Wiggan's Plantation, a group of British, Loyalists, and Indians made camp at Wiggan's Plantation. The plantation was located about 30 miles from Black Swamp. The Patriot force, commanded by Lt. Col. William Harden, learned of the British camp and made plans to attack them. On January 24, shortly after midnight, the Patriots made their move. They rode into the camp, terrifying the Loyalist militia. The British Rangers did not panic. They quickly formed into a battle line, fired at the Patriots, driving them out of the camp. At 8:00 A.M., the Patriots attacked the camp again. They dismounted their horses and opened fire on the Loyalists. The militia once again fled the camp, with some of them joining the Patriots. The Rangers joined with the Indians, formed into their battle line, and charged the Patriots. Once again, the Patriots were forced back, scattering into the nearby swamp. Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: 7k, 11w, 12c; British: ?
January 24-25, 1781 at Georgetown, South Carolina(also given as 22-23 January) - In the night of the 24th, Lee and Marion made a two pronged surprise attack on Georgetown, one group coming by land, Marion’s men, coming by land; and the other group, The Legion infantry under Capt. Patrick Carnes, which made up the advanced attack, approaching the town by boat coming from an island in the river where they had hid themselves in the early morning hours of the 23rd. The Georgetown garrison was made up of about 200 or 300, commanded by Col. George Campbell, including some King’s American Regt., at least 15 Queen’s Rangers cavalry and 20 other mounted infantry. The town was protected by a small redoubt with cannon, but most of the men were in houses. On January 25, during the nighttime, Lee's troops slipped undetected and landed on Georgetown's undefended waterfront. Lee divided his force into 2 parties. Capt. ?? Carnes led one party to seize Campbell in his headquarters near the parade ground (and then paroled). Capt. ?? Rudolph led the second party into positions from which they could cut off the garrison as they moved to their defenses or to rescue Campbell. Marion's partisans and Lee's cavalry charged through the light defenses on the land side to link up with the Legion infantry. The Americans were astounded to find that none of the British troops had attempted to man their defenses. However, the loyalists barricaded themselves in some houses. Had they assaulted the redoubt, Lee and Marion might then have taken the cannon there, and used them on the houses. However, they did not want to risk unnecessary losses. Campbell and those taken were paroled, and the attackers withdrew, subsequently camping at Murry’s Ferry on the Santee. The losses were about equal. The Americans reported their losses as 3 killed, and the British reported their own as about the same. Balfour wrote to Clinton, on 31 January: “[Lee and Marion] failed in their Object, made Prisoners of Lieut. Col. Campbell & one or two other officers of Fanning's Corps [the King’s American Regiment], who they immediately Paroled -- in other respects the loss was inconsiderable and nearly equal. Two or three being killed on each side." Lee: “Colonel [George] Campbell commanded in this town, with a garrison of two hundred men. In his front he had prepared some slight defence, better calculated to repel a sudden, than resist a determined assault. Between these defences and the town, and contiguous to each, was an enclosed work with a fraise and palisade, which constituted his chief protection. A subaltern guard held it. The rest of the troops were dispersed in light parties in and near the town, looking toward the country. The plan of assault was found upon the facility with which the assailant might convey down the Pedee a part of his force undiscovered, and land in the water suburb of the town. After this body should have reached the wharves, it was to move in two divisions. The first was to force the commandant’s quarters, known to be in the place of parade, then to secure him, and all who might flock thither on the alarm. The second was to be charged with the interception of such of the garrison as might attempt to gain the fort, their chief point of safety or annoyance. The militia and cavalry of the Legion, under Marion and Lee, were to approach near the town in the night; and when the entrance of the infantry, passed down by water, should be announced, they were to rush into it for cooperation and support.” Conclusion: British Victory.
January 30, 1781 at Heron Bridge, North Carolina - On January 31, Col. Henry Young left Wilmington and rendezvoused with some militia that had been called out. The combined force (250 men) fortified a position at Heron Bridge. The bridge was located 10 miles northeast from Wilmington. Maj. James H. Craig learned of the Patriot position at Heron's Bridge and decided to make an attack on them. At 4:00 P.M., the British force (250 men) left Wilmington. They soon captured a Patriot and learned the whereabouts of the Patriot camp. The British moved into position near the bridge and Craig had his men rest. He planned the attack for 4:00 A.M. the next morning. A Patriot mounted patrol discovered the British, with the British firing at the patrol and driving them across the bridge. Young's militia fled when they saw the British. The British chased the militia, engaging in a running gun battle. Craig waited at the bridge for a possible counterattack. Once he determined that the Patriots were not coming back, he ordered his men to burn the bridge and march back to Wilmington. Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: 3k, 8c; British: 7w
February 1, 1781 at Tarrant's Tavern (Torrence's Tavern), Mecklenburg County, North Carolina - On February 1, the militia dispersed at Cowan’s and Beattie’s Fords retreated to Torrence’s (or Tarrant’s) Tavern, some 9-10 miles from the Catawba, to regroup. Tarleton, reinforced by Webster’s 23rd Infantry Regiment, was sent by Gen. Charles Cornwallis to scout the strength of the gathering American militia. Learning of their gathering, Tarleton moved with all haste to the site where about 500 were collected. Tarleton’s own force consisted of 200 Legion cavalry, 100 Jägers and 150 infantry of the 33rd Regt. With his cavalry, advanced on the rest, he surprised and routed them with a saber charge, a little after 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Near 50 militia were killed on the spot, and many wounded, other managed to escape on their horses. Tarleton lost 7 men killed and wounded, and twenty horses. Clinton gives the number of North Carolina militia dispersed by Tarleton as 300. Graham mentions that the tavern itself was burned down after the attack. Lossing: “A heavy rain had injured their powder, and they were not prepared to fight. The loss of General Davidson, and the total dispersion of the militia, greatly dispirited the patriots in that region, and Toryism again became bold and active.” Conclusion: British Victory.
February 1 (also given as 28-29 January)-November 18, 1781 at Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina - On February 1, 18 vessels with 300 or possibly 450 troops (Rankin’s number), (mostly of the 82nd Regt.), under Major James Craig captured Wilmington with little or no American resistance. The main reason for taking Wilmington was to provide Cornwallis a supply source that would help support his army in North Carolina. The town had been guarded by 50 North Carolina militia, under Col. Henry Young. But Young withdrew before the British landed. The Americans failed in removing stores and artillery there, which Craig then captured or destroyed. 400 to 500 N.C. militia under Brig. Gen. Alexander Lillington had arrived too late to prevent Craig’s landing, but did check Craig from opening up communications with Cross Creek. Craig then set about upgrading the town’s fortifications. Rankin gives the date as 1 February, and says 200 men surrendered to Craig after spiking the 17 nine and twelve pounders, in two batteries, protecting the town. There was an effort to remove stores of arms and munitions upriver, but all were captured or destroyed by Craig's men, and the spiked guns would probably have been repaired. Conclusion: British Victory.
February 6, 1781 at Grant's Creek, Rowan County, North Carolina - To prevent unnecessary losses in attempting to cross at Trading Ford, Cornwallis moved up river some distance to Shallow Ford. At the same time he sent Tarleton in advance to reconnoiter. Tarleton encountered Col. Francis Lock and 100 North Carolina militia who were engaged in destroying the bridge at Grant's Creek. Tarleton sent a detachment up to around the mouth of the creek, for purposes of taking Locke from the rear. As a result, Locke's troops were dispersed, though with only 1 wounded. Cornwallis later crossed the Yadkin at Shallow Ford during the night, and was on the opposite bank by the 7th. Conclusion: British Victory
February 7, 1781 at Shallow Ford, Forsyth County, North Carolina (aka Graham's Patrol) - On February 7, Some hours after the British army had crossed at Shallow Ford and moved on. 20 North Carolina militia cavalry, under Capt. Joseph Graham, were following a column of British troops as they were crossing the Yadkin River. The Patriots turned back from the main column and discovered a group of stragglers. Graham ordered his troops to attack them. The stragglers were quickly overcome, Graham captured six loyalists, and killed one Hessian in their wake. and some managing to escape. Joseph Graham: "The American cavalry was mortified at coming so far and achieving nothing [i.e. the British had already crossed Shallow Ford the previous evening]. It was decided that twenty of those best mounted, under command of the Captain [Joseph Graham], should, after divesting themselves of their marks of distinction, pass the river. The Lieutenant was ordered to draw up the others at the ford, to cover their retreat, if pursued, and to place videttes on the roads some distance in his rear, lest some parties of Tories might be following the Americans. The party went over, saw several men whom they did not molest, and who, on being questioned, made professions of loyalty to the King and showed their protections. After going about three miles, the two soldiers who were kept in advance about one hundred yards, made signal of seeing the enemy. When Captain Graham came up, he saw about fifty dragoons, marching slowly in compact order. He followed them for two miles unperceived, but finding that they kept the same order, it was thought imprudent to go further, as the country that they were in was reputed to be favorable to the British. Returning about a mile, the Americans discovered three men in red coats, who fled, but being directly run down, surrendered. On proceeding further, they met a Hessian and a Briton, who also fled. On being overtaken, the Briton surrendered, but the Hessian held his piece at a charge and would not give up. He was cut down and killed. Before reaching the ford, the Americans took two armed Tories, who were following them. Having killed one and taken six prisoners, the party re-crossed the ford." Conclusion: American Victory.
February 11(also given as 13 February), 1781 at Bruce's Crossroads (aka Gillies' Death, Reedy Fork, and Summerfield), Guilford County, North Carolina - Informed by a local countryman that Cornwallis army had changed its route of march, Col. Otho Williams directed Lee to investigate. Lee, in turn, sent out Capt. Armstrong of the Legion cavalry, to reconnoiter. When Armstrong returned he apprised Lee of the British position, who moved to prepare an ambush. Capt. Armstrong with a small number of cavalry were sent in the path of Tarleton’s horsemen. Some British Legion cavalry, under a “Capt. Miller,” then galloped in pursuit only to be charged in the flank by Lee and his dragoons, who had lain concealed along the road. It was in this encounter that Lee’s bugler Gillies, who was made to take a poor mount in order that the local guide could be better horsed, was savagely killed by some British Legion dragoons. It was at that point that Lee’s dragoons, in view of the sight, swiftly retaliated. Though Tarleton speaks of Lee being finally repulsed, it would seem, tactically speaking, the Americans got the better of this action. According to Lee, British lost 18, Americans 1, with Miller being made prisoner. Tarleton: “Earl Cornwallis, wishing to intercept the Americans, and force them to action to the southward of the Roanoke, proceeded from Salem towards the head of Haw river, and on his march gained intelligence of their having composed a formidable corps of light troops, consisting of Lee's, Bland's, and Washington's cavalry, the continental light infantry, and some riflemen, in order to watch his motions, and retard his progress whilst General Greene removed the stores and heavy baggage of the continental army into Virginia, and hastened the remainder of his troops to the river Dan, on the frontier of that province. At the cross roads, near the Reedy fork, the advanced guard of the British light troops, was attacked by Colonel Lee's dragoons, who were repulsed with some loss. The bridge on Reedy fork being broken down, retarded some hours the advance of Earl Cornwallis, who afterwards crossed Troublesome creek, and persevered in the direction to the high fords of the Dan. On the road, many skirmishes took place between the British and American light troops, without great loss to either party, or any impediment to the progress of the main army.” Seymour: "On the eighth instant we marched from here [Guilford], General Green's Army taking one road and the light troops another, being joined the next day by Colonel Lee's horse and infantry. This day we received intelligence that the British Army was advancing very close in our rear, upon which Colonel Lee detached a party of horse to intercept them, who meeting with their vanguard, consisting of an officer and twenty men, which they killed, wounded and made prisoners, all but one man." Lee: “This ill-fated boy [Gillies] was one of the band of music, and exclusively devoted in the field to his bugle, used in conveying orders. Too small to wield a sword, he was armed only with one pistol, as was the custom of the Legion; that sort of weapon being considered of little import in action; now he had not even his pistol, it being with the countryman mounted on his horse.” Conclusion: American Victory.
February 12, 1781 at Fort St. Joseph, Michigan - On February 12, a Spanish expedition from St. Louis captured the British post at Fort St. Joseph. They only stayed at the fort for one day, leaving the next morning. Conclusion: Spanish Victory.
February 13, 1781 on the Road to Dix's Ferry in Rockingham County, North Carolina - As part of the American army’s rear guard, Lee’s Legion took an out of the way detour, separate from Williams’ route, in order to avail himself of the plenty present at a nearby farm. Shortly after his men and horses were set up to be fed their breakfast (on the 12th), the shots of his pickets announced the approach of the van of the British army, under Brig. Gen. Charles O’Hara. Lee made immediate arrangements to get his men to safety, while the British were as surprised by his presence as he was by theirs. He rushed to secure a bridge that was key to the escape of his corps, and was thereby able to get his infantry across the nearby stream in time to effect their escape, with his cavalry covering their retreat. The British then continued their pursuit, often being in clear sight of Lee in the course of the day. Lee, thus just narrowly, managed to evade their approaches, and moved along the road to Dix’s, and after that to Boyd’s Ferry. Conclusion: British Victory.
February 14-15, 1781 in Georgetown County, South Carolina - On the night of the 14th, by threatening to set fire a house which Capt. James DePeyster and 29 men of the King’s American Regt. occupied, Capt. John Postell of Marion's brigade, with 28 men, forced their surrender the next morning. The house belonged to Posetll's own family, and was situated north of Georgetown, in between the Black and Pee Dee Rivers. The success no doubt interested the British in taking Postell himself prisoner, which in the ensuing month they did. Conclusion: American Victory.
February 17, 1781 at Hart's Mill, Orange County, North Carolina - Capt. Joseph Graham with 20 N.C. cavalry, and Capt. Richard Simmons with 20 mounted N.C. militia, both acting under Pickens, attacked and set an ambush for a British lieutenant, a sergeant, 24 privates and 2 loyalists at Hart’s Mill on Stoney Creek three miles (Graham says ten) west of Hillsborough. The British, states Graham, lost nine killed and wounded, while the remainder were taken prisoner. In Pickens report to Greene, Pickens says the American detachment was commanded by Col. Hugh McCall, yet Graham, oddly, makes no mention of McCall at all. Indeed, more strangely, (in response to Johnson’s account), Graham says McCall was not even with Pickens. In any case, after the fighting, Graham and Simmons were with Pickens, who was later in the day joined by Lee and his Legion. Prior to that Pickens and Lee had not personally known each other, this being their first meeting. About this same time Graham was placed in command of Pickens full contingent of cavalry which numbered 70. On the 23rd, Pickens wrote to Greene from "Camp Hyco [River]," near Hillsborough. In reporting “McCall’s” attack, he stated that his men had achieved a victory “that would have done Honor to the most disciplined Troops.” 8 British were killed or severely wounded, and 10 and several Loyalists captured. Pickens further told Greene that he would move that evening or tomorrow to Stony Creek. He also said that Col. Lock, who was camped four miles below at High Rock Ford, was badly in need of ammunition, lead in particular, which he would have Lock send to Greene for. In his request to Greene on the 24th from High Rock, Lock said his men did not have a "Second ball," and asked Greene for 200. Joseph Graham: “The commanding officer and party returned and gave Capt. [Richard] Simmons directions to go behind the swell in the ground until he got the buildings between him and the [British] guard and then advance; while at the same time, the Cavalry would make a diversion to our left. The Captain had his men across the great road, to Mebane’s, and the Cavalry turning to the left, entered an old field in open order, upwards of two hundred yards from the enemy, and galloping across it as right angles to their lines –- completely attracted their attention and drew their fire; until Simmons’s party reached the small buildings, and fired from the corners of both at the same instant. Those of the enemy who did not fall, fled. The Cavalry came down at full charge, and by the time the guard had fled one hundred yards beyond the river their front was overtaken, and the whole killed or captured. Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: American: ?; British: 18c
February 19-21, 1781 at Fort Granby (aka Congaree Fort), Lexington County, South Carolina - With the men he had collected earlier in the month, 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. The fort was garrisoned by a company of militia and 100 local militia, with the overall command by Maj. Andrew Maxwell. Wade Hampton, who owned a store in the area had earlier been contracted to supply Fort Granby with provisions. Hampton had, until this time, taken British protection, but he informed Sumter that the Fort was running low on stores. On the basis of this information, Sumter on the 16th, with 280-400 men, including as many as 250 from North Carolina, left his camp at on the Catawba with and moved toward Ft. Granby where Maj. Andrew Maxwell lay with a garrison of 300. He reached the fort and briefly laid siege to it on the 19th by having his men build some "Quaker" cannons, then demanded the surrender of the fort. He threatened to blow the fort to splinters. Maxwell knew that the cannons were fake and declined to surrender his fort. 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 Marion requesting reinforcements. Though Marion did reply, he would, or else could not help Sumter in the siege or his subsequent movements. Johnson says this siege was the first occasion where the Maham tower was actually used. Bass qualifies this by implying it was of a more primitive sort than that later proposed by Maham. Rawdon, learning that Granby was in danger, dispatched Lieut. Col. Welbore Ellis Doyle from Camden with the Volunteers of Ireland relief force of 600 infantry, 200 cavalry, and 2 artillery pieces to attack Sumter. Doyle crossed the river 8 miles above Fort Granby, seized the fords above Friday's Ferry (apparently to cut off Sumter's retreat) before bearing down on him. Receiving word of Doyle’s approach, Sumter, on the night of the 20th, destroyed nearby provisions and other articles that would be of use to the British, then lifted the siege. By the morning of the 21st, after Doyle had crossed the river and arrived at the fort, Sumter had departed to attack Thompson’s Plantation down river. On the 1st of March, Col. Thomas Polk, in Salisbury, reported to Greene that Sumter " had moved to the Congaree [Ft. Granby]& had taken a small Number of British that lay there With about 500 Negroes and a deal of stores. It is Reported the Militia all turn out Wherever he Goes." Sumter only abandoned his siege of Granby only after Rawdon marched out of Camden with most of its garrison to relieve the fort. . Conclusion: British Victory.
February 21(also given as 22 February), 1781 Thompson's Plantation, (aka Belleville) in Calhoun County, South Carolina - Having abandoned his attack on Granby, Sumter laid siege to the stockade at Thompson's Plantation at Belleville, a couple miles southeast of Motte's. He attempted to take the stockade by assault, and setting fire to it, but the defenders, under Lt. Charles McPherson of the 1st Battalion Delancey’s Regt., held their own and were able to put out the fire. Toward the close of day, Sumter left a force watching the stockade and moved with his main body to Manigault's Ferry, where he collected boats in the area. Conclusion: British Victory.
February 23, 1781 at Big Savannah, Calhoun County, South Carolina - About the same time as Sumter laid siege to Thompson’s, a convoy of 20 wagons and an escort of about 50 to 80 men (depending on sources) was sent out from Charleston with clothing, provisions, munitions and some pay chests for the purpose of establishing what would become Fort Motte. Obtaining information about the approach of the convoy, Sumter, with Col. Edward Lacey and Col. William Bratton attempted to ambush it on a rising piece of ground, known as Big Savannah, a few short miles down the road from Thompson’s Plantation, as it ran roughly southeast toward Eutaw Springs. As the British passed through the site, the Patriots opened fire on them. A 80-man detachment of British Regulars, commanded by Maj. David McIntosh, quickly formed line and drove Sumter's men back. Sumter managed to outflank the Regulars and surround the wagons. At one point in the fighting, some of Bratton's men ignored a white flag the British had raised and seven were needlessly killed and a number of others wounded. The skirmish between the two sides ended in a disaster for the British. The entire force was killed, wounded, or captured. Sumter also captured all 20 supply wagons. McCrady reports the British losses as 13 killed and 66 prisoners. Both he and Ripley speak of Sumter’s force being down to 100 men at this time, but this seems a rather too conservative estimate. The same or the next day Sumter loaded the captured items on flats he had been collecting, and attempted to have them sent down river toward Nelson’s Ferry, not far from where Sumter and the rest of his men, were to rendezvous with him at a specified location. A treacherous river pilot, however, in passing Fort Watson along the way, steered the boats under the guns of that fort where the stores and money chests were re-captured by the British. In the meantime, Rawdon sent Maj. Robert McLeroth with the 64th Regt., a troop of dragoons, and a field piece to relieve McPherson at Thompson's which they reached on the 24th. When McLeroth approached Thompson's, Sumter on the 24th (or possibly the 25th) retreated to “Mrs. Flud's [Flood’s].” There for at least two days he passed his force over the Santee by means of a single canoe, and swimming the horses. Conclusion: American Victory.
February 27(also given as 28 February), 1781 Fort Watson (aka Wright's Bluff), Clarendon County, South Carolina - After crossing the Santee, Sumter made for Fort Watson where he attempted to take the post by storm, with a mind to recapturing the lost stores and boats. The fort had been recently reinforced with a reported 400 men, and Sumter was soundly beaten back with some loss. The British reported Sumter losing 18 killed, and a number of men and horses taken. Sumter thereafter retired with his force to Farr's Plantation on Great Savannah, not far from his own home where he fed his men and camped till March 2nd. Here many of his North Carolina militia men, unhappy with how things had turned out, returned home. From the pension statement of Thomas Reagan of Newberry County, S.C.: “(T)he next engagement was at Bellville from thence hearing of a reinforcement we marched to meet them It turned out to be a small detachment of British guarding some British wagons loaded with clothing and money for the soldiers these surrendered and the loading was put on a barge and soon after retaken at Wrights Bluff with some of our men and we [text missing] Sumter for the purpose of retaking this prize from the British and were met by the British near said Bluff and defeated and dispursed in this engagement the applicant got a wound in his right arm which disabled this applicant a few weeks.” Johnson: "Sumpter then sought shelter in the swamps of the north bank of the Santee, resolved to wait some opportunity of indemnity or service. But, it required all his firmness to prevent his North Carolina troops from deserting him. At the point of the bayonet they were detained a few days, and he then issued forth from his covert, made for the banks of the Black River, and availing himself of the friendly settlements on that route, once more moved up to the neighborhood of Charlotte." Conclusion: American Victory.
March 1781 at Tuckasegee/Cherokee Middle Towns, Tennessee - In March, the British incited the Cherokees to raid the North Carolina and Virginia settlements. The frontiersmen were quick to respond to the Indian attacks. A North Carolina army of 150 men went across the mountains to the Cherokee Middle settlements. They destroyed Tuckasegee and 15 other smaller towns. The frontiersmen took numerous prisoners and 200 horses with them. Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: American: 1k, 1w; Indians: 50k&w
March 2, 1781 at Williams Fort (Mud Lick), Newberry or Laurens County, South Carolina - On March 2, a Patriot force, commanded by Col. ?? Roebuck devised a plan to lure the Loyalists out of Williams Fort, the same fort attacked by Hayes and Simmons in late December 1780. He sent 150 South Carolina militia riflemen, led by Lt. Col. Henry White, in front of the fort. This would hopefully cause the Loyalists to come out of the fort and give chase. The plan worked, and White led the Loyalists into an ambush that had been set up by Roebuck, the fort was then easily entered and taken. Once inside the ambush, the Patriots fired upon the Loyalists. The battle seesawed back and forth for an hour. The Loyalists finally fled back in panic to the fort. Roebuck was wounded in the shoulder and captured, and White was badly wounded. Ripley speaks of it being burned, but in a letter fro Pickens to Greene of 8 April, Pickens mentions a force under Cruger retreating to it for safety. Conclusion: Draw
March 3, 1781 at Alamance River, Alamance County, North Carolina - On March 7, Capt. Robert Kirkwood and a 40-man detachment of Delaware Continentals was sent on a mission to raid a Provincial camp. After conducting a reconnaissance of the camp, he moved to the camp at 1:00 A.M. A sentry halted the Patriots and asked for the password. When there was no response, the sentries fired on them and ran back to camp. One of the sentries was captured and led Kirkwood to the guard post. Once there, the Patriots opened fire on it capturing 2 and killing and wounding a small number. American losses, if any, are not recorded. Greene wrote to von Steuben on the 5 March: “On the evening of the 3rd, one of the enemy pickets were surprised by Captain Kirkwood. Some few were killed but only 2 Prisoners were taken." The Provincials packed up and moved their camp 2 miles away to the main army. Kirkwood's men marched back to their camp, and arrived at daybreak. Kirkwood: "March 4th We came up with the Enemy at Allmance....[marched] 60 [miles) Conclusion: American Victory.
March 3-4(possibly 4-5 March), 1781 ("Tarleton's" Mistake, and Tory Cattle Drovers) location uncertain but possibly Alamance and Orange County, North Carolina - Somewhere between the Haw and Deep Rivers, around midnight, a group 70 to 80 loyalists desirous of joining the British, were mistook by Tarleton’s cavalry for some rebels. Accounts often cite Tarleton himself as supervising what took place, but there is no clear evidence for this. Graham says the loyalists, as reported by a captured sergeant and some deserters, were from the Deep River area and eastern part of Rowan County. The British Legion horsemen had attacked them, killing 4, wounding 20 or 30 (these were “badly cut”) while the rest were permanently dispersed. The following day a party of militia dragoons, perhaps Malmady’s, attacked some Tory cattle drovers, and killed 23 of them. Both incidents only further discouraged any further loyalist support in the region. Greene wrote to von Steuben on the 5 March: "Yesterday morning [the 4th] a party of Tories were Fired upon by mistake. They halted and Tarleton suspecting they were Militia, rushed out with a part of the British Legion, and cut them to pieces. When the mistake was discovered great efforts were made to collect the fugitives, but the confusion was so great that all attempts proved ineffectual." Seymour: “Colonel Tarleton…meeting a party of Tories and mistaking them for our militia, he charged on them very furiously, putting great numbers to the sword. On the other hand, they taking Colonel Tarleton for our horse and infantry, there commenced a smart skirmish, in which great numbers of the Tories were sent to the lower regions. We marched for camp which we reached about daybreak after a very fatiguing journey, having marched all night through deep swamps, morasses and thickets, which rendered our marching unpleasant and tiresome, twenty-six miles.”
March 6, 1781 at Wiboo Swamp, Clarendon County, South Carolina - Marion who had been preparing to join Sumter, learned of Watson’s advance and lay in wait for him at Widboo Swamp. The site was a marshy passage way located on the Santee Road between Nelson’s and Murry’s Ferry. McCrady gives Marion’s strength as 250. Watson’s advance force of some loyalist (militia) dragoons under Col. Henry Richbourg clashed with some of Marion’s cavalry under Col. Peter’s Horry, after which both fell back. When Marion tried to send forth Horry once more, Watson’s infantry and artillery held Horry back. The South Carolina Rangers (Harrison’s Corps), under Maj. Samuel Harrison, then came up once more to charge the Americans, but were arrested in their movement momentarily by one of Horry’s horsemen, Gavin James, apparently a mighty individual of the cast of Peter Francisco, who single-handedly slew three of them before retiring. Marion threw in his horsemen under Captain Daniel Conyers and Capt. John McCauley who drove the Rangers back, killing Harrison. Watson’s regulars then continued their advance and Marion retreated to Cantey’s Plantation file miles northwest of present day Greeleyville. Conclusion: American Victory.
March 6, 1781 at Stirrup's Branch, also Radcliffe's Bridge, Lee County, South Carolina - On his way from Bradley’s toward Waxhaws, Maj. Thomas Fraser caught up with Sumter at Stirrup’s Branch and a running engagement ensued. Brig. Gen. Thomas Sumter, was passing between Scape Hoar Creek, Hoar Creek, and Ratcliff's Bridge over the Lynches River, they stumbled upon some British infantry of Maj. Thomas Fraser's Royalists. The Patriots fired on the British, but soon began to retreat through the woods. The fight was recorded as a "running or retrteating one." The Patriots made their way back to the bridge, burning it as they finished crossing. Without any cavalry, the British were unable to pursue them. Both sides claimed victory. The Americans said that Fraser was driven back, and then Sumter continued his retreat. The British, on the other hand claimed Sumter was routed, but that they did not have sufficient men to pursue him. In any case, after the engagement Sumter crossed Radcliffe's bridge and "disappeared on a circuitous route toward New Acquisition," finally reaching Waxhaws. The British report states that Sumter lost 10 killed and 40 wounded. Ripley states that one report gave Fraser’s losses as 20 killed. Sumter in his letter to Greene on 9 March said that during the course of his whole expedition he returned with “Very Inconsiderable Loss.” Rawdon wrote to Watson on 7 March: "Fraser yesterday fell in with Sumter (who was advancing this way) between Scape Hoar and Radcliffe's Bridge. A smart action ensued in which the enemy were completely routed, leaving ten dead on the field and about forty wounded. Unfortunately none of your Dragoons had joined Fraser, so that he could not pursue his victory. Sumter fled across Lynches Creek and continued his retreat northward; he had his family with him, so that I think he has entirely abandoned the lower country." Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: 10k, 40w; British: 20k&w
March 8-9, 1781 Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida - General Bernardo de Galvez landed some 3,000 Spanish Troops at Pensacola in west Florida and began siege of the 900 to 1,100 man British garrison there, under Brig. Gen. John Campbell. The latter included detachments of the Royal artillery, the 60th Regt. and the 16th Regt. The 16th had previously been stationed in Savannah. Despite being outnumbered two to one, the town would not fall till May 9th, and then only after a deserter had exploded a key ammunition magazine within the post. Conclusion: Spanish Victory.
March 9, 1781 Heron's Bridge, Pender County, North Carolina - Lillington, entrenched on the east side of the Northeast Cape Fear River skirmished Craig at Heron's Bridge, who made a surprise foray out of Wilmington. The Americans had one killed and two wounded, according to Lillington, though British losses were unknown to him. Conclusion: American Victory.
March 10 (also possibly 9 March), 1781 at Mount Hope Swamp and Lower Bridge, Williamsburg County, South Carolina - Marion had retired towards down the Santee Road and deployed his men at Mount Hope Swamp where he destroyed the bridge over the stream there. On the 9th or 10th, Watson again advanced and Marion’s riflemen under Lieut. Col. Hugh Horry and Capt. William McCottry attempted to dispute the passage there. But Watson cleared the way with grapeshot from his cannon and had his men wade through the stream. Marion withdrew in the direction of Georgetown expecting Watson to follow. Watson, however, pursued him a short distance but then turned and headed in the direction of Kingstree, one of the main focal points of rebel activity in the region. Desiring then to cut him off Marion sent ahead Major John James with 70 men, including 30 of McCottry’s riflemen, to seize Lower Bridge at the Black River and on the road Watson was taking to Kingstree. James, taking a short cut, reached the bridge before Watson, and removing some planks from the bridge, set his men in position. Marion, meanwhile, also came up with the main body prior to Watson’s arrival. When Watson did approach he attempted to bring his cannon to bear on Marion’s men, but due to enemy sharpshooters and the unusual terrain there was unable to do so, losing some men in the process. Watson then tried crossing at a ford not far distant. Yet when he reached the spot he was again kept back by the riflemen. By the end of the day, Watson retreated to the Witherspoon residence where he camped. The next day (probably the 11th) Marion’s men under Captains Daniel Conyers and McCottry sniped at Watson’s camp from concealed positions. Watson then removed his force that same day to Blakely’s Plantation. Although not having as much trees and foliage as there was around Witherspoon’s, Marion’s sharpshooters followed him there and continued their sniping. Despite his casualties and difficult situation, Watson remained at Blakely’s till the 28th. Conclusion: American Victory.
March 12, 1781 South Buffalo Creek, Guilford County, North Carolina - Early in the morning of the 12th, Lee had a brief skirmish with some of Tarleton’s men in the area to the west of Guilford. Lee, with Campbell, retreated to “Widow Donnell’s,” (about twelve and a half miles west of Guilford), to protect his communications with Greene. No losses were reported by Lee in his letter to Greene. Conclusion: British Victory.
March 15, 1781 Fanning's Horses Raid, Randolph County, North Carolina - A Capt. Duck, with some N.C. militia surprised Capt. David Fanning’s tories and stole their horses. Both sides lost 1 killed, with an unspecified number of wounded. The following day, Fanning with his men managed to locate and recapture the horses while wounding one of the whigs. Conclusion: American Victory.
March 21, 1781 at Dutchman's Creek, Fairfield County, South Carolina - On March 21, a detachment of New York Volunteers, commanded by Capt. William Gray, set up an ambush near Dutchman's Creek, about 10 miles east of Winnsboro. The mission was to attack and destroy Capt. Benjamin Land and his organizing militia. Capt. Benjamin Land and his militia entered the ambush site, and the Volunteers opened fire on them. The whig force was routed, and lost 18 men killed and 18 captured. After Land was captured, he was killed because of the earlier death of a prominent Loyalists. Conclusion: british Victory.
March 21 (also given as 23 & 24 March), 1781 at Beattie's Mill Abbeville or McCormick County, South Carolina - Col. Elijah Clark (who had recently recovered from the wound he had received in December 1780) was retreating from Long Canes, where he had again apparently had been trying to enlist recruits. Clarke had learned that a Loyalist dragoon force, commanded by Maj. James Dunlap, had left Fort Ninety-Six and was in the Little River District on a foraging expedition. Clarke gathered his 180-man force and headed out to find the Loyalists. The Patriots discovered the 90 loyalists, under Maj. James Dunlop, who were out foraging at Beattie's Mill. Both sides were mounted, though Dunlop had some regular cavalry. Though Clark’s force was twice as large as Dunlop’s, many of his men were without arms. He sent a small party, commanded by Lt. Col. James McCall, to seize the bridge behind Dunlap. Once his force was in place, Clarke gave the order to charge. Part of the Loyalist force fled after the first shots. The battle lasted for several hours.After Dunlap lost 34 men killed, he surrendered his force. As the prisoners were in their march to Gilbert Town, Dunlap was shot and killed. Pickens, who subsequently met up with Clark, reported the casualties to Greene as 34 killed and 42 captured. A few days later, while being held prisoner in Gilbertown, Dunlop was murdered by a guard or someone connected with the person(s) guarding him. Infuriated, Pickens offered a reward for the apprehension of the perpetrator, but the slayer was never found. Johnson: “Pickens very soon succeeded in breaking up the Tory settlements so effectually, that they were obliged to take refuge under the guns of Ninety-Six, and embody themselves for mutual protection under the command of [Brig.] General [Robert] Cunningham. Even here they were not permitted to rest, but were pursued and attacked by night; and but for the unfortunate mistake of a guide, would have been destroyed in the midst of fancied security. M’Call [Lieut. Col. James McCall], who possessed greatly the confidence of the Georgians, was joined by many of the Whigs from that state, and falling upon a party commanded by a Major Dunlap, a tory officer, who had rendered himself infamous by his barbarity, succeeded in capturing the whole party. Clark, Twiggs, Jackson and a number of distinguished Georgians, now returned into action, and such a change was produced in the face of things, as to extort from Major [actually Lieut. Col. John Harris] Cruger the commander at Ninety-Six, in a letter to Colonel Balfour which was intercepted, the following exclamation : -- "the exertions of the rebels have been very great -- they have stolen most of our new-made subjects in Long-Cane, and many to the southward of us, whose treachery exceeds every idea I ever had of the most faithless men. It will soon be a matter of little consequence who has this part of the country, as nothing is like to be planted this season, every man being either in arms or hid in the swamps, and a great consumption of last year's crops." Conclusion: American Victory.
March 24-25, 1781 on the Road to Ramsey's Mill, Chatham County,North Carolina- Since Greene was at Rigdon’s Ford on the 26th, Cornwallis probably arrived at Ramsey’s Mill, N.C., (situated on the north bank of the Deep River) on the 25th , or else the 26th.. On the day then previous to Cornwallis’ halting at Ramsay’s, some of his Jägers were surprised in their encampment by 20 of Col. Marquis de Malmady’s militia horsemen (probably his cavalry), and three of the Jägers were taken prisoner. That Cornwallis felt the need to mention the incident in a letter to Clinton (of April 10th) speaks to the bravery and cleverness of the raid. The British remained at Ramsey’s for a few days, during which time Cornwallis built an impressive bridge for his troops over the Deep River. A effort was made by an advanced party of Lee’s Legion and some riflemen to destroy the bridge, but this expedition was called off when the detachment guarding the structure was reinforced. Tarleton: “The day before the King's troops arrived at Ramsey's, the Americans insulted the yagers in their encampment: The royalists remained a few days at Ramsey's, for the benefit of the wounded, and to complete a bridge over Deep river, when the light troops of the Americans again disturbed the pickets, and the army were ordered under arms. “ Pension statement of John Chumbley of Amelia County, VA.: “We remained a few days in Green's army at the draw works [Speedwell’s Iron Works] till the retreat of the enemy commenced, and Green began to hurry. He recollects that they overtook the enemy at the bridge at Ramsay's [Mill] by evening of a forced march, but they escaped without injury. He distinctly recollects the bridge the enemy had thrown across Deep River at [Ramsey’s] Mills. At this place large rocks rise in several places in the river and the enemy had taken the trunks of the largest trees and placed them along on these rocks so as to form a bridge. He recollects he was astonished to conjecture how human strength could have placed so large trees in that position across the river.” Conclusion: American Victory.
March 28, 1781 at Sampit Bridge, Georgetown County, South Carolina - On March 28, Col. John Watson and his British force was still following Maj. Gen. Francis Marion's Patriot force. Marion sent Peter Horry’s horsemen ahead of Watson, and they destroyed the Sampit Bridge in Watson’s path as he continued down the road toward Georgetown. Horry’s were then set to receive Watson, but he drove forward on them with the bayonet. At the same time, however, Marion attacked and badly cut up his rear guard as it forded the Sampit River, since the bridge had already been partially destroyed by the partisans to impede the British as they retired. His own horse shot out from under him, Watson then opened up his cannon on them on Marion and drove him back. Leaving twenty dead behind him, Watson then proceeded to Trapier’s Plantation where he camped. The next day, with a reported two wagon loads of wounded Watson made it to Georgetown. Although there is apparently no accurate count of Watson’s losses during his expedition against Marion during this month, the total was reportedly not inconsiderable, 40 being both a reasonable and conservative estimate. Marion casualties, on the other hand, appear to have been negligible. Conclusion: American Victory.
March 29, 1781 at Snows Island, Florence County, South Carolina - On March 29 ,While Marion had been dealing with Watson, Col. Welbore Ellis Doyle, with the New York Volunteers, had been sent from Camden by Rawdon as the second prong of the plan to catch Marion. The date Doyle set out is not clear but sometime near the end of the month he attacked Marion's base at Snow's Island. Snows Island was located on the Pee Dee River. Doyle managed to capture the island. The islands defenders, commanded by Col. Hugh Ervin, destroyed all the carefully hoarded supplies and ammunition before they abondoned their position, Of this force, 7 were killed and 15 were captured, most of these were reportedly too ill to flee, while a remainder escaped. In the process Doyle liberated some prisoners including Cornet Merrit of the Queen's Rangers and 25 other men, while suffering 2 wounded. Ervin’s men did, however, have enough advanced notice to be able to throw supplies and ammunition in the river. Conclusion: British Victory.
April ??, 1781 at Horner's Corner (aka Horn Creek, Horner's Creek), Edgefield County, South Carolina - Capt. Thomas McKee, defeated and took prisoner a group of loyalists under a Capt. Clark, who himself was killed in the encounter. Conclusion: American Victory.
April ??, 1781 at Hammond's Mill, Edgefield County, South Carolina - Following the action as Horner's Corner, a company of loyalists at Hammond's Mill on the Savannah River, was attacked and defeated by Capt. Thomas McKee. Some loyalists were taken prisoner. In addition, Ripley speaks of provisions being captured and the mill destroyed. However, if the mill belonged to the Edgefield family of Samuel and LeRoy Hammond, as it may have been, it seems strange why it would have been destroyed by McKee. Conclusion: American Victory.
April ??(possibly January 1781), 1781 at Mathews' Bluff, Allendale County, South Carolina - A Capt. McCoy (or McKoy), who had been waylaying supply boats on the Savannah River, and at Mathew’s Bluff, ambushed a party of 30 loyalists, under a Lt. Kemp sent to out by Brown at Augusta to him. Kemp was routed, and lost 16 killed and wounded. See also Wiggin’s Hill, Early April. Conclusion: American Victory.
April ??(possibly January 1781), 1781 at Wiggin's Hill, Barnwell County, South Carolina - Col. Thomas Brown with 570, including some Cherokees (or else 170 plus 500 Indians), went out from Augusta on an expedition to catch Col. William Harden, who by one account had only 76 rangers. The two forces skirmished at Wiggins' Hill, and Harden, outnumbered, was beaten off. Harden possibly tried to attack again next day, yet, if so it is assumed he was repulsed. Harden lost 7 killed and 11 wounded, and Brown’s losses are not known. Tarleton Brown: “This atrocious deed of the sanguinary McGeart [McGirth] and his band was shortly succeeded by another equally cruel, nay, doubly cruel. The British Colonel Brown marched down from Augusta with an overwhelming force of Tories and Indians, and taking their stand at ‘Wiggins' Hill’, commenced a slaughter of the inhabitants. The news of which reached the ears of those brave and dauntless officers, Colonels. McCoy and Harden, who soon hastened to the defense of the terrified Whigs, and coming upon the enemy, charged upon them and killed and routed them to a man, Colonel Brown escaping to the woods. Colonels McCoy and Harden, having accomplished all that was required of them, retired from the field of action, after which Brown returned with the residue of his force and retook the ‘Hill’, at which he remained until he hung five or our brave fellows --- Briton Williams, Charles Blunt, and Abraham Smith, the names of the other two not recollected -- then he decamped for Augusta.” Conclusion: British Victory.
April ??, 1781 at Hanging Tree, Randolph County, North Carolina - Sometime in the Spring of 1781, probably April, and the location not clear, but probably in Randolph County, Capt. David Fanning and his men were surrounded at a house of a friend by 14 whig militia under a Capt. Hinds, with both sides losing a man killed. Fanning and most of his men apparently were forced to retreat and made their escape. One of the Fanning’s men was captured by Hinds, and says Fanning in his Narrrative, hanged "on the spot where we had killed the man [a whig] a few days before". Conclusion: American Victory.
April 1 (possibly 31 March), 1781, Skirmish at Cole's Bridge, Scotland County, North Carolina - In a letter of April 2nd, Col. Thomas Wade, at Haley’s Ferry on the Pee Dee, wrote to Greene that he had conveyed stores from Cross Creek to Haley's Ferry down river. He had tried to move his men quickly by forced marches. Nevertheless, his 95 North Carolina militia were attacked near Cole's Bridge, on Drowning Creek, by 300 loyalists and 100 British soldiers (all of whom were presumably mounted) who had pursued them. Wade’s column was routed. Some of his men, who were captured and paroled, reported that Wade's casualties were three killed, two wounded, and seven taken prisoner, and, in addition slaves, wagons, and all of the horses were taken. Wade was now left with only 20 militia. The British casualties were 4 killed. Some meal, much of it damaged, and some of the boats Greene had Kosciuszko build earlier were at Haley's Ferry, where they were being guarded by some locals. In the same letter, Wade requested wagons to send the meal to Greene, which Greene sent on his approach to Camden. Wade later complained that the men Caswell had sent him were poor soldiers and he asked for better in future if the supplies and provisions in his charge were to be kept secure. See 18 April. Conclusion: British Victory
April 2-3, 1781 at Fort Nashborough, Tennessee - On April 2, a group of Chicamauga Indians arrived at Fort Nashborough. They fired a volley of musketfire and then quickly withdrew. Col. James Robertson and a group of 20 mounted riflemen gave chase to the fleeing Indians. They were soon ambushed by 200 Indians, commanded by Dragging Canoe. When Robertson's men dismounted and opened fire, a second group of Indians appeared behind the patriots. The horses stampeded and turned the battle around for the Patriots. The horses crashed through a line of Indians that seperated Robertson's men from the fort. This provided the Patriots an escape route, which they took. The riflemen raced back to the fort, and were able to drive the Indians back into the woods. On April 3, the Indians continued firing on the fort. The Patriots finally loaded their cannons with rocks and iron shards and fired on the Indians. This managed to finally drive the Indians off. Conclusion: American Victory.
April 2, 1781 at Black River, Georgetown County, South Carolina - On April 2, a 20-man detachment of Queen's Rangers, commanded by Lt. John Wilson, was sent to cover a detail that had been sent to load flatboats with forage from a plantation on the Black River. As the detail was ending, the British were attacked by a group of 60 Marion Partisans, commanded by Lt. Col. Lemuel Benton. The partisans made 2 charges against the British, but were driven off both times. Wilson counterattacked after the last attempt, and drove off Benton. Losses are not known, but Wilson, who was wounded in the action, received a commendation from Balfour. Capt. John Saunders in Simcoe’s Journal: “Lt. [John] Wilson was sent on the 2d of April, with twenty men, attended by a galley, to cover a party sent to load some flats with forage, at a plantation on Black river: he debarked and remained on shore several hours before he saw a single rebel; but when he had nearly completed his business, he was attacked by about sixty of them, under the command of a Major [Lemuel] Benson: he repulsed them in two attempts that they made to get within the place where he had posted himself; he then charged and drove them off. Conclusion: British Victory.
April 3, 1781 Ambush at Witherspoon's Ferry, Florence County, South Carolina - After the raid on Snow’s Island, Doyle retraced his steps six or seven miles to Witherspoon's Ferry where he camped on the north bank of Lynches River. When Marion returned he camped at Indiantown, at which time his force had dropped down to about 70 men. Even so, on April 3, Brig. Gen. Francis Marion ordered Lt. Col. Hugh Horry to take his mounted infantry to travel to Whig's Plantation. At the plantation, Col. William E. Doyle had some foragers there collecting food for the troops. When Horry arrived at the plantation, they engaged the British, killing 9 men and capturing 16 men. The Patriots pursued the fleeing British to Witherspoon's ferry. There, they caught the British rear guard scuttling the ferryboat. The Patriots fired on the Loyalists. Doyle quickly formed his men along the bank of the Lynches River and delivered a volley of musketfire on the Patriots. After this firing, the British gathered up their belongings and headed towards the Pee Dee River. Doyle is said to have lost 9 killed or wounded, and 15 or 16 taken prisoner in the encounter. Either just before or after this event, Marion was joined by a reinforcement under Col. Able Kolb to assist against Doyle The latter, however, made haste to withdraw, destroyed his heavy baggage, and retired to Camden. Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: American: ?; British: 9k, 2w, 16c
7-8 April, 1781, Ambush/Surrender at Four Holes (aka Red Hill or Barton's Post), Colleton County, South Carolina - Harden, in the Four Holes Swamp area, with 70 (to possibly a 100) mounted men surprised and captured 26 loyalists under Capt. John Barton. The next day, Harden’s subordinate Major George Cooper (formerly one of Marion’s men), assaulted Barton’s post Some firing was exchanged, and Barton, having lost three men and himself wounded, finally surrendered. McCrady lists the whig losses as 1 killed and 2 wounded. He gives the loyalist losses as 1 killed, 3 wounded and 3 prisoners. In all three of these engagements with Barton and Fenwick, McCrady lists the American commander as “Cooper,” rather than Harden. Conclusion: Brirish Victory. Casualties: American: 1k, 2w; British: 1k, 3w, 3c
8 April, 1781. Skirmish at Pocotaligo Road (aka Patterson's Bridge or Saltketcher Bridge), Colleton County, South Carolina - On April 8, Lt. Col. William Harden and his Patriot force set up an ambush at Patterson's Bridge. The Loyalist force, commanded by Lieut. Col. Edward Fenwick and 35 South Carolina Light Dragoons, a recently formed loyalist cavalry troop, discovered the ambush and fell back. Harden called his men out of the woods to make a charge against the Loyalists. Only a few came out, with the majority of the men being too far back in the woods to be recalled. Fenwick saw the small number of Patriots on the road and ordered his Loyalists to charge them, the sabers apparently proved too much for Harden’s mounted men, they were scattered and fled the area. Tarleton Brown: “We then proceeded on for Pocataligo. Soon after we left Red Hill we entered upon a long, high causeway; a man came meeting us and told us Colonel Fenwick, with the British horse, were marching on just behind. We paid no attention to him not knowing who he was, but went ahead; however, we did not go many rods before the advance parties met and hailed each other - a charge now ordered on both sides, and we directly came together on the causeway, so a fight was inevitable, and at it we went like bull dogs. The British at length made their way through, though they found it tough work in doing so. We put one of their men to his final sleep on the causeway, and wounded eight more badly, one of whom they had to leave on the road. They wounded one of our men, Captain James Moore, in thirteen places, though very slightly, and two others who never laid up for their wounds.” Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: 2k, 1w; British: 1k, 7w, 2c
April 9, 1781 at Waxhaws Church, Lancaster County, South Carolina - The Waxhaws settlement was raided, and the meeting house there, and several homes, burned by a mounted party of 150 Provincials and loyalists under Capt. John Coffin. An unknown number of whigs were killed, wounded and 14 were captured. Sumter’s men, under Col. Thomas Taylor and Col. Henry Hampton, were unable catch Coffin in pursuit. Sumter, then afterward, retaliated by raiding the loyalists of the Mobley and Sandy Run settlements. On 13 April, Sumter, from his camp on the Catawba wrote to Greene: "On Tuesday night a party of horse & foot to the Number of about one hundred & fifty men from Camden appeard in the Waxsaws, they Marched with Great precipitation as far as the Meeting House, Which they burnt together with Some other houses Barns &C. They have Kild Wound[ed] & Taken Several persons Carried off all Kinds of horses, plundered the Settlement of as much as they Could Carry. As Soon as I Received Intelligence of Their approach, I Detached Cols Hampton and Taylor after them, but as they began to Retreat on Wednesday Night, Don't expect they will be overtaken. By accounts Just Received from Genl Pickens Who Wrote me about ten days ago that he had Collected Men of his Brigade, and also a few Georgians, but was unable to attempt anything against the Enemy. I give orders to the Cols Commanding four Regemnts in My Brigade Westward of Broad River to Join Genl Pickens, Which has been Done accordingly. I Requested Genl Pickens to Move Down & Take a position upon Tyger River Near the Fish Dam Ford to indeavor to Cover the Country and Collect Provisions..." Conclusion: British Victory.
10 April, 1781, Raid at Hulin's Mill (aka Hulen's Mill), Dillon County, South Carolina - At Hulin's Mill on Caftish Creek, Col. Abel Kolb with a group of his men under Maj. Lemuel Benson and Capt. Joseph Dabbs, surprised some loyalists under John Deer and Osborne Lane, killing Deer and wounding Osborne who escaped into Catfish swamp. Another loyalist, Caleb Williams, Kolb hanged. Deer, Williams, and Lane were reputed to be notorious marauders by their enemies, but, as is often the case in war, notorious can be a matter of the eyes of the beholder. Lane lived on for many years and was looked upon as a respected citizen in his community. It was forays like this which no doubt fomented Kolb's own murder, which took place on the night of 27 April. While this incident is of minimal military significance, it is nevertheless representative of numerous like occurrences, many unrecorded, which took place during the war in the south. Conclusion: American Victory
15 or 16 April, 1781, Raid on Wolf's Den (aka Big Glades or Riddle's Knob), Ashe County, North Carolina - Tory Capt. William Riddle, Zachariah Wells and 5 or 7 others captured Col. Benjamin Cleveland with a view to taking him to Ninety-Six to receive a reward. They already had a Capt. Ross, a whig militia officer, with them as captive for the same purpose. According to one version Cleveland was captured while resting under a tree at Old Fields, which was twenty miles northwest of Wilkesboro, NC. Another says that Riddle stole some horses with a view to setting a trap. Cleveland and a few others followed Riddle’s trail, and were ambushed. Cleveland’s men ran and Cleveland himself was taken prisoner after attempting t o seek shelter in a nearby house with his pistol. Riddle took him up to New River, then to Wolf’s Den or Elk Knob, on Elk Creek ten miles distant from Old Fields, where the Tories kept their camp. Capt. Robert Cleveland and some of Cleveland’s men from King’s Mountain soon received word of what had transpired and formed a party of 20 to 30 to go after Riddle. On April 15th or 16th(possibly in the night between the two days), 9 men in advance of the others, following the Tories trail, surprised and dispersed Riddle’s camp, rescuing Cleveland and Capt. Ross in the process. “Shortly after this occurrence,” says Draper, Riddle and a band of followers captured two of Cleveland’s soldiers, David and John Witherspoon prisoner at their home near King’s Creek, several miles from Wilkesboro. The two were taken into the Watauga area many miles away and made to join the loyalists, to which they agreed. Possibly Riddle had reason, as he thought, to suspect their loyalty to the Whigs, and despite the abduction had treated them otherwise in a friendly manner. When the Witherspoon brothers returned home, David Witherspoon contacted Col. Benjamin Herndon and reported what happened. Herndon soon gathered a party together. Guided by the Witherspoons, he and his men waylaid Riddle’s camp, capturing Riddle, two others, and killing or routing the rest. Riddle and his two followers were taken back to Wilkesboro where they were subsequently hanged under the oversight of Cleveland.” Conclusion: American Victory.
April 16-June 5, 1781 at Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia - A reported 1,300 (though Boatner’s number here seems rather high) Georgia and South Carolina militiamen under Col. Elijah Clark, Col. Micajah Williamson, Col. John Baker, Maj. Samuel Hammond, and Maj. James Jackson, placed Augusta under siege, a siege that would continue into June. Defending Augusta was Lieut. Col. Thomas Brown with 330 Provincials and loyalist militia, and 300 Cherokees. After the siege began, Clark fell ill with small pox, returning with some additional men by late April or mid May. They captured its strongest fortification after they had built a Maham Tower and mounted a 6-lb. cannon on it. The siege lasted until June 5. Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: American: 40k&w; British: 52k&w, 334c
18-20 April, 1781, Raid on Burwell's Ferry, Charles City County, Virginia - Having completed the fortifications at Portsmouth, which Arnold had begun, Maj. Gen. William Phillips embarked with about 2,300 rank and file troops and sailed up the James River as far as Burwell's ferry, which he reached on the 19th or 20th. A brief skirmish took place at that location with some militia. Arnold, at Petersburg, wrote to Clinton on May 12th: “On the 18th of April, the light infantry, part of the 76th and 80th regiments, the Queen's rangers, yagers, and American legion, embarked at Portsmouth, and fell down to Hampton road: on the 19th, proceeded up James river to Burwell's ferry; on the 20th, Lieutenant-colonel Abercrombie, with the light infantry, proceeded up the Chickahomany in boats; Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe, with a detachment, to York; Lieutenant-colonel Dundass [Thomas Dundas], with another detachment, landed at the mouth of the Chickahomany; and Major-general Phillips and myself landed with part of the army at Williamsburg, where about five hundred militia were posted, who retired upon our approach. The militia at York crossed the river before the arrival of Lieutenant-colonel Simcoe, who made a few prisoners, spiked and destroyed some cannon, and next day returned to Williamsburgh.” Conclusion: British Victory.
19-21 April, 1781, Skirmishes at Logtown, Kershaw County, South Carolina - On the 19th, Greene's army marched to "Sands Hills," (Hobkirk’s Hill), within a two miles, of Camden where he camped. By evening, his light troops then skirmished some of Rawdon’s forces, including some of the New York Volunteers, and the Volunteers of Ireland, outside the Camden fortifications (i.e. Logtown.) for the next couple days. Greene wrote to Lee on this date: “We are within two Miles of Camden and shall march to LogTown in the morning which is within half a mile of their advance works.” On the 24th, He wrote Huntington: “We began our march from Deep River the 7th, and arrived in the neighborhood of Camden the 19th. All the Country through which we past is disaffected, and the same Guides and escorts were necessary to collect Provisions and forage, as if in an open and avowed Enemies Country. On our arrival at Camden we took post at Logtown, about half a mile, in front of their Works, which upon reconnoitering were found to be much stronger that had been represented, and the garrison much larger…Our force was too small either to invest or storm the Works, which obliged us to take a position a little distance from it.” Kirkwood: "19 [April] Marched within 4 miles of Camden, took Eleven of the Enemy prisoners....15 [miles] This evening Genl. Green gave me orders if possible to take possession of Logtown, which was in full view of Camden & if I could take it, to mentain (sic) it until (sic) further orders, Leaving Camp about 8 at night, arrived before the town between 9 & 10 and about 12 Oclock got full possession of the place, A scattered firing was kept up all night, And at sun rise next morning , had a sharp schirmage, Beat in the Enemy, About two hours afterwards had the Very agreeable Sight of the advance of the Army. 20th. This day Col. Washington with my Infantry went Westerly round Camden, Burnt a house in one of the Enemys Redoubts on the Wateree River; took 40 horses and fifty Head of cattle and returned to Camp....4 [miles].” Seymour: "On the nineteenth April, 1781, we encamped before Campden, after a march of one hundred and sixty-four miles. We took this day eleven of the enemy prisoners, who were straggling through the country. The same night Captain Kirkwood, being detached off with his infantry, in order to take post before Campden, accordingly having arrived there about ten o'clock, drove in their picquets and took his post near the town till morning." Conclusion: British Victory.
21 April, 1781, Raid on Williamsburg, James City County, Virginia - Phillips marched to Williamsburg where he forced the Virginia militia there under Maj. James Innes to retreat. At the same time Simcoe moved to scout Yorktown Conclusion: British Victory.
22 April, 1781, Raid at Chickahominy, Charles City County, Virginia - As part of his newly launched raiding expedition, Phillips and Arnold sent Simcoe with a detachment was sent to the Chickahominy shipyard where Simcoe burned the Thetis. and some other smaller craft. Thereafter Phillips and Simcoe again embarked and continued moving up the James River. Arnold in his letter to Clinton of May 12th: “On the 22d, the troops marched to Chickahomany. We were met on the road, five miles from the mouth of the river, by Lieutenant-colonel Dundass [Thomas Dundas] with his detachment: This evening the troops, cavalry, artillery, &c. were re-embarked.” Conclusion: British Victory.
22 April, 1781, Skirmish at Camden Mill, Kershaw County, South Carolina - Fearing that Watson might enter Camden, Greene moved his camp from two miles north of Camden to a location to the lower side of Camden (presumably somewhat east or southeast of it). At the same time, he sent Lieut. Col. Carrington with the baggage and artillery "to the strong country north of Lynch's Creek." The next day, however, he moved back to his former camp ground, which presumably was at Hobkirk’s Hill. While there, he had ordered that Sumter would come and join him, but Sumter refused. Greene later blamed the defeat at Hobkirk’s Hill on Sumter, and indeed was so indignant at the latter’s thinly disguised disobedience that he would have had Sumter arrested “but from considerations arising from the state of the country at the time.” Seymour: "On the twenty-second we moved our encampment quite round Campden, the horse and infantry being sent about three miles down the Wateree there to procure forage, which having done, we returned to camp without anything of consequence happening. The same day happened a skirmish between a detachment of Colonel Campbell's Regiment and a picquet of the enemy's at a mill near Campden, in which the enemy were obliged to abandon their post. Of our men were slightly wounded one Lieutenant and one private. Of the enemy were four killed and five wounded." Conclusion: American Victory.
April 27, 1781, Raid on Osbourne's (aka Osborne's), Chesterfield County, Virginia - On April 27, Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold learned that an American flotilla and some supplies were located at Osborne's. That morning, he set out from Petersburg with a British force to destroy or capture the American goods. Arnold's force arrived at Osborne's, on the right bank of the river. The American commander was surprised at the sight of the British and ordered his troops and one of the ships to open fire on the British. The British artillery quickly silenced and drove off the American militia on the opposite shore, and destroyed the ship that was firing on them. TAfter routing some militia, he destroyed: two ships, five brigantines, five sloops, one schooner loaded with tobacco, cordage flour, etcs., fell into British hands. Four ships, five brigantines, and a number of the smaller vessels were sunk and burnt. On board the whole fleet were 2,000 hogsheads of tobacco which was also destroyed. Arnold afterward returned to join Phillips. Lafayette, in the meantime had reached Hanover Court House on his way to Richmond. Arnold to Clinton, May 12th: “The same day I marched to Osborn's, with the 76th and 80th regiments, Queen's rangers, part of the yagers, and American legion, where we arrived about noon. Finding the enemy had very considerable force of ships four miles above Osborn's, drawn up in a line to oppose us, I sent a flag to the commodore, proposing to treat with him for the surrender of his fleet, which he refused, with this answer, "That he was determined to defend it to the last extremity." I immediately ordered down two six and two three-pounders, brass field pieces, to a bank of the river, nearly level with the water, and within one hundred yards of the Tempest, a twenty-gun state ship, which began immediately to fire upon us, as did the Renown, of twenty-six guns, the Jefferson, a state brigantine of fourteen guns, and several other armed ships and brigantines; about two or three hundred militia on the opposite shore at the same time kept up a heavy fire of musketry upon us: Notwithstanding which, the fire of the artillery, under the direction of Captain Fage and Lieutenant Rogers, took such place, that the ships were soon obliged to strike their colours, and the militia drove from the opposite shore. Want of boats, and the wind blowing hard, prevented our capturing many of the seamen, who took to their boats, and escaped on shore; but not without first scuttling and setting fire to some of their ships, which could not be saved. Two ships, three brigantines, five sloops, and two schooners, loaded with tobacco, cordage, flour, &c. fell into our hands. Four ships, five brigantines, and a number of small vessels, were sunk and burnt: On board the whole fleet (none of which escaped) were taken and destroyed about two thousand hogsheads of tobacco, &c. &c., and very fortunately we had not a man killed or wounded this day; but have reason to believe the enemy suffered considerably. About five o'clock we were joined by Major-general Phillips with the light infantry. 28th, the troops remained at Osborn's, waiting for boats from the fleet; part of them were employed in securing the prizes, and carrying them to Osborn's as a place of safety.” Conclusion: British Victory.
27 April, 1781, Raid at Chesterfield Court House, Chesterfield County, Virginia - Phillips marched to Chesterfield Court House and burned a barracks for 2,000 men and destroyed 300 barrels of flour. Arnold to Clinton, May 12th: “27th, Major-general Phillips, with the light infantry, part of the cavalry of the Queen's rangers, and part of the yagers, marched to Chesterfield court house, where they burnt a range of barracks for two thousand men, and three hundred barrels of flour, &c.” Conclusion: British Victory.
27-28 April 1781, Raid & The Death of Abel Kolb, Marlboro County, South Carolina - On the night of 27-28 April, South Carolina militia leader Col. Abel Kolb, known for his relentless suppression of the loyalists around Drowning Creek and the upper Pee Dee, was captured at his home, by 50 North Carolina loyalists. The latter had gathered on Catfish Creek and were led by Capt. Joseph Jones. In the course of what took place, Kolb was shot by one of the loyalists and his home burned down. The action was probably in retaliation for Kolb’s killing of John Deer and hanging of Caleb Williams at Hulin’s Mill a few days earlier. Afterward, Kolb's death seemed to have emboldened many of the loyalists in the Drowning Creek region. Although Kolb may correctly be seen to have been at times ruthless himself in his methods, nevertheless, he was a formidable militia leader and was of significant assistance in reinforcing Marion after Doyle’s raid on Snow’s Island, sending men to Marion when the latter was before Fort Watson, and in keeping down the loyalists to the north of Marion’s operations generally. Conclusion: British Victory.
30 April 1781, Raid on Manchester, Chesterfield County, Virginia - Phillips, in an advance on Richmond, marched to Manchester and destroyed 1,200 hogsheads of tobacco there. Believing, however, that Lafayette, across the river in Richmond, would be reinforced by von Steuben and Muhlenberg (who were just upriver), he withdrew to Osborne’s by nightfall. Lafayette, in the mean time, moved Brig. Gen. Nelson and his militia to Williamsburg, at while ordering Brig. Gen. Weedon with his corps of militia corps to Fredericksburg. Arnold to Clinton, May 12th: “29th, the boats having arrived, the troops were put in motion. Major-general Phillips marched with the main body; at the same time I proceeded up the river with a detachment in boats, and met him between Cary's mills and Warwick. 30th, the troops marched to Manchester, and destroyed twelve hundred hogsheads of tobacco. The Marquis de la Fayette having arrived with his army at Richmond, opposite to Manchester, the day before, and being joined by the militia drove from Petersburg and Williamsburgh, they were spectators of the conflagration without attempting to molest us. The same evening we returned to Warwick, where we destroyed a magazine of five hundred barrels of flour, and Colonel Cary's fine mills were destroyed in burning the magazine of flour. We also burnt several warehouses, with one hundred and fifty hogsheads of tobacco, a large ship and a brigantine afloat, and three vessels on the stocks, a large range of public rope walks and storehouses, and some tan and bark houses full of hides and bark.” Conclusion: British Victory.
Mid to late April 1781, Raid on Mobley and Sandy Run Settlements, Fairfield County, South Carolina - Sumter got revenge on Coffin's raid of the Waxhaws (April 9th) by sending men to burn and kill in the Mobley and Sandy Run settlements. About this same time, Sumter gave Pickens Col. Flagg's regiment to suppress loyalist around Ninety-Six. Conclusion: American Victory.
26 April, 1781, Ambush of Coffin, Kershaw County, South Carolina - Rawdon having withdrawn into Camden with most of his army, Col. William Washington was sent to scout area. He found and lured Maj. John Coffin and a force of mounted infantry and dragoons into an ambush, in which Coffin lost 20 men. Coffin was then compelled to retire into to Camden. Rawdon, meanwhile, was making plans to abandon Camden. Seymour: "On the 26th Colonel Washington's horse and a detachment from line went to reconnoiter the lines." Rawdon, in his letter of 24 May, wrote to Cornwallis: “After the action of the 25th of April, (an account of which I had the honour of transmitting to your lordship) Major General Greene remained for some days behind the farthest branch of Granby's Quarter Creek. A second attempt upon his army could not, in that situation, be undertaken upon the principle which advised the former. In the first instance, I made so short an excursion from my works, that I could venture, without hazard, to leave them very slightly guarded; and I had the confidence, that, had fortune proved unfavorable, we should easily have made good our retreat, and our loss, in all probability, would not have disabled us from the farther defence of the place. To get at General Greene in his retired situation, I must have made a very extensive circuit, in order to head the creek, which would have presented to him the fairest opportunity of slipping by me to Camden; and he was still so superior to me in numbers, that, had I left such a garrison at my post as might enable it to stand an assault, my force in the field would have been totally unequal to cope with the enemy's army. I had much to hope from the arrival of reinforcements to me, and little to fear from any probable addition to my antagonist's force.” Conclusion: ? Victory.
Late April, 1781, Raids on Alexandria, VA. & Cedar, MD - On 18 April or sometime thereafter, A small detachment of troops carried by a flotilla of six frigates and brigs, and the same number of smaller craft, were sent by Phillips raiding up the Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac River and Tidewater area. Their mission was also to interfere with or prevent reinforcements and supplies reaching Lafayette. They briefly took Alexandria, and moved on to destroyed tobacco and free plantation slaves in Cedar Maryland. At one point Capt. Graves of the Acteon menaced Washington’s home Mount Vernon with burning (though his orders actually forbade it.) Washington’s nephew, Lund Washington, in order to save the estate paid a ransom and even went so far as serving up drinks and refreshments to the British officers on one of their ships. Washington was later indignant by his nephew’s appeasement and later wrote him saying (writes Lossing) “he would rather have had the buildings destroyed, than saved by such ‘a pernicious example.’" Conclusion: British Victory.
Late April or possibly mid May, 1781, Skirmish at Briar Creek, Screven County, Georgia - Not long after Clark, with 100 recruits, re-joined the besieging forces at Augusta, a loyalist relief force under Maj. Dill, on its way to relieve that town, was defeated at Briar Creek (a southern tributary of the Savannah River) by a whig force made up of over-mountain men under Col. Isaac Shelby and Georgians under Patrick Carr. Though Lossing mentions Shelby this may well be an error since Shelby, at this time, is elsewhere assumed to have been occupied in dealing with the Cherokee threat on the “North Carolina” frontier. On the other hand, there were close ties between the Watauga people and those of northwest Georgia, so the case for presence of Shelby in Georgia has something to support it. Lossing (and Boatner, going by him) states this action took place in mid May, while Coleman says “in April.” Coleman’s date is given preference here based on the mere assumption that he had the greater opportunity for hindsight, compared to Lossing –- though this, of itself, of course, doesn’t necessarily prove anything. In fact Coleman, doesn’t give a reference, and may have been drawing on the even older source. Coleman also, incidentally, says Dill’s losses were 40 killed. Lossing: “The British remained in possession of Augusta until the spring and summer of 1781, when their repose was disturbed. After the battle at Guilford Court House, and when the determination of Greene to march into South Carolina was made known, Clark and M'Call proceeded to co-operate with him by annoying the British posts in Georgia. M'Call soon afterward died of the small-pox, and Clark suffered from the same disease. After his recovery, he, with several other partisans, was actively engaged at various points between Savannah and Augusta, and had frequent skirmishes with the British and Tory scouts. In an engagement near Coosawhatchie, in Beaufort District, South Carolina, where Colonel Brown then commanded, the Americans were defeated; and several who were taken prisoners were hanged, and their bodies given to the Indians to scalp and otherwise mutilate. This was Brown's common practice, and made his name as hateful at the South as that of ‘Bloody Bill Cunningham.’ Conclusion: ? Victory. Casualties: American: ?; British: ?
May 1, 1781 Skirmish at Friday's Ferry, Lexington County, South Carolina - On May 1, Some loyalists guarding Friday's Ferry, near Ft. Granby, were surprised by a group of dragoons under Col. Wade Hampton. Bass says Henry Hampton, while Sumter’s report to Greene of May 2nd says merely “Col Hampton.” 13 loyalists were killed. As well, Hampton attacked another small detachment on their way to the fort and another 5 were killed. Numbers of men involved on both side s is not recorded but he number was probably few. Before openly taking side with the whigs, Wade Hampton owned and ran a “store” in the area, which the British subsequently confiscated. In the same letter reporting this skirmish, Sumter said: “The Hessian horse is Gone Downwards Except Twenty five that Crosed from the fort at Motts & Went in to Camden With Majr Doyl [John Doyle].” Conclusion: American Victory.
May 1, 1781 Ambush at Bush River, Newberry County, South Carolina - On May 1, Col. John Thomas, Jr. acting for Sumter, ambuscaded a group of loyalists. Thomas killed 3, while taking 12 prisoners, and capturing 4 wagons. Conclusion: American Victory.
6 May, 1781, Skirmish at Peacock's Bridge, Wilson County, North Carolina - After crossing the Neuse River, Tarleton advance column came upon a force of 400 Pitt County, N.C. militia waiting for him at Peacock’s Bridge. The bridge passed over Contentnea Creek near Stantonsburg. Tarleton dispersed the militia, but reportedly not without receiving losses himself. There is little documentation on this engagement so it may actually be the same engagement as Tarboro, 6 May, though this is purely speculation. Conclusion: British Victory.
6 (also possibly 5th) May, 1781, Skirmish at Tarboro, Edgecombe County, North Carolina - Brig. Gen. Jethro Sumner, at Halifax, N.C., wrote to Greene on May 6th saying that by the best accounts the British were near Tarboro. Their cavalry routed a party of militia near that place before the main body of Lord Cornwallis's army "was in view." Sumner expected that most of the stores at Halifax would be removed before they arrived. As it turned out while some were retrieved, much was subsequently captured or destroyed. Sumner added he had been able to arm only a 100 of the N. C. Continental draftees. Brig. Gen. Allen Jones was with Sumner at Halifax with 80 N.C. militiamen, and expected another 200 from Edgecomb County. Tarleton: “In the beginning of May, Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton, with one hundred and eighty dragoons, and the light companies of the 82d and of Hamilton's North-Carolina regiment, both mounted on horses, advanced in front of the army, crossed the Nahunta and Coteckney creeks, and soon reached the Tarr river. On his route he ordered the inhabitants to collect great quantities of provisions for the King's troops, whose numbers he magnified in order to awe the militia, and secure a retreat for his detachment, in case the Roanoke could not be passed. When Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton had proceeded over the Tarr, he received instructions, if the country beyond that river could afford a tolerable supply of flour and meal for the army, to make every possible effort to procure information of General Phillips: Upon finding the districts more fruitful as he advanced, he determined, by a rapid march, to make an attempt upon Halifax, where the militia were assembling, and by that measure open a passage across the Roanoke, for some of the emissaries, who had been dispatched into Virginia, to return to the King's troops in North Carolina.” Conclusion: British Victory.
May 8, 1781 at ??, South Carolina - On May 8, Col. Joseph Hayes was sent out to attack a large Loyalist force on Fair Forest Creek. Hayes was defeated and quickly withdrew his force from the area. Conclusion: British Victory.
May 8, 1781 at Sawney's Creek (also Sandy Creek), Kershaw County, South Carolina - On the night of the 7th, Rawdon crossed the Wateree Ferry and moved to attack what he thought was the main American force at Sawney Creek, but which, as it turned out, was only the light infantry and cavalry pickets of the American army. On May 8, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Greene moved his Patriot force to Sawney's Creek after finding out that a British force, commanded by Brig. Gen. Francis Rawdon, had arrived in Camden. In the morning, Rawdon marched his force to Wateree Ferry. He followed Greene to the lower side of Sawney's Creek, a rough area of pine and oak trees, where his advance troops met the pickets of Lt. Col. George Washington's dragoons. A short skirmish ensued, with the pickets being driven away. Both Greene and Rawdon withdrew their forces without any more engagements. Finding Greene’s position too strong, Rawdon withdrew back to Camden. Rawdon, in his letter of May 24th to Cornwallis wrote: “Whilst, upon that principle, I waited for my expected succours, Gen. Greene retired from our front, and, crossing the Wateree, took a position behind Twenty-five Mile Creek. On the 7th of May, Lieutenant-colonel Watson joined me with his detachment, much reduced in number through casualties, sickness, and a reinforcement which he had left to strengthen the garrison at George Town. He had crossed the Santee near its mouth, and had recrossed it a little below the entrance of the Congaree. On the night of the 7th, I crossed the Wateree at Camden ferry, proposing to turn the flank and attack the rear of Greene's army, where the ground was not strong, though it was very much so in front. The troops had scarcely crossed the river, when I received notice that Greene had moved early in the evening, upon getting information of my being reinforced, I followed him by the direct road, and found him posted behind Sawney's creek. Having driven in his pickets, I examined every point of his situation; I found it every where so strong, that I could not hope to force it without suffering such loss as must have crippled my force for any future enterprise; and the retreat lay so open for him, I could not hope that victory would give us any advantage sufficiently decisive to counterbalance the loss. The creek (though slightly marked in the maps) runs very high into the country. Had I attempted to get round him, he would have evaded me with ease; for, as his numbers still exceeded mine, I could not separate my force to fix him in any point, and time (at this juncture most important to me) would have been thus unprofitably wasted. I therefore returned to Camden the same afternoon, after having in vain attempted to decoy the enemy into action, by affecting to conceal our retreat.” Conclusion: Draw
May 9, 1781, Surrender of Pensacola, West Florida (Escambia Co., Florida) - After a siege lasting two months, the Spanish under General (also Governor) Bernardo de Galvez took Fort George in Pensacola, Florida from the British. As a result, control of West Florida passed over to the Spanish. See 8-9 March 1781. Conclusion: Spanish Victory.
May 10, 1781, Camden, South Carolina - Rawdon abandoned Camden, burning stores and baggage he could not take with him. As well, he damaged cannon so they were not usable and set fire to many of the buildings. When Greene retook Camden he reported on 14 May to Samuel Huntington that Rawdon "left all our men, wounded on the 25th [Hobkirk's Hill], amounting to Thirty one and fifty eight of their own and three Officers who were all too badly wounded to be moved." After Rawdon abandoned Camden, Greene sent a detachment into the town and moved with his army toward Friday's Ferry, he called an escort of dragoons and met Lee and Marion at Fort Motte after the fort surrendered and he had made camp at Widow Weston's near McCord's Ferry. Conclusion: American Victory.
May 11-12, 1781, Cox's Mill, Randolph Co., North Carolina - A small group of whigs were raided by Capt. David Fanning's and 17 tories some three miles from Cox's Mill (below modern Franklinville.) The rebels lost 2 killed, 7 wounded, and had 18 horses taken. The following day *the 12th) a similar raid took place and 4 whigs were killed, 3 wounded, 1 captured, and a number of their horses taken. Fanning then returned to his base at Cox's Mill. Sometime later the same month, in a similar foray, Fanning captured 3 more men and 9 more horses. Conclusion: British Victory.
May 14, 1781 at Croton River in New York - On May 14, ?? DeLancey and a group of Tories crossed the Croton River under the cover of darkness. There was an American outpost nearby commanded by Col. Christopher Greene. The Tories advanced upon the outpost and attcked it, capturing the outpost after a short fight. Greene was alone inside his headquarters when the Tories burst in there. He drew his sword and engaged the Tories, killing several of them, before he himself was overcome and killed. Afterwards, the Tories mutilated Greene's body. Conclusion: British Victory.
May 15, 1781, Beech (Beach)Island, Aiken County, South Carolina - McCrady records a skirmish between men under Col. Elijah Clark and men under Col. Thomas Brown, in which Clark is known to have lost 6 killed and an unknown number wounded, while Brown's losses are not known. Possibly Brown made a foray against his besiegers, or else went to the aid of a relief or supply column (or river flotilla) on its way to Augusta. Conclusion: British Victory.
May 16, 1781 at Portevent's Mill, Duplin Co., North Carolina - On May 16, the Loyalist force, commanded by Maj. ?? Mobley, was camped at Portevent's Mill. Some scouts from the Patriot force, commanded by Col. James Kenan, discovered the Loyalists at the mill grinding some corn. They sent word back to the main force letting Kenan know about their finding. They attacked the Loyalists at the mill. The Loyalists fled in all directions after a brief skirmish. The Patriots pursued them up the Six Runs River. A final skirmish ensued after a quick ambush was set up by a part of the Patriots. A Loyalist discovered the ambush and the Loyalists attacked the Patriot flank. Hand-to-hand fighting took place, with the Loyalists eventually fleeing into the swamp. Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: American: 3k, 3+w; British: 12k, 4w, 12c
May 21, 1781, March to Ninety-Six, also Saluda River, Newberry County, South Carolina - On 21 May, Green camped on Bush River, arriving the next day at Ninety-Six. Along the way, some of his light troops skirmished with some loyalists as described by Kirkwood and Seymour below. Kirkwood: "21st. Was ordered with Col. Washington's Horse to Surprise a party of tories under command of Col. Young; Coming up to the place found it evacuated, the Horse left me, with expectation to Come up with them, when I moved on at Leisure. The Tories taking us for some of them selves come out of a Swamp in our rear; & being undeceived took one of my men prisoners (sic); upon which A firing Commenced, but they being on horse back pushed off with the Loss of one man Killed & one Horse taken, A Short time Afterwards the Horse joined me, and before Dark killed 4 more taking 6 Prisoners; Marched this day...23 [miles].” Seymour: "On the twenty-first of May we took and killed about twelve Tories. Marched sixteen miles." Conclusion: American Victory.
May 28-29 (also given as 20-21 May), 1781, Evacuation of Georgetown, Georgetown County, South Carolina - Marion, with 400 mounted men, briefly laid siege to Georgetown. The town at this time had a garrison of about 80 provincials and some few loyalists militia. After the first night Marion started to dig. Then leaving a small detachment of militia as guard, he marched the rest of his brigade upstate to other operations. The British evacuated the town the next night(the 29th), leaving the 3 nine-pounders and carronade spiked, with their trunnions "knocked off." After taking Georgetown, Marion set about breaking up its fortifications. On 5 June, Marion reported the ships (a galley, 2 gun boats and an armed schooner) containing the garrison, were still outside the harbor, though, as it turned out no subsequent effort was made to take the city. By that time, Marion had few men left and little ammunition. Conclusion: American Victory.
June 1781, Burning of Wyanoke Ferry in North Carolina - As Cornwallis moved towards Yorktown, Virginia, a Tory raiding party burned the settlement at Wyanoke Ferry. Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: ?; British: ?
June 1, 1781 at Vaudent's Old Field in South Carolina - On June 1, Lt. Col. Richard Hampton and a Patriot force was sent south to engage any British or Loyalist force that was attempting to relieve the siege at Fort Ninety-Six. Hampton spotted a 50-man force of South Carolina Royalists, commanded by Ens. Henry Livingstone, at Vaudant's Old Field. The Patriots attacked and defeated the Royalists. Livingstone was one of several Royalists killed in the fight.. Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: American: ?; British: 3+k
June 3, 1781, Skirmish at Snipe's Plantation in South Carolina - On June 3, a Loyalist force, commanded by Capt. John Saunders, made surprise attack at the Snipe's Plantation. Capt. William C. Snipes and a small group of over 25 partisans were located here. During the night, the Loyalists attacked the partisans, capturing all but 7 who managed to escape. The prisoners were executed not long after they were captured. Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: 18k; British: ?
June 4, 1781, Raid on Charlottesville in Charlottesville, Virginia - On June 4, Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton and 250 British Infantry attacked the village of Charlottesville. With a surprise cavalry raid, they seized 7 members of the Virginia General Assembly. Governor Thomas Jefferson was warned of the British attack and fled 10 minutes before Ban and his troopers arrived, barely escaping, and fled into the nearby mountains. Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: 7c; British: ?
June 18, 1781, Skirmish at Juniper Springs in South Carolina - On June 18, in the morning, Maj. John Coffin, in the British rear guard of about 60 men, set an ambush for the Patriot force of about 160 men, commanded by Col. Charles S. Myddleton. When the Patriots engaged the ambush, Coffin surrounded the partisan's flanks and rear with cavalry. Not being equipped for close combat, Myddleton's force was decimated by the ambush. After a heavy loss of men, the remaining Patriot force quickly withdrew from the area. Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: 34 k & c; 71 m; British: ?
June 26, 1791, Skirmish at Spencer's Ordinary, also Spencer's Tavern in James City County, Virginia - Wayne, leading Lafayette's van, received word of Simcoe and the Queen's Rangers foraging near Spencer's Ordinary (about six miles north of Williamsburg). On the night of the 25th, Wayne sent most of the advanced parties under Col. Richard Butler, with McPherson, McCall, and Willis, to intercept them. A forward party of about 50 dragoons and 50 light infantry under McPherson caught up with Simcoe. There was a skirmish, in which both sides lost about 30 men each. Simcoe broke off the action, and brought word to Cornwallis of the American advance. Cornwallis moved his army up in response, but there was no further fighting. The Americans then retired to Tyre's Plantation, while Cornwallis continued his march to Williamsburg. There he found some recruits which had lately arrived, for his Guards. For the next week, the two opposing forces remained roughly in these locations about sixteen to twenty miles from each other, with weather that was excessively hot. On June 30th, Cornwallis reported to Clinton his losses at that date as 33 killed and wounded, and that 31 Americans were taken prisoner (the latter in the recent raids in and around Richmond and Charlottesville.) Simcoe: "Every division, every officer, every soldier had his share in the merit of the action (at Spencer's Ordinary): mistake in the one might have brought on cowardice in the other, and a single panick strucken soldier would have probably have infected a platoon, and led to the utmost confusion and ruin; so that Lt.Col. Simcoe has ever considered this action as the climax of a campaign of five years, as the result of true discipline acquired in that space by unremitted diligence, toil and danger, as a honorable victory earned by veteran intrepidity." Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: 33k, 31c; British: ?
June 26, 1781 Skirmish at Williamsburg in Virginia - On June 26, a British force consisting of Col. John Simcoe's Queen's Rangers, supported by a small force of German jager riflemen, encountered and attacked the leading elements of the Pennsylvania Continental Line, commanded by Col. Thomas Butler, and some American cavalry. The skirmish happened at Williamsburg. The action was indecisive. Conclusion: Inconclusive Victory. Casualties: American: ?; British: ?
July 3, 1781, Skirmish at Kings Bridge (Second) in New York- On July 3, a force of Patriot and French troops attempted to surprise the British detachments around Kings Bridge. The British force was alerted in time to retire after some skirmishing. They went to their defensive positions that was too strong for the Patriots and French to attack. Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: ?; British: ?
July 3, 1781, Ambush at Friday's Ferry in South Carolina - On July 3, in the morning, the South Carolina Royalists went out on a foraging mission. A Patriot force, commanded by Capt. Joseph Eggleston, had sent out some scouts. The scouts spotted the Royalists and sent word back to Eggleston of the approach of a British wagon with the Royalists escorting them. The Royalists saw the scouts and pursued them into an ambush that Eggleston had set up. All of the Royalists were captured except for one dragoon. Most of the wagons were also captured. Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: British: 48c
July 7, 1781, Skirmish at Ford's Plantationin in South Carolina - On July 7, a British force, commanded by Maj. Thomas Fraser, charged into the Patriot camp at Ford's Plantation. The 20+ Patriots, commanded by Col. Hayne, were quickly scattered away, with Hayne being captured. Conclusion: British Victory. Casualties: American: 14k, 1w, 3c; British: ?
August 1, 1781 in Yorktown, Virginia - General Cornwalllis, after unsuccessfully trying to engage Nathanael Green’s forces, decides to rest his troops at the small port of Yorktown on the Chesapeake Bay. This, he believes, will enable him to communicate freely with General Clinton whose army is in New York.
August 3, 1781, Skirmish at McCord's Ferry (aka McCant's Ferry) near Orangeburg, South Carolina - On August 3rd the British seized control of McCord's Ferry on the Congaree River. Lee had been ordered by Greene to strike at the enemy's lines of communications from Orangeburgh to Charlestown. McCord's Ferry was along that line. Lee circled around the British camp at McCord's Ferry with sixty men and crossed the river. His cavalry dispersed thirty-two wagons with an escort of 300 men within sight of the garrison at Orangeburgh. The lead elements of the escort fell back, but Lee's men had to break off their attack when the main body of the British refused to yield. Lee was able to capture twenty of the enemy. Conclusion: American Victory. Casualties: British: 20c