On May 29, 1780, the treatment of Patriot prisoners by British Colonel Banastre Tarleton and his Loyalist troops leads to the coining of a phrase that comes to define British brutality for the rest of the War for Independence: “Tarleton’s Quarter.”
After the surrender of Charleston on May 12, the 3rd Virginia, commanded by Colonel Abraham Buford, was virtually the only organized Patriot formation remaining in South Carolina; British Colonel Banastre Tarleton had been given the mission to destroy any colonial resistance in the state. At Waxhaws on the North Carolina border, a cavalry charge by Tarleton’s men broke the 350 remaining Patriots under Buford. Tarleton and his Tories proceeded to shoot at the Patriots after their surrender, a move that spawned the term “Tarleton’s Quarter,” which in the eyes of the Patriots meant a brutal death at the hands of a cowardly foe.
The Continentals lost 113 men and 203 were captured in the Battle of Waxhaws; British losses totaled 19 men and 31 horses killed or wounded. Although they were routed, the loss became a propaganda victory for the Continentals: wavering Carolina civilians terrified of Tarleton and their Loyalist neighbors were now prepared to rally to the Patriot cause.
Under the leadership of Thomas Sumter, the Patriot militia quickly returned the terror in kind with their own brutal raids on Carolina loyalists. Carolinians went on to fight a bloody civil war in which they killed their own with far greater efficacy than any outsider sent to assist them.
A 100-acre tract of land was marked for Benjamin Simons (1).
The original house had two stories with two rooms on each floor. Sometime before 1717 an addition, with one room on each floor, was added to the house (1).
Simons continued to increase the acreage of Middleburg and amassed 1,545 acres by 1717 (3).
Revolutionary War battles surrounded Middleburg, and British Colonel Banastre Tarleton targeted the house to be burned. It is unknown why the house was spared, but scars remain. Colonel Tarleton's saber left a lasting mark in a column by the front door and a British general etched his name on a window (1) (14).
Sarah Lydia Simons Lucas inherited 774 acres which included the house.
Catherine Simons Hort inherited 768 acres which became known as Simonsville and Horts. This land would later be purchased by William J. Ball who changed the name to Halidon Hill Plantation.
Mary Simons Maybank inherited 1,056 acres which became known as Smoky Hill.
Sarah and Jonathan's children jointly inherited the plantation (1).
At his death, the plantation passed to his children (1).
Dr. Benjamin Huger leased the plantation (1).
The Simons descendants used Middleburg as collateral for a loan from John Coming Ball (1).
- Number of acres 100 in 1693 450 in 1704 1,545 in 1717 1,659 in 1772 2,599 in 1785 744 in 1787 2,599 in 1872 326 in 2007
- Chronological list Benjamin Simons (1693-1717) Benjamin Simons II (1717-1772) Benjamin Simons III (1772-1787) Sarah Lydia Simons and Jonathan Lucas (1787-?) Jonathan Lucas III (1840-?) Thomas Bennett Lucas and Simons Lucas Simons Lucas (1858-?) John Coming Ball (1872-1927) Marie Guerin Ball Dingle (1927-1963) John, Charles, Coming and James Gibbs (1963-?) John Gibbs (1976) Jane and Max Hill (1981-?)
Battle of Waxhaws Begins
The Fighting: After some of Tarleton&rsquos men attacked his rearguard, Buford turned and organized his men for battle. It was at about 3:00 p.m. He aligned his infantry and cavalry into a single line of defense with a small reserve in the rear.
Tarleton divided his command into three detachments: on his right were 60 dragoons and 50 light infantry on the left was Tarleton himself with another 30 dragoons and additional infantry in the center were the rest of the 17th Dragoons and infantry.
Given the flat and lightly wooded terrain upon which Buford had formed, Tarleton&rsquos disposition was flexible enough to attack the center and both flanks simultaneously.
When the British dragoons charged, Buford ordered his men to hold their fire. He held firm until the enemy was just 10 yards from his line when his men poured a single volley into the charging enemy. Buford&rsquos choice of tactics was unfortunate.
Although the volley killed and wounded many enemy horses and a few men, the momentum of the charge carried both beast and rider into the American lines.
The tons of galloping horseflesh trampled and crushed the defenders. Tarleton killed a Virginian trying to raise a white surrender flag before his own horse went down, perhaps from the same volley.
Once Tarleton&rsquos cavalry closed, Buford&rsquos Virginians had no chance against an experienced mounted foe, followed up by infantry. Exactly what happened next will forever be subject to dispute.
Some sources claim the British grew angry when they learned Tarleton had been struck down (he had not).
The dragoons went to work, cutting and slashing the Patriots with their sabers, wounded and unwounded alike. British infantry added their bayonets to the bloody chaos. The hacking and close-quarter fighting, if as extensive as described, probably lasted for fifteen minutes.
Surrender was out of the question as no quarter was offered or accepted. It should be taken into consideration that any cavalry charge followed by a determined bayonet attack&mdashwith screaming adrenalin- drenched soldiers shrouded in powder smoke fighting for their lives&mdashwould result in horrendous wounds.
Depending on one&rsquos perspective, Waxhaws was either a well-executed tactical British victory or a bloody crime.
Outcome/Result: The Battle of Waxhaws would become a rallying cry for the patriots. Banastre Tarleton would be branded a butcher and the fighting in the South became more fierce with less civility.
At the Battle of King&rsquos Mountain, the patriots won a significant victory. They then returned the favor to the British by giving Patrick Ferguson and his loyalists&rsquo similar treatment to the patriot militia at Waxhaws.
Lieutenant Colonel William Washington would meet Banastre Tarleton again at the Battle of Cowpens and get his revenge with the help of Daniel Morgan.
Francis Marion Foils the British
A mural in Manning, South Carolina depicts Francis Marion's soldiers hiding from British Legion dragoons in Ox Swamp, where Marion earned the nickname "Swamp Fox" (© Mike Stroud, Bluffton, S.C.).
By midsummer 1780, the American Revolutionary cause in the southern colonies appeared close to ruin. Having seized Savannah and most of Georgia, a 10,000-man British army had marched on Charleston in May and adroitly trapped the main American field army in the South. Following a six-week siege, the defenders capitulated, resulting in the loss of 6,700 Continental troops, state militia, and sailors&mdasha larger haul of prisoners than the Americans had taken when Lieutenant General John Burgoyne&rsquos British army surrendered at Saratoga in 1777. Within three weeks, fast-moving British columns overran most of South Carolina. At a camp on Deep River in central North Carolina, the Americans were trying to build a force to halt further British advances and take back what had been lost. Fourteen hundred Maryland and Delaware Continentals sent by George Washington formed the solid core of the new army, supplemented by North Carolina and Virginia militia. Major General Horatio Gates, the victor at Saratoga, had taken command.
Marion understood the vital importance of aggressiveness and audacity in sustaining patriot morale and keeping the enemy off balance. But he was equally shrewd in assessing when he should refuse battle
In July, a bedraggled band of about 20 refugees from South Carolina rode into the Deep River encampment. Some were white, some black, and some were teenage boys. All were raggedly dressed and miserably equipped. Several had been officers in a now destroyed South Carolina Continental regiment, including their leader, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Marion. Despite his rank, Marion presented an utterly unimpressive figure&mdashshort, scrawny, homely, taciturn, and so crippled by a poorly healed ankle fracture that his black manservant had to help him dismount from his horse.
Colonel Otho Williams, Gates&rsquos adjutant, recorded afterward that the appearance of Marion&rsquos group prompted general derision among the proud and confident northern troops. Gates was only too happy to dispense with Marion by approving his suggestion that he and his men be sent back to their native state to gather intelligence and harass the enemy.
Shortly thereafter, Marion and his followers rode back to South Carolina&mdashand into legend. During the next 13 months he proved himself a master at conducting partisan warfare and handling irregular troops. He repeatedly defeated larger and better-equipped forces with few losses, marking him as one of history&rsquos outstanding guerrilla leaders.
But Marion&rsquos most extraordinary accomplishment may have been that in a struggle marked by all the savagery of a civil war, during which he and his men were usually hungry and hunted, and in the face of wanton destruction and occasional heartbreaking cruelties committed by his enemies (including the capture and summary execution of his 16-year-old nephew, Gabriel), he never lost control of his men or succumbed to the urge for vengeance. Instead, he always correctly observed the established rules of war and maintained exceptional discipline over his constantly fluctuating partisan force.
Born in 1732, Francis Marion was the youngest of seven children of a moderately prosperous Low Country planter. He displayed a taste for adventure even as a boy, shipping out aboard a West Indies&ndashbound schooner at the age of 16. A few days from Charleston, in an episode that could have been taken from Moby-Dick, a whale smashed into the vessel, which sank within minutes. The six crew members drifted in a lifeboat for nearly a week, and two died of thirst, hunger, and exposure before a passing ship rescued Marion and the other three survivors.
Marion then turned to farming, establishing a plantation not far from the Santee River about 45 miles north of Charleston. When Cherokee Indians rebelled in 1759 during the French and Indian War, he volunteered for the militia and served as the first lieutenant in a company of light infantry. In 1761, at the climactic battle of Etchoe, Marion led 30 men in a diversionary assault up a defile and against the flank of a strong Cherokee position. Two-thirds of Marion&rsquos men fell dead or wounded under withering enemy fire, but the costly attack helped secure a decisive victory. Marion emerged a hero.
As relations between Great Britain and its colonies moved toward an open rupture in early 1775, Marion was elected as a delegate to the South Carolina Provincial Congress. When the fighting broke out, he was commissioned a captain and a company commander in South Carolina&rsquos 2nd Continental Regiment. His success at molding raw recruits into an effective and disciplined unit was such that he was soon promoted to major, the regiment&rsquos second in command.
During the first years of the war, Marion participated in most of the major campaigns in South Carolina and Georgia. On June 28, 1776, he was in the thick of the fighting when the 2nd Regiment, defending a partially completed fortification of palmetto logs and sand at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, repulsed an attack by nine British warships. Three years later, in the late summer and fall of 1779, he and his regiment participated in a badly mishandled Franco-American expedition to recapture Savannah that culminated in a costly and futile frontal assault against the well-entrenched British and loyalist defenders.
Marion would have been among the troops the British bagged when Charleston surrendered in May 1780 had it not been for an accident. Weeks before the British cut the last roads leading inland from the city, Marion attended a party during which the host locked his guests in to prevent them from leaving until they were soused. The abstemious Marion nonetheless tried to take his leave by jumping from a second-floor window, fracturing his ankle. Sent home to convalesce, he escaped captivity when the city was cut off and forced to surrender.
As British columns raced across the state after Charleston fell, Marion became a fugitive, constantly moving to evade search parties. Upon hearing of the new American army gathering in North Carolina, he made his way there with a few fellow officers and comrades from the 2nd Regiment to offer his services.
During Marion&rsquos brief stay in Gates&rsquos camp, residents of the Williamsburg district between the Black and Pee Dee Rivers in eastern South Carolina rose against the British and sent Marion a message asking him to take command. He readily accepted. Gates, who was planning to move against Camden, the main inland British base, instructed Marion to destroy all the watercraft along the Santee River, which ran south from the meeting place of the Wateree and Congaree Rivers below Camden before turning east to reach the coast above Charleston. Gates hoped that Marion&rsquos small force could frustrate British efforts to reinforce Camden and then prevent their retreat once Gates defeated them with his army.
When Marion returned to his native state, he discovered that the British had badly bungled the pacification of their recent conquest. Initially, patriot soldiers were assured that they need merely lay down their arms, give their paroles, and take up their previous employments to return to good standing with the king. Only later did it emerge that once men renewed their allegiance to the Crown, the British would expect them to join the fight against their former compatriots in the northern colonies. That&mdashcoupled with looting and plundering by the British occupying forces and vengeful score-settling by local Tories&mdashgave new life to the patriots&rsquo struggle. Partisan bands soon sprang up around the state&mdashMarion&rsquos in the southeast, between the Santee and Great Pee Dee Rivers that of Thomas Sumter, known as &ldquothe Gamecock&rdquo for his pugnacious personality, in the north and Andrew Pickens&rsquos in the northwest.
Marion assumed command of four companies of Williamsburg patriots on August 10. In keeping with his instructions from Gates, Marion took 50 men and moved to cut the British line of communications along the Santee between Charleston and Camden, about a hundred miles inland. He was on the upper Santee when he received the shocking news that Gates had been completely routed by Lieutenant General Charles, Lord Cornwallis, in a battle near Camden on August 16. Half of Gates&rsquos 3,000 men were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, and the remainder of the American army had fled to North Carolina.
A lesser man might have decided that this was a good time to go to ground with his small force, but Marion recognized that being astride the enemy&rsquos main line of communications might still present opportunity. Early on the morning of August 20, he and his men surprised a detachment of British regulars camped near Nelson&rsquos Ferry, the main crossing on the upper Santee. Attacking from two directions, Marion&rsquos force killed or captured 24 of the enemy and liberated 150 Continental prisoners, while suffering only one man killed and another slightly wounded.
Barely two weeks later, Marion and his band were in action again. Tory militia had gathered at Britton&rsquos Neck, a tongue of land formed by the juncture of the Great and Little Pee Dee Rivers. Marion and his men rode through the night and swept into the Tory encampment at dawn, killing some and scattering the rest. They next moved up the Little Pee Dee to attack another Tory force nearby. When this unit greeted him fully deployed and in greater numbers than he expected, Marion feigned retreat, drew the Tories after him, then ambushed and defeated them at a spot known as Blue Savannah.
Marion thus demonstrated that he understood the vital importance of aggressiveness and audacity in sustaining patriot morale and keeping the enemy off balance. But he was equally shrewd in assessing when he should refuse battle. When Lord Cornwallis dispatched 800 British and loyalist troops to hunt him down following his first actions, Marion prudently released his men to their homes and rode to North Carolina.
For some nine months, the Swamp Fox and his brigade roamed the region between the Pee Dee and Santee Rivers in South Carolina and harassed the British regulars, repeatedly defeating larger forces (Baker Vail).
A sharp fight ensued before one of Marion&rsquos other detachments attacked the Tories from the rear, killing and wounding many and scattering the rest. After this battle, most of Marion&rsquos men returned to their homes to bring in the harvest, while he retired for the first time to the base that became a central part of his legend. Snow&rsquos Island was located on the west side of the Great Pee Dee River, just below its confluence with Lynches River in the southeast part of the state. It was further protected by a creek, a lake, and broad belts of cypress swamp and dense canebrakes. For the next six months, Marion used this naturally moated refuge as a supply depot, recruiting station, and sanctuary.
A young British officer got a rare look at Snow&rsquos Island when, sent to arrange a prisoner exchange, he was picked up by one of Marion&rsquos patrols and led blindfolded to the hideout. Once there, he was astonished by the diverse character and high morale of Marion&rsquos men, notwithstanding their ragged dress and obvious privations, as well as by their leader&rsquos diminutive stature and unpretentious appearance. Marion invited the officer to share his dinner&mdasha meal of roasted sweet potatoes served upon improvised plates of bark. &ldquoBut surely, general,&rdquo the officer objected, &ldquothis cannot be your ordinary fare.&rdquo
&ldquoIndeed, sir, it is,&rdquo Marion dryly replied, &ldquoand we are fortunate on this occasion, entertaining company, to have more than our usual allowance.&rdquo
Although hunger dogged his men and pay was nonexistent, Marion refused to let them loot or plunder. An order dated March 8, 1781, clearly spelled out his policy: Soldiers who took &ldquoProvisions or forage from any person or plantations without a wrighting authority from me,&hellipwill be Deemed plunderers & Suffer Accordingly and part[ie]s will be sent to destroy all such plunderers wherever they may be found.&rdquo His solicitude extended even to those lowest on South Carolina&rsquos social scale: He once ordered one of his men tried and disciplined for &ldquoPlundering Negroes homes and other goods.&rdquo
By late October 1780, enough men had rejoined his force that Marion could resume operations. Learning that the Tories had set up a recruiting base at a militia mustering ground near the Black River, Marion launched another lightning raid. Taking 150 men, he covered 40 miles, crossed three rivers, and took the enemy&rsquos camp by surprise at midnight on October 25. Most of the Tories fled into nearby Tearcoat Swamp, and Marion&rsquos men seized 80 new muskets and an equal number of horses and saddles.
Lord Cornwallis now sent his most audacious and aggressive officer after Marion. Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton commanded a combined-arms force known as the British Legion. Patriots called Tarleton &ldquothe Butcher&rdquo and &ldquoBloody Ban&rdquo after his cavalry literally cut to pieces a retreating detachment of Virginia Continentals at the Battle of Waxhaws in 1780, killing and wounding many men as they tried to surrender.
Tarleton came after Marion with the thousand men of his command. On the night of November 9&ndash10, Tarleton&rsquos legion and Marion&rsquos brigade almost blundered into each other at Richardson&rsquos Plantation near the Santee, with each side discovering the other at practically the same moment. Marion&rsquos force was barely half the size of Tarleton&rsquos, so he decided to run for safety. The resulting chase lasted through much of that night and most of the following day. Finally, after covering 33 exhausting miles through swamps, creeks, thickets, and forests, Tarleton found himself on the banks of yet another watery morass&mdashOx Swamp, near the town of Manning&mdashwith no sign of his quarry. Turning to his officers, he said, &ldquoCome, my boys! Let us go back, and we will soon find the game cock [Sumter], but as for this damned old fox, the devil himself could not catch him.&rdquo Thus Marion&rsquos famous sobriquet was born.
In early December 1780, a frustrated Lord Cornwallis fumed in a letter to his superior, Sir Henry Clinton, that &ldquoCol. Marion has so wrought on the minds of the people&hellipthat there was scarcely an inhabitant between the Santee and the Pedee, that was not in arms against us.&rdquo In recognition of his accomplishments, South Carolina&rsquos patriot governor-in-exile promoted Marion to the rank of brigadier general in the state militia.
Having failed to suppress Marion and his brigade, the British turned their attention to protecting their line of communications from Charleston to their inland bases at Camden and the frontier settlement of Ninety Six. They erected a series of fortified posts, including Fort Watson, on the east side of the Santee, and Fort Motte, farther north, just west of the juncture of the Congaree and Wateree rivers.
By the New Year, Congress had relieved Gates and sent Major General Nathanael Greene to command the main American army in the South. Greene reached the army&rsquos camp near Charlotte, North Carolina, in late November. He fully recognized the importance of coordinating his efforts with Marion, Sumter, and Pickens&mdashGreene once said that one partisan was worth 10 militiamen&mdashand wanted to support their efforts even at the cost of weakening his own small army.
Accordingly, in January 1781, Greene dispatched Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lee and Lee&rsquos Legion, an American counterpart of Tarleton&rsquos force comprising both infantry and cavalry, to the Pee Dee with instructions to operate with Marion&rsquos brigade. Lee recorded in his memoirs that it was only thanks to a lucky encounter with one of Marion&rsquos foraging parties that he was even able to find the guerrilla&rsquos camp.
Marion and Lee worked together on and off for the next eight months. They made an odd pair. At 25, &ldquoLight Horse Harry&rdquo Lee&mdashthe future father of Robert E. Lee&mdashwas convivial and dashing. Marion, in contrast, was nearly twice Lee&rsquos age, hooknosed, swarthy, bowlegged, and personally reserved. He drank primarily a mixture of vinegar and water, and was so indifferent to cutting a martial appearance that he loyally continued to wear his old leather 2nd Regiment cap even after it was partially burned when a bed of pine straw on which he was sleeping blazed up from a campfire spark.
Despite these differences, the two men formed a highly effective partnership. Both were daring and inventive, aggressive without being reckless, and careful with the lives of their troops. These qualities were clearly displayed in late January, when they nearly captured the port of Georgetown with a bold and complex operation that combined a night landing by a waterborne commando force and an attack against the enemy land defenses. It was typical of Marion and Lee that after taking the British commandant prisoner and overrunning much of the town, they elected to withdraw when it became clear that a complete victory would require house-to-house fighting and a potentially costly assault on the town&rsquos main redoubt.
Lee rejoined Greene&rsquos army after the unsuccessful coup against Georgetown, and thus Marion stood alone in March 1781 when the British made their third attempt to destroy his command. Colonel Francis, Lord Rawdon, who took command of the occupying forces when Lord Cornwallis moved north in pursuit of Greene&rsquos army, planned a two-pronged attack on Marion&rsquos base on Snow&rsquos Island. The main striking force, 500 loyalist light infantry, militia, and rangers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Watson, was to proceed east from the fort carrying his name on the Santee River road north of Nelson&rsquos Ferry. A second force, consisting of 300 New York loyalists under Lieutenant Colonel Welbore Doyle, was sent east from Camden with orders to descend the Great Pee Dee River from the north, cutting off Marion&rsquos avenue of retreat to North Carolina and serving as the anvil to Watson&rsquos hammer.
But this campaign likewise did not go as the British had planned. Alerted to Watson&rsquos advance, Marion and 400 men laid an ambush along the Santee River road at Wiboo Swamp. When he approached on March 7, Watson avoided stumbling into Marion&rsquos trap, but the British had the worst of a back-and-forth series of charges and countercharges along the narrow causeway through the swamp.
Watson and Marion clashed again two days later at Mount Hope Swamp, where Marion&rsquos men had removed the bridge over the stream, but this time Watson blasted his way through the defenses by loading his cannons with grapeshot. Watson then feinted as if he intended to continue east along the Santee, but instead moved north and headed for the Lower Bridge over the Black River.
Marion divined Watson&rsquos true intentions and sent a party of 70 mounted riflemen racing across open country to beat him to the bridge. They arrived in time to destroy the span and block the crossing. After the American marksmen frustrated several British attempts to ford the river&mdashWatson grudgingly conceded that he never saw such shooting in his life&mdashWatson took refuge at a nearby plantation where there were few trees to provide cover for Marion&rsquos men. Here he remained for 10 days, perhaps hoping he would be reinforced by Doyle&rsquos command, the left hook of the Tory offensive.
The hunter had thus become the hunted. On March 15, Watson was reduced to asking Marion for passes so that his wounded could be taken to Charleston, a request Marion granted. By March 20, Watson&rsquos troops had exhausted their provisions, but Marion&rsquos skilled riflemen made foraging impossible. So Watson and his men broke out, bolting for safety in Georgetown 30 miles away. Marion again sent a party of horsemen ahead to destroy the bridge over the Sampit River, west of the town. When Watson&rsquos desperate troops reached the ruined bridge, they plunged into the stream and splashed across just as Marion&rsquos main force came up and pounced upon the rear guard. The Tories panicked and fled 20 were killed and 38 wounded, while Marion lost only a single man. Watson&rsquos command limped into Georgetown the following day, its remaining wagons loaded with wounded.
The humiliating rout of Watson&rsquos larger force in what became known as &ldquothe Bridges Campaign&rdquo was Marion&rsquos most impressive accomplishment to date. But even as his command celebrated its triumph over Watson, a messenger arrived with shattering news: Colonel Doyle&rsquos regiment had discovered and destroyed the brigade&rsquos base at Snow&rsquos Island. All the weapons, ammunition, and stores so laboriously accumulated there over the previous six months had been burned or dumped into the surrounding rivers.
Marion and his brigade at once set off for the Pee Dee, determined to exact revenge. But Doyle burned his heavy baggage and scuttled back to Camden, content with salvaging a partial success from an otherwise embarrassing campaign.
It was at this discouraging moment that Marion received the news that General Greene&rsquos army, after a hard-fought battle against Lord Cornwallis at Guilford Courthouse, planned to reenter South Carolina. Greene ordered Marion and Henry Lee to operate jointly against the line of British forts between Charleston and Camden. Their first target was Fort Watson. This post occupied an old Santee Indian mound that rose almost 30 feet above the surrounding plain. A stockade crowned the mound, with abatis&mdashrows of sharpened stakes&mdashdriven into its sloping sides. Only six weeks earlier, Fort Watson had successfully withstood an attack by Thomas Sumter and his partisans, 18 of whom were killed in the attempt.
Although Marion and Lee had no cannons, they took the fort after an eight-day siege. One of Marion&rsquos officers, Colonel Hezekiah Maham, conceived the idea of constructing a tower made of logs laid in alternating crosswise layers until it was tal­ler than the fort. Trees were felled, the logs were readied, and the tower was erected in a single night. When dawn came and the British discovered that American riflemen could now command the stockade&rsquos interior, they promptly surrendered.
The war in South Carolina had now reached its turning point. On April 25, Lord Rawdon lost a quarter of his army in a costly attack upon Greene&rsquos forces at Hobkirk&rsquos Hill just outside Camden. Two weeks later, he evacuated the town and marched south after burning many of its buildings and destroying the supplies he could not take.
Marion and Lee, meanwhile, reunited on May 8 for an attempt on Fort Motte, the principal British supply depot between Charleston and their strongholds upstate. Fort Motte consisted of a stockade that encircled the hilltop mansion of Rebecca Motte, a wealthy planter&rsquos widow who was devoted to the patriot cause. Lee proposed burning out the British by shooting flaming arrows into the house&rsquos dry cedar roofing shingles. Mrs. Motte endorsed the plan and even supplied a high-powered African bow owned by her late husband. When several well-placed bowshots ignited the shingles and a few rounds from a lone cannon brought by Lee&rsquos command made it impossible for the British to douse the flames, Fort Motte surrendered.
The British position in South Carolina rapidly crumbled. Between April 18 and May 14, three more British forts capitulated. At the end of May, Marion and his brigade appeared before Georgetown and started digging siege trenches. But the British and loyalist garrison and its local supporters boarded three ships in the harbor and sailed away to Charleston. Marion marked the bloodless victory with a few uncharacteristic self-indulgences: a new dress uniform, a refurbished wardrobe, and a pair of mules to carry his baggage.
In July 1781, the British abandoned Ninety Six, their last remaining post deep in the interior of South Carolina. Marion&rsquos brigade distinguished itself on raids conducted outside of Charleston in July and August, and again when it fought as a regular unit with Greene&rsquos army in the Battle of Eutaw Springs on September 8. There, the Americans came close to victory before falling into disorder and withdrawing. But the smaller British army suffered 40 percent casualties, effectively wrecking its offensive capability.
For the remaining 15 months until the British evacuated Charleston in December 1782, the fighting was limited mostly to insignificant encounters between foraging parties on the outskirts of Charleston. Marion displayed a robust good sense about putting his men in harm&rsquos way unnecessarily during this final phase of the war. Urged to attack British troops who had landed upriver from Charleston to obtain water, he replied, &ldquoIf ordered to attack, I shall obey, but with my consent, not another life shall be lost&hellip.Knowing, as we do, that the enemy are on the eve of departure, so far from offering to molest, I would rather send a party to protect them.&rdquo
Political affairs now again called upon Marion. In January 1782, he took a seat in the reconstituted South Carolina state assembly. In the war&rsquos final stages and after peace came, he supported measures to foster reconciliation with the state&rsquos loyalists, on one occasion preventing his men from lynching a notorious Tory commander.
When the war ended, Marion returned to a quiet life. His plantation was severely damaged during the fighting, but in the mid-1780s he married a wealthy cousin, Mary Videau, and thereafter lived in a comfortable if unpretentious manner. True to form, when the state legislature granted militia commanders immunity from civil or criminal liability for actions undertaken by their troops during the war, Marion refused to have his name enrolled. &ldquoIf I have given any occasion for complaint,&rdquo he said, &ldquoI am ready to answer in property and in person&hellip.If, in a single instance, in the course of my command, I have done that which I cannot fully justify, justice requires that I should suffer for it.&rdquo
In 1790, he served in the convention that drafted South Carolina&rsquos state constitution, but thereafter he largely retired from public life. He died at the age of 63 in 1795. A plaque on his tomb aptly describes him as a &ldquonoble and disinterested&rdquo citizen and a soldier &ldquowho lived without fear, and died without reproach.&rdquo But the finest tribute came in a letter that Nathanael Greene wrote to Marion just after the fall of Fort Watson. Greene noted that Marion, despite fighting against superior foes, had kept &ldquoalive the expiring hopes of an oppressed militia.&rdquo
Green continued: &ldquoTo fight the enemy bravely with the prospect of victory is nothing, but to fight with intrepidity under the constant impression of defeat, and to inspire irregular troops to do it, is a talent peculiar to yourself.&rdquo
Work, holiday, more work, bad cold, helping out with the "British Grenadier!" 4th scenario book's final stages etc - the usual excuses explain a gap of a month since my last post. But I've been busy and have masses of stuff now going through the basing process: French Napoleonic generals, Continental infantry, more French generals, Boston militia, AWI French chasseurs, my Mameluke band and more AWI cavalry. Eureka's Continental dragoons came out about 5 years ago now, and I've been rather slow at painting up the large number that I have acquired since I first saw them at Eureka's shop in Melbourne. Since then, of course, Perry Miniatures have released a large number of cavalry packs, with the four regiments of Continental dragoons, Lee's Legion and militian types all covered. So is the Eureka range redundant now? Not a bit of it. I think the Eureka cavalry figures remain an essential component of a serious AWI collection, and that's because of the figures' flexibility and the customisation opportunities afforded by their separate hats and helmets. I haven't yet tried using some of the hats on the Perry plastic infantry figures, but I intend to create some "legion infantry" types that way.
You don't need much American cavalry for most AWI games, but as it the case with this period there were lots of different units raised during the war and most of them only appear once or twice in the scenario list. A quick peruse the scenarios shows, for example, that the 1st Continental Dragoons appears at Cowpens (4 figures) and Eutaw Springs (2) the 4th appear at Whitemarsh (4) Armand's Legion appear at Camden (6) and Indian Field (8) and at Gloucester you have Dabney's Virginia Legion (10). So you could have half a dozen or so dragoons and just use those figures as generic American cavalry for everything. Or you can try to model some of these particular regiments and that's what I'm intending to do.
I painted a unit of South Carolina cavalry 3 years ago but this is another one, inspired by the picture in the Osprey MAA "General Washington's Army (2)" of a cavalryman from "Giles' troop" of the South Carolina militia light horse. The text refers to light blue coats with yellow facings and states that other troops had black, blue, red and green facings. The Osprey makes a distinction between "militia light horse", which includes Giles' troop, and "light dragoons", which includes the units that I painted up earlier, such as Horry's Regiment. I assume this distinction means that the units listed as "militia" were raised for limited periods while the "dragoons" were full-time state troops. Whether the Osprey has the correct units under the right heading is debateable, as there are references to a Captain James Giles who served in South Carolina's 1st Regiment of State Dragoons before joining Hill's (5th) Regiment of Light Dragoons, and then to Captain Thomas Giles who served in Horry's Regiment and then the 3rd Regiment of State Dragoons (the Giles family appear to have been prominent landowners in the north-east of the state). So I think it's possible that the separate units that Osprey list and divide into "militia" and "dragoons" may in some cases be the same, or at least operated together under a common commander, whose name was then given to the "regiment" that he commanded. The Osprey also distinguises between the "light blue" coats of the "militia" and the darker blue of the "dragoons" such as Horry's Regiment. But the essay on South Carolina's backcountry cavalry in Jim Piecuch's Cavalry of the American Revolution quotes an earlier historian as saying that the coat of Horry's Regiment had "a light blue appearance". But there were two regiments called "Horry", one raised in 1779 by Colonel Daniel Horry and another raised in 1781 by Colonel Peter Horry. The "light blue" description refers to the latter regiment, which is stated in Piecuch as being "militia" but which is listed as a "dragoon" regiment in the Osprey.
So who knows? I may have painted the same unit twice over or one (or both) of my versions of South Carolina's state dragoons may be completely wrong or they may both reflect completely different units. But anyway, following the Osprey we have: Giles' troop (yellow facings), Kolb's troop (green) and McDonald's (red). I mixed up the head gear a bit to provide a militia-style/irregular look.
Did the Brits Burn Churches?
In the new Mel Gibson film The Patriot, British soldiers are shown committing various atrocities against colonials during the American Revolution, such as locking civilians in a church and setting it on fire. Did the British actually violate the rules of war as the film alleges?
Many histories of the war document instances in which British and American soldiers shot prisoners of war or, more commonly, enemy soldiers trying to surrender. (This was considered a violation of the rules of war at the time and remains so today.)
Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton–the model for The Patriot’s main villain–reportedly killed more than a hundred colonial prisoners in South Carolina and was dubbed “Bloody Ban.” The term “Tarleton’s quarter” signified no quarter at all.
The journal of Thomas McCarty, a sergeant in the 8th Virginia Regiment, reports that British regulars shot civilians (at least two of them women) who were tending to wounded colonials after a nighttime engagement near New Brunswick on Feb. 1, 1777. After a skirmish in Newtown, N.Y., in 1779, two lieutenant colonels under Gen. John Sullivan were captured by the British. A fellow prisoner, John Salmon, recounted in his diary that when the two officers refused to give up the location of Sullivan’s army, they “were put to death with terrible torture.”
But historians generally agree that the rebels probably violated the rules of war more often than the British. Francis Marion, who led a band of militiamen in South Carolina (and whom Gibson’s character most closely resembles), ordered his men to fire upon a group of British regulars and American Tories who had surrendered. A witness described it thus: “Numerous Tories died with their hands in the air.”
In 1778, Georgia militiamen captured, stripped, and killed British Lt. John Kemp along with nine of his men for refusing to renounce the king. And the term “lynching” comes from Col. Charles Lynch of Virginia, who became famous for extra-legal executions of Tory sympathizers.
The church-burning scene in The Patriot is actually based on an incident from World War II, when Nazi soldiers burned a group of French villagers alive. There is no evidence that a similar event took place during the American Revolution.
Explainer thanks history professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and lecturer Elisabeth B. Nichols, both of Harvard University.
British Colonel Tarleton gives “quarter” in South Carolina - HISTORY
Battle of Waxhaws (From Harper's Weekly)
On May 6, 1780 at Lenud's Ferry, Col. Abraham Buford and 350 Virginia Continentals watched helplessly from the far bank of the Santee River when Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton dispersed a force of Continentals including Lt. Col. William Washington, part of Pulaski's Legion, and one company of NC Continentals under Brigadier General Isaac Huger, plus a handful of North Carolina Militia units. They had been on their way to Charlestown as reinforcements.
On May 12, however, the Siege of Charlestown ended when Major General Benjamin Lincoln surrendered to General Sir Henry Clinton. When word of the surrender reached Col. Abraham Buford, he held his position and awaited new orders. Brigadier General Isaac Huger, who had been surprised by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton at the Battle of Moncks Corner on April 14th, ordered Virginian Col. Abraham Buford to retreat to Hillsborough, North Carolina.
On May 18, 1780, Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis, commanding 2,500 men, marched out of Charlestown with orders from General Clinton to subdue the backcountry and establish outposts. He made his way to Lenud's Ferry and crossed the Santee River and headed for Camden. Along the way, Lord Cornwallis learned that South Carolina Governor John Rutledge had used the same route under the escort of Col. Abraham Buford. Governor Rutledge had managed to flee Charlestown during the early stages of the siege.
However, Col. Abraham Buford was ten days ahead, so Lord Cornwallis's only chance to catch Governor Rutledge was to send out the ever-mobile Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton of the British Legion.
On May 27th, Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton set out from Nelson's Ferry with 270 men in pursuit of South Carolina Governor John Rutledge, who was said to be traveling with Col. Abraham Buford. Tarleton's command included forty British regulars of the 17th Dragoons, 130 of his British Legion Cavalry, 100 of his British Legion Infantry, mounted on this occasion, and one three-pound artillery piece.
Since Col. Abraham Buford had such a large lead on them, Lord Cornwallis had given Lt. Col. Tarleton discretion to continue the pursuit, turn back, or attack Col. Buford if he caught up with him. Lt. Col. Tarleton was at Camden the next day. At 2:00 a.m. on May 29th, he set out again and reached Rugeley's Mill by mid-morning. There, he learned that Governor Rutledge had been there the night before and Col. Buford was now only twenty miles ahead.
Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton sent a messenger ahead requesting that Col. Abraham Buford surrender. In the message, Tarleton exaggerated his forces in hopes of scaring Col. Buford into surrender, or at least delaying him. After delaying the messenger, while his infantry reached a favorable position, Col. Buford declined in a one sentence reply: "Sir, I reject your proposals, and shall defend myself to the last extremity."
Around three o'clock in the afternoon on May 29, 1780, Lt. Col. Tarleton caught up with Col. Buford in the Waxhaws district near the border of North and South Carolina. Lt. Col. Tarleton's advance guard slashed through Col. Buford's rear guard. Col. Buford now formed his men up in a single line. Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Tarleton did not wait for his stragglers to catch up, but continued to press the attack.
Lt. Col. Tarleton assigned fifty cavalry and fifty infantry to harass Col. Buford's left flank. Another forty cavalry were to charge at the center of Col. Buford's line, while Tarleton would take another thirty cavalry to Col. Buford's right flank and reserves. He formed up his troops on a low hill opposite the American line. At 300 yards, his cavalry began their charge.
When Lt. Col.Tarleton's cavalry was fifty yards from Col. Buford's line, the Patriots presented their muskets, but they were ordered to hold their fire until the enemy was closer. Finally, at ten yards, Col. Buford's men opened up, but that was too close for cavalry. Lt. Col. Tarleton's horse was killed under him, but the Patriot line was broken and in some cases, ridden down. The rout began and controversy soon followed.
The details of what happened following the battle are still under controversy. Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton later claimed that his horse was shot out from under him and he was pinned. His men, thinking that their commander had been shot and killed under a flag of truce, angrily attacked again. They slashed at anyone and everyone, including men who were kneeling with their hands up in surrender.
Patriots claimed that Lt. Col. Tarleton himself ordered the renewed attack because he didn't want to bother with taking prisoners. Based on his aggressive style and zeal for brutal charges in other engagements, the Patriot claims are usually given more credence. Although the first complete statement claiming a massacre did not appear until 1821 in a letter from Dr. Robert Brownfield to William Dobein James.
Either way, the slaughter lasted a little more than fifteen minutes. The result was 113 Continentals killed and 203 captured with 150 of those wounded. Col. Abraham Buford himself managed to escape. There were only five killed and twelve wounded on the enemy's side. The controversy continues to this day, but it took only this one event for Lt. Col.Tarleton to be branded with the reputation for which he is remembered even to this day.
Lt. Col. Tarleton became known as 'Bloody Ban' or 'Ban the Butcher.' For the remainder of the war in the South, 'Tarleton's Quarter' meant no quarter and Buford's Massacre became a rallying cry for Patriots. It was on the lips of the Patriots at the Battle of Kings Mountain in October 1780 during their defeat of Major Patrick Ferguson. There was no indication that Lt. Col. Tarleton minded the nickname. Meanwhile, Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis occasionally reminded Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton to look after the behavior of his men. In performing this research in 2007 to 2009, this Author found multiple obscure references that there were several small groups of South Carolina Militia in the area when the exchange between Col. Abraham Buford and Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton began. Although all the combined records indicate that about 180 SC militiamen were in the general area of Waxhaws on this date, most simply ran or rode away, but a few turned and at least fired upon the enemy once before exiting the area.
It is a known fact that Col. James Williams of the Little River District Regiment was riding towards Hillsborough (Orange County, his original home with plenty of family still there ), NC around this timeframe. He was going home to discuss with NC officials for him to recruit men from Orange and Caswell counties to go back into South Carolina and fight with him. His family had originated in Orange County, North Carolina.
Several pensioners of the 1830s mention that they were with the captains shown below and linked up with Col. James Williams just before the infamous battle at Waxhaws, and that they actually participated in the firefight. A few pensioners could not name their own captain, but asserted they were in the action. A few also mentioned Col. Williams but did not know his first name since he was not their usual commanding officer.
However, other researchers have not found these references and do not agree that Col. James Williams was truly in this engagement. Since it is quite difficult to "prove a negative" - that is - that Col. James Williams was NOT at this engagement, then this Author leaves it to the reader to decide. Since I have "no horse in this race," it really doesn't matter to me if he was involved or not. But. since I found the "scant evidence" once before - but cannot put my hands on it again - six years later - I will just leave it as shown below, with the note included. I now leave it up to the reader on this one.
Known Patriot Participants
Known British/Loyalist Participants
Col. Abraham Buford - Commanding Officer
Scott's VA Brigade, VA 3rd Detachment led by Col. Abraham Buford with Major Thomas Ridley and the following six (6) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Andrew Wallace
- Capt. Claiborne W. Lawson
- Capt. Robert Woodson
- Capt. John Stokes
- Capt. Adam Wallace
- Capt.-Lt. Thomas Catlett
Sgt. "Unknown" of the 3rd Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons
SC Militia led by Col. James Williams* (Little River District Regiment) with 180 men in the following two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Weathers - Little River District Reg.
- Capt. John Roebuck - 1st Spartan Regiment
Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton - Commanding Officer
British Legion Infantry led by Major Charles Cochrane with 100 men, including Lt. Lachlan McDonald and Lt. Peter Campbell
British Legion Cavalry with 130 men, including Capt. David Kinlock and Capt. Charles Campbell
17th Regiment of Light Dragoons detachment led by Capt. William Henry Talbot, with Lt. Matthew Patteshall and 40 men
Georgia Light Dragoons with one company led by,
-Capt. Archibald Campbell
American Heroes: Francis Marion, South Carolina’s “Swamp Fox”
MOST AMERICANS ENVISION Colonel Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox,” as a tall, strong, handsome, and swashbuckling cavalryman, fearlessly leading South Carolinians to victory in the American Revolution. Certainly after the film, “The Patriot,” many Americans will associate the Swamp Fox with Mel Gibson’s brave and tragic character. Actually Marion did not look or act like a hero at all. He was short (although Mel Gibson isn’t that tall, either!), frail, and walked with a limp (he broke his ankle jumping out the window of a party he left early). Colonel Marion was an uneducated bachelor who was described as eccentric and unable to get along with his fellow military officers. He was not bold in his military tactics, but rather very cautious and prudent. Yet Marion was undoubtedly a courageous and deadly soldier, whose guerilla warfare techniques severely crippled British campaigns in the South, and helped to ensure American victory in the War for Independence.
Marion first learned his “Indian style” of warfare while fighting the Cherokees in the Southern theater of the French and Indian War (1756-1763). With American Independence in 1776, Marion was commissioned a major in the South Carolina militia. He helped to repulse the British bombardment of Charleston in 1776, commanding a battery of cannon that crippled the British fleet and sent it running off the next morning “like earless dogs.” But the American triumph was short-lived. The Redcoats returned under Lord Cornwallis and captured Charleston and 5,000 Americans (under Benjamin Lincoln) in 1780. A short time later, another American army under General Gates was shattered at Camden. Without an army or a base of operations, Colonel Marion collected a ragged band of followers and slipped into hiding in the swampy lowlands of British-occupied South Carolina.
During the next 2 ½ years Marion engaged in the devastating guerilla warfare that earned him the title of “Swamp Fox.” Although virtually in a sea of enemies, Marion and militia leaders Thomas Sumter and Andrew Pickens kept resistance alive in South Carolina until the Continental Army could recapture the region. Since over half of the South Carolina backcountry was Loyalist, or Tory, Marion engaged as much in civil war he did war against the British. The Swamp Fox and his mounted raiders hid and camped in the woods and swamps of the backcountry, foraging for food and supplies, and when the opportunity arose, striking at the British and Tory forces with ferocity.
Their chief weapon was surprise, and the ambush was their specialty. They attacked swiftly, and then vanished into the swamps before reinforcements could arrive. British officers soon became obsessed with capturing the Swamp Fox and his men. “Our army will be destroyed by these damned driblets,” one British general raged. Marion actively gathered intelligence and disrupted the redcoats’ supply and communication lines. Yet the British seemed powerless to stop him. As his name and reputation spread, scores of volunteers rode into the lowlands to join his band. The once-strong Loyalist militia refused to fight him and, as Colonel Marion observed, “the Torreys are so affrighted with my little Excursions that many is moving off to Georgia with their Effects other are rund into Swamps.”
Ironically, the Swamp Fox and the other South Carolina guerillas eventually worked themselves out of a job. The Continental Army returned and Colonel Francis Marion, much to his dismay, found himself back in the regular army. Marion despised the rules and politics of professional soldiering and found himself constantly at odds with his commanding officers. When the British surrendered in Charleston (1783), he returned to civilian life, though retaining the commission of Brigadier General in the South Carolina militia.
Nevertheless, Francis Marion can share some of the credit for American independence. Due to Marion’s and others’ guerilla bands, the British could never secure South Carolina permanently their entire Southern offensive was stymied. Indeed, factoring in the North Carolina militia’s subsequent victory at King’s Mountain (1780), historians have rightly credited the Southern militia with expediting the American victory in the Revolutionary War. It was setbacks in Carolina, after all, that propelled Lord Cornwallis to his rash decision to leave the Carolinas and attack Virginia instead—a decision that landed him and 8000 troops on the Yorktown Peninsula in 1781.
The “Swamp Fox’s” last years were spent rebuilding his war-torn plantation and serving in the South Carolina state senate. Marion finally married at age 56, and led the life of a country gentleman. When Francis Marion died in 1795, the “little Colonel with a limp” had the respect and admiration of the nation whose independence he had fought to secure.
Source: Marion Marsh Brown, The Swamp Fox (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1950) Robert D. Bass, Swamp Fox: The Life and Campaigns of General Francis Marion (New York: Holt, 1959).
A Controversial Finish
With the British dragoons hacking with their sabers, the Americans began to surrender while others fled the field. What happened next is a subject of controversy. One Patriot witness, Dr. Robert Brownfield, claimed that Buford waved a white flag to surrender. As he called for quarter, Tarleton's horse was shot, throwing the British commander the ground. Believing their commander to have been attacked under a flag of truce, the Loyalists renewed their attack, slaughtering the remaining Americans, including wounded. Brownfield insinuates that this continuation of hostilities was encouraged by Tarleton (Brownfield Letter).
Other Patriot sources claim that Tarleton ordered the renewed attack as he did not wish to be encumbered with prisoners. Regardless, the butchery continued with American troops, including wounded, being struck down. In his report after the battle, Tarleton stated that his men, believing him struck down, continued the fight with "a vindictive asperity not easily restrained." After approximately fifteen minutes of fighting the battle concluded. Only around 100 Americans, including Buford, succeeded in escaping the field.
Waxhaws: Blood in the Backcountry | The Southern Campaign
On May 29, 1780, Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion caught up with Colonel Abraham Buford’s army at a place called “The Waxhaws” in the Catawba River valley, located four miles south of the North Carolina border. Over in fifteen minutes and with 113 Americans dead on the field, this massacre became the first major battle of the Southern Campaign.
The Battle of Waxhaws was a turning point in the American Revolutionary War, but not for reasons the British might have hoped. Their intent was to make the backcountry colonists feel the “heel of the boot.” But instead of disheartening the opposition, “Buford’s Massacre” rallied patriot support. Many patriots who had previously surrendered rejoined the fight, determined to repay the harshness of “Tarleton’s quarter” with a vengeance of their own.
View classroom media resources on SCETV's Knowitall.org and download lesson plans from SCETV’s LearningWhy.org.
Funding and support for the production is provided by The National Park Service, The Self Family Foundation, The George Washington Endowment Fund of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, The South Carolina State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and a contribution from Dr. Charles B. Hanna.