When General Henry Clinton arrived at Cape Fear, North Carolina, in May, he found conditions there unsuitable for a strong post. The battle, although tactically a draw, so weakened the British that they withdrew to Charleston, where Greene penned them in for the remaining months of the war. This consists of the official rolls of loyalists during the American Revolution who were recruited from North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The Revolutionary War in SC: 10 Best Sites. [6] By August 1775, both sides were recruiting militia companies. As a group, they had great influence on the British ministers in London. General Clinton turned over British operations in the South to Lord Cornwallis. This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Note: Bicheno strongly emphasizes that Cornwallis' absence from the South made the American reconquest merely a matter of time. A thorough library search was conducted for secondary source material (published books and journal articles) along with archival guides and finding aids to manuscript material that pertained to the British and Loyalist experience in the Revolutionary War South. [18], On April 19, 1778, three row galleys of the Georgia Navy engaged, defeated, and captured a Royal Navy brigantine, an armed British East Florida provincial sloop, and an armed brig. Ritcheson, C.; "Loyalist Influence on British Policy Toward the United States After the American Revolution"; Rodgers, T.; "Siege of Savannah During the American Revolutionary War"; Franklin B. Wickwire and Mary B. Wickwire. He moved toward Campbellton on 1 October and combined forces with Gen. John Butler, which gave the little army a total of 1,050 infantry and 350 cavalry. Loyalist opposition in the backcountry was dominated by Thomas Fletchall, a vocal and active opponent of attempts to resist King and Parliament. [4], Dunmore issued an emancipation proclamation in November 1775, promising freedom to runaway slaves who fought for the British. Historians have debated accounts spread after the battle that Tarleton's forces had massacred many Patriots after they had surrendered. [12] Clinton and Parker argued after the engagement, each blaming the other for the failure of the assault. [7] In September, a Patriot militia seized Fort Johnson, Charleston's major defense works, and Governor William Campbell fled to a Royal Navy ship in the harbor.[8]. The Patriot militia, led by Patrick Henry, forced Dunmore to pay for the gunpowder. The Continental Congress dispatched General Horatio Gates, the victor of Saratoga, to the South with a new army, but Gates promptly suffered one of the worst defeats in U.S. military history at the Battle of Camden (August 16, 1780). Several American victories, such as the Battle of Ramseur's Mill, the Battle of Cowpens, and the Battle of Kings Mountain, also served to weaken the overall British military strength. [40] Greene eventually felt strong enough to face Cornwallis directly—near New Garden, North Carolina (modern day Greensboro, North Carolina). [27], Clinton moved against Charleston in 1780, blockading the harbor in March and building up about 10,000 troops in the area. When a Loyalist militia surrendered at the end of the Battle of Kings Mountain, many of them were killed when Patriot marksmen continued to fire while shouting "Tarleton's Quarters!". Dunmore continued to hunt for caches of military equipment and supplies in the following months, acts that were sometimes anticipated by Patriot militia, who would move supplies before his arrival. Murtie June Clark. Greene summed up his approach in a motto that would become famous: "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Lincoln moved his remaining troops to Charleston to assist in the construction of its defenses. [23], In October 1779, French and Continental Army forces tried to retake Savannah. The first attempt was organized by Charles Lee after he took command of the Southern Department, but sputtered out when he was recalled to the main army. [42] This theory was supported by Lord George Germain in a series of letters that left Clinton out of the decision-making process for the Southern Army, despite his nominally being its overall commander. At the age of about 14, he immigrated to the colonies landing in North Carolina and took up residence in Wake Co. Ohio. SOURCES FOR THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION SOURCES FOR THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AT THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY Compiled by Charles H. Lesser The fall of Charleston to the British on May , , was the worst defeat of the entire American Revolution. About 2,000 British troops died in these engagements. During the first three years of the conflict, 1775–1778, the largest military encounters between Continental Army and the British Army had been in the New England and Middle colonies, around the cities of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Georgia Patriots and Loyalists alike believed the fleet had arrived to provide military support to the governor; it had been sent from the besieged British forces in Boston, Massachusetts to acquire rice and other provisions. Cornwallis' attempts to raise Loyalists in large numbers in North Carolina were effectively crushed when Patriot militia defeated a larger force of Loyalists in the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. The British operated under the expectation that they would find substantial support for their actions, if only they liberated the right areas. Under the leadership of General Lincoln, and with the assistance of a French naval squadron commanded by Comte d'Estaing, it was a spectacular failure. It was only after Nathanael Greene slipped past Cornwallis after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781 that the British finally lost this advantage in the South. | Oct 10, 2018 4.0 out of 5 … [35], After Charleston, organized American military activity in the South virtually collapsed. I believe this is incorrect. It was essentially the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. As after Kings Mountain, Cornwallis was later criticized for detaching part of his army without adequate support. This force was repulsed by the British on June 20, 1779, in the Battle of Stono Ferry. [32] With relatively few casualties, Clinton had seized the South's biggest city and seaport, winning perhaps the greatest British victory of the war. From May 22 to June 19, 1781 Greene led the Siege of Ninety-Six, which he was only forced to abandon when word arrived that Rawdon was bringing troops to relieve the siege. The Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War was the central theater of military operations in the second half of the American Revolutionary War, 1778–1781. Gwinnett and his militia commander, Lachlan McIntosh, could not agree on anything. Spain captured all of British West Florida, culminating in the Siege of Pensacola in 1781. Ordering a muster in the Salisbury District on 15 September, Rutherford had an army of 1,100 men within two weeks. [34] Tarleton later published an account of the war that glossed over accusations of misconduct towards American militia, and portrayed him in an unabashedly positive light. Revolutionary War Pensioners Living in the State of Ohio in 1818-1819; ... Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements a partial collection of pension applications for participants in the Southern Campaign or … Resting at Brown Marsh prior to their final drive on Wilmington, the army was addressed by Governor Alexander Martin. To this end, the British organized an expedition to establish a strong post somewhere in the southern colonies, and sent military leaders to recruit Loyalists in North Carolina. When Davidson was killed in the river, the Americans retreated. This article states that a cavalry skirmish was fought on 15 October at Rockfish Creek. Because this piece comes from a book published by UNC Press, we can't make any changes directly to the article should it need to be corrected. Smith's blocking force encountered outposts and cleared them with skirmishing at Moore's Plantation and later fought at Seven Creeks with South Carolina Loyalists. When the American Revolutionary War began in Massachusetts in April 1775, the free population of the Province of South Carolina was divided in its reaction. Whether or not the battle was the massacre that it was claimed, its ramifications were felt throughout the campaign. Clinton, paralyzed by the defeat, made no further action and was replaced by Guy Carleton in 1782. While Saratoga had started the decline of British fortunes in the Revolution, Yorktown was its death knell. British-built Fort Fair Lawn was strategically placed at the head of the Cooper River and the intersection of an important coastal road and the Congaree Road. (National Archives Identifier 300222) View in National Archives Catalog Revolutionary War pension files can be a gold mine of information for genealogists The Southern Campaign was critical in determining the outcome of the American Revolutionary War, yet the South’s importance has been downplayed in most historical accounts to date. The seizure by Loyalists of a shipment of gunpowder and ammunition intended for the Cherokee caused an escalation in tensions that led to the First Siege of Ninety Six in western South Carolina late November. This page was last edited on 6 November 2020, at 06:07. The culminating engagement, the Siege of Yorktown, ended with the surrender of British General Lord Cornwallis on October 19, 1781. [10] Instead of re-embarking on his boats, he relied on the expedition's naval forces to reduce the fort, which became known after the war as Fort Moultrie. Charleston's Maritime Heritage, 1670-1865: An Illustrated History. [50] Having marched without informing Clinton of his movements (communications between the two British commanders was by sea and extremely slow, sometimes up to three weeks), Cornwallis sent word of his northward march and set about destroying American supplies in the Chesapeake region. Major Craig's correspondence with his superior officers at Charleston shows that he viewed Rutherford's force as more nuisance than threat. After an incident at Kemp's Landing in November where Dunmore's troops killed and captured Patriot militiamen, Patriot forces defeated Loyalist troops (which included runaway slaves Dunmore had formed into his Ethiopian Regiment) at the Battle of Great Bridge on December 9. The combined French-American forces suffered some 901 casualties, to the British 54. In the meantime, Campbell had taken control of Augusta without much resistance, and Loyalists were beginning to turn out. The expedition's departure from Europe was significantly delayed, and the Loyalist force that was recruited to meet it was decisively defeated in the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in late February 1776. [2][3] Shortly afterward, negotiations between the United States and Great Britain began, resulting in the Treaty of Paris of 1783. The Charleston Tea Party happened days before the more famous one in Boston, and though less well remembered, it foreshadowed the pivotal role South Carolina would play in the war's southern theater. The lowland communities, dominated by Charleston, sided strongly with the Patriots, while the back country held a large number of Loyalist sympathizers. Well over 400 land engagements (battles and skirmishes) took place in South Carolina during the war for independence. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Scouting by the Royal Navy identified Charleston, whose defenses were unfinished and seemed vulnerable, as a more suitable location. John Hairr, Colonel David Fanning: The Adventures of a Carolina Loyalist (1998). In the Gunpowder Incident of April 20, 1775, Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, removed gunpowder stored in Williamsburg to a British warship in the James River. Prevost assumed command of the forces in Georgia; and dispatched Campbell with 1,000 men toward Augusta with the goals of gaining control of that town and the recruitment of Loyalists.[20]. This garrison actively supported the activities of Loyalists who fled there from Georgia and other southern states, and were responsible for raiding cattle and other supplies in southern Georgia. Syrett, D: "The British Armed Forces in the American Revolutionary War: Publications, 1875-1998". In August 1781 the return of capable militia under Gen. Griffith Rutherford, who had been exchanged after nearly a year as a British prisoner, gave the state a commander who could mount a campaign against Wilmington. When the Royal Navy fleet, under Admiral Thomas Graves, was defeated by the French at the Battle of the Chesapeake, and a French siege train arrived from Newport, Rhode Island, his position became untenable. Cornwallis reported this disaster to Clinton in a letter that opened: I have the mortification to inform Your Excellency that I have been forced to give up the posts of York and Gloucester and to surrender the troops under my command by capitulation, on the 19th instant, as prisoners of war to the combined forces of America. Summer 2015, Vol. He marched most of the army from Charleston, South Carolina in a move intended to monitor and oppose Prevost. Elizabeth Lichtenstein wrote a rare memoir of her experiences in Revolutionary War Georgia. In 1778, the British again turned their attention to the South, where they hoped to regain control by recruiting thousands of Loyalists. Revolutionary War sites in North Carolina: Africans-Americans in the American Revolution (pbs.org) Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements & Rosters: The War of Independence (History) 2nd North Carolina Regiment [33], The remnants of the southern Continental Army began to withdraw toward North Carolina, but were pursued by Colonel Tarleton, who defeated them at the Battle of Waxhaws on May 29. 02/01/1777 – Battles – Skirmish at Drake’s Farm Near Metuchen, New Jersey (New Jersey Campaign) (Forage War) 02/01/1781 – Battles – Battle of Cowen’s Ford in North Carolina 02/03/1779 – Battles – Battle of Beaufort (Port Royal Island), South Carolina 47, No. After Charleston, organized American military activity in the South virtually collapsed. 929.373 CLA NCC (3 vol.). Patriots in Georgia attempted several times to defeat the British garrison that was based at Saint Augustine in British East Florida. In complying with this order, Cornwallis put himself at risk to become trapped. For personal use and not for further distribution. [41], While Cornwallis was unable to completely destroy Greene, he recognized that most of the supplies that the American forces were relying on were coming from Virginia, a state that up to this point in the war had been relatively untouched. Against the wishes of Clinton, Cornwallis resolved to invade Virginia in the hopes that cutting the supply lines to the Carolinas would make American resistance there impossible. More than 2,000 Continentals and state militia were raised for the effort, but it also failed due to issues of command between Howe and Georgia governor John Houstoun. The institute is the only center exclusively dedicated to the study of the Revolution in the Southern states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. [25] In this assault, Count Kazimierz Pułaski, the Polish commander of American cavalry, was fatally wounded. He stripped his army of all excess baggage in an effort to keep up with the fast-moving Patriots. In the wake of the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Va., on 19 Oct. 1781, the British high command had decided to abandon Wilmington. Loyalists fled, either to East Florida or to the Cherokee lands. Early in February, 1779, Prevost sent a few hundred men to occupy Beaufort in a move probably intended to divert Lincoln's attention from Campbell's movements; Lincoln responded by sending General Moultrie and 300 men to drive them out. This demonstrated to everyone in the area the limits of the British Army's ability to protect Loyalists. Old Santee Canal Park. The port became a haven for Cornwallis's battered army after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, but the support that Craig made available to Loyalist commanders in the interior, most notably Col. David Fanning, threatened Whig control of the state in the internecine conflict sometimes called the "Tory War.". [26] With Savannah secured, Clinton could launch a new assault on Charleston, South Carolina, where he had failed in 1776. Increased French aid to the Continentals was very slow in coming; coordinated military activity between the two new allies was even slower to happen. Gates was replaced by Washington's most dependable subordinate, General Nathanael Greene. Revolutionary War Gravesites of Soldiers, Patriots and Ancestors Buried in North Carolina. [24] The French Navy found Savannah's fortifications similar to those that had defied Admiral Peter Parker at Charleston in 1776. George W. Kyte, "Strategic Blunder: Lord Cornwallis Abandons the Carolinas, 1781.". [30] Clinton began constructing siege lines. Patriot forces in the town completed the destruction of the former Loyalist stronghold. "[17] For the most part, this assumption was incorrect, as Cornwallis soon realized as the campaign progressed. 1 January 2006 | Butler, Lindley S.; Hairr, John, Hi Gregory De Van Massey, "The British Expedition to Wilmington, January-November, 1781," NCHR 64 (October 1989). Complete guidelines are available at https://ncpedia.org/about. Campbell suddenly left Augusta, apparently in response to the arrival of John Ashe and more than 1,000 North Carolina militia Lincoln sent to add to the 1,000 militia that were already across the river from Augusta in South Carolina. [9] Patriot recruiting was by then outstripping that of the Loyalists, and a major campaign (called the Snow Campaign due to unusually heavy snowfall) involving as many as 5,000 Patriots led by Colonel Richard Richardson succeeded in capturing or driving away most of the Loyalist leadership. It was during this period that Cornwallis received orders from Clinton to choose a position on the Virginia Peninsula—referred to in contemporary letters as the "Williamsburg Neck"—and construct a fortified naval post to shelter ships of the line. Revolutionary War: Southern Phase, 1778-1781 The Continental victory at Saratoga in 1777 and the Treaty with the French in 1778 transformed the war, especially for the British. Moultrie fell back toward Charleston rather than engaging, and Prevost was within 10 miles (16 km) on May 10 before he began to see resistance. [12] It is debated that the South was lost by this failure to take Charleston in 1776, as it left the Loyalists unsupported for three years, while allowing the port of Charleston to serve the American cause until 1780.[13]. [1] Before 1778, these colonies were largely dominated by Patriot-controlled governments and militias, although there was also a Continental Army presence that played a role in the 1776 defense of Charleston, the suppression of loyalist militias, and attempts to drive the British from strongly loyalist East Florida. The states carried on their governmental functions, and the war was carried on by partisans such as Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter, William R. Davie, Andrew Pickens, and Elijah Clarke. When Lincoln got back to Charleston he led about 1,200 men, mostly untried militia, after Prevost. Mike Millner, NC Government & Heritage Library. France initially offered only naval support for the first few years after its declaration of war but in 1781 sent massive numbers of soldiers to join General George Washington's army and marched into Virginia from New York. It encompassed engagements primarily in Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina. The Revolutionary War was the war for American Independence between 1775 and 1783. A faction of the Cherokee, known as the Chickamauga, rose up in support of the British and Loyalists in 1776. David was living in South Carolina at the time of his service. His advance on the city was uncontested; the American naval commander, Commodore Abraham Whipple, scuttled five of his eight frigates in the harbor to make a boom for its defense. Official Rolls of Loyalists Recruited from North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The Battle of Beaufort was largely indecisive, and both contingents eventually returned to their bases. [43] Without informing Clinton, Cornwallis marched north from Wilmington into Virginia to engage in raiding operations,[44] where he eventually met the army commanded by William Phillips and Benedict Arnold, which had engaged in raiding activities there. Although Cornwallis was the tactical victor in the Battle of Guilford Court House, the casualties his army suffered forced him to retreat to Wilmington, North Carolina, for resupply and reinforcements. On September 8, with 2,600 men, he engaged British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart at Eutaw Springs. Dunmore was driven from an island in Chesapeake Bay that summer, and never returned to Virginia.[5]. Lafayette skirmished with Cornwallis, avoiding a decisive battle while gathering reinforcements. Georgia's royal governor, James Wright, nominally remained in power until January 1776, when the unexpected arrival of British ships near Savannah prompted the local Committee of Safety to order his arrest. An army of up to 3,000 Patriot militia under Colonel Richard Richardson marched against Loyalist recruiting centers in South Carolina, flushing them out and frustrating attempts by the Loyalists to organize. The Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War was the central theater of military operations in the second half of the American Revolutionary War, 1778–1781. Phillips, a good friend of Cornwallis, died two days before Cornwallis reached his position at Petersburg. Thank you for communicating with us about the Wilmington Campaign article. [21], By April, Lincoln had been reinforced by large numbers of South Carolina militia and received additional military supplies through Dutch shipments to Charleston. They were finally defeated by militia forces from North and South Carolina. This was best exemplified by the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Delamar transcripts : transcriptions of petitions to the General Assembly of North Carolina relating to Revolutionary War, by the North Carolina Genealogical Society. The remnants of the defense of Savannah had retreated to Purrysburg, South Carolina, about 12 miles (19 km) upriver from Savannah, where they were met by Major General Benjamin Lincoln, commander of Continental Army forces in the South. His 2,200 men force was landed on Long Island (adjacent to Sullivan's Island on which the fort was positioned), and they found the channel dividing the two islands too deep to ford. The 13 colonies that wanted independence were represented by the Patriots and aided by France, Spain and Holland. 929.3 REV NCC. Tactics consisted of both strategic battles and guerrilla warfare. Although the general scope of the Institute is the entire Southern Campaign, it has a particular focus on the Revolutionary War in the Carolina backcountry. There was a cavalry skirmish at Raft Swamp on that date. As the force moved toward Wilmington, a cavalry skirmish on 15 October at Rockfish Creek scattered a Loyalist unit. Wilmington Campaign of 1781. The Revolutionary War Rolls were filmed by the National Archives in 1957. It initially achieved success with the capture of Savannah, Georgia, which was followed in 1780 by operations in South Carolina that included the defeat of Continental forces at Charleston and Camden. If Raft Swamp were substituted for Rockfish, then the sentence later in the paragraph about Rutherford sending the rest of his force to Raft Swamp two days later to flush out the Loyalists would make more sense. "[39] Cornwallis' lack of provisions as a consequence played a role in his later difficulties. When British colonel Banastre Tarleton cut off the city's supply lines in victories at Moncks Corner in April and Lenud's Ferry in early May,[29] Charleston was surrounded. Revolutionary War Soldiers of North and South Carolina. They consist of two rolls of microfilm, an index roll that includes all the colonies/ states and their military organizations during the Revolution, and a second roll of actual records, which only includes the information for South Carolina … The British destruction of about 10,000 hogsheads of tobacco (roughly 10 million pounds) in 1780 and 1781 became known as the Tobacco War. Leaving 1,000 men under the command of General Moultrie at Purrysburg to monitor Augustine Prevost, he began the march north on April 23, 1779. Some Georgia militia companies made it into East Florida, but they were checked in the May Battle of Thomas Creek. [16] In addition, there were strong business, trading and family ties among some Loyalists and the British in London. North Carolina, U.S., Revolutionary War Soldiers, 1776-1783 Obstructions of the Hudson River during the Revolution Old Westmoreland : a history of western Pennsylvania during the Revolution [19], On December 29, 1778, a British expeditionary corps of 3,500 men from New York, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell, captured Savannah, Georgia. Available from http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/regional_review/vol5-6g.htm (accessed May 11, 2012). With the arrival of the French fleet under the Comte de Grasse and General Washington's combined French-American army, Cornwallis found himself cut off. [14] A brief skirmish at Alligator Bridge in late June, combined with tropical diseases and command issues in the Patriot forces, left East Florida firmly in British hands for the war's duration. In the Battle of the Rice Boats in early March, the British successfully left Savannah with a number of merchant vessels containing the desired rice supplies. Rockfish Creek is in Duplin County, rather out of the way for Rutherford's force as it moves toward Wilmington from Hillsborough. General Nathanael Greene, who took over as Continental Army commander after Camden, engaged in a strategy of avoidance and attrition against the British. In most colonies British officials quickly departed as the Patriots took control. The rear guard, having succeeded in its objective, abandoned that post a few days later. The Snow Campaign was one of the first major military operations of the American Revolutionary War in the southern colonies.

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