The information in this article may be used for personal family research. It is Copyrighted by The Stockman Family Newsletter, and may not be used for any other purpose without written permission from the Publisher. Taken from Volume 8 No 1, March 1993
The Revolutionary War in South Carolina
The Stockman immigrants to the Dutch Fork area of Newberry County, South Carolina arrived fifteen years prior to the outbreak of hostilities between the Colonies and Great Britain. This article attempts to describe the situations in South Carolina that effected them and to describe their participation in these activities when that is known.
The American Revolution originated in the upper economic class minority and spread from there to all of the diverse factions that inhabited the thirteen Atlantic Seaboard colonies of Great Britain in North America. In South Carolina the costal plain, known as the tidewater, was inhabited by planters and merchants who were disgruntled because of the British Ministry's policy of sending persons from England to fill positions in the colonial government. The established planters and merchants felt that there were qualified persons in the Colony, namely individuals from their own ranks, who could effectively discharge the duties of the various positions and who knew the circumstances peculiar to the colony of South Carolina. The failure of the crown to appoint these persons to positions of authority in the colony exacerbated the ill feeling which were generated by Parliament when it imposed Taxes, restricted trade and proceeded to take punitive action against the colonies when they objected to these policies.
The back country, or Piedmont, of South Carolina, was inhabited by more recently arrived groups of Scotsmen, Germans, and Quakers who generally supported the crown. Many of the German immigrants felt especially loyal to King George III, as he was Elector of Hanover, a German state as well as being King of Great Britain. There was a frustrating lack of judicial representation available in the Piedmont. In order to petition for land or appear in court as a witness against an accused it was necessary for the back country inhabitants to travel to Charlestown or one of the other tidewater court sites. The tax structure of the Colony was such that the Back Country residents paid a disproportionate tax. Another wedge that had developed between the Tidewater and the Piedmont inhabitants was one of unequal representation.
South Carolina had been a Royal colony since 1719 and public affairs were administered by a Governor and an Assembly. The Governor was appointed by the Crown but the Commons House, as the Assembly was called, was elected by the residents of the Colony. It was not, however, truly representation of the Colony. A member of the Commons House was required to hold at least five hundred acres of land and ten slaves or to have property valued at one thousand pounds or more. Furthermore, only men with one hundred acres of land or more was eligible to vote in the triennial election for members of the Commons. The parishes in which members were elected began in the Tidelands and extended westward into the indian country on the far western side of the colony. The effect of this division of South Carolina was to assure that most of the representation to the Commons House were from the Tidewater and those living in the Piedmont were quite under represented. Having very little say in the governing of the Colony, the back country inhabitants generally blamed the Tide Lands for their problems, not the King of Great Britain or his appointed representatives.
As the troubles between the Crown and the Colonies worsened, William Henry Drayton, member of a aristocratic family in the Tide Lands came to the fore front in South Carolina. Word of the battle of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts Colony reached South Carolina on 8 May 1775 and the Whigs in South Carolina began making plans for the defence of Charlestown. A Provincial Congress to represent the interest of the Colony was convened and sent representatives to the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. The delegates for the Provincial Congress from the area between the Broad and Saluda rivers were Major John Caldwell, John Colcock, Rowland Rugely, Jonathan Downes, John Satterthwaithe, James Williams, John Williams, John M'Nees, Charles King, and George Ross. The Citizens of South Carolina were asked to subscribe to a Provisional Association by which they pledged themselves to the freedom and safety of their injured colony, "To continue in force until a reconciliation shall take place, between Great Britain and America." By June 8, 1775 the Provisional Association had been signed by almost every man in Charlestown.
There was very little sympathy of the back country inhabitants for the problems that had developed between the Crown and the Tidewater oligarchy that had done little to answer their grievances. Better judicial representation had been established, but they were still under represented in the Commons House and they still carried an unequal tax burden. The back country was as under represented in the first Provincial Congress as it had been in the Commons House.
Shortly before the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, Thomas Browne, a Scottish Irish Indian trader stirred to a feverish pitch the hostility of the Piedmont people of South Carolina to the Whigs. He was tarred and feathered but then released and was a implacable enemy of the Revolution. During the Summer of 1775 the spirit of disaffection with Charlestown in the back country spread, specially in the area between the Broad and Saluda Rivers. One of the most influential men in the area was Colonel Thomas Fletchall who's estate was located on the Broad River. Fletchall was Colonel of the militia had been selected by the Provincial Congress to carry out the Association in the area between the Broad and Saluda Rivers. His faith in the revolutionary cause, however, wavered and when he was asked to reaffirm his position on 14 July he replied that he had mustered his militia and had the Association read to them but that there was no favorable response . Not one man had signed it and Fletchall would not compel them to sign. Instead the people of the area had formed their own association, expressing determination not to take up arms against the King and promising to live in peace with their countrymen in spite of differences of opinion.
In his representations to the Provincial Congress, Fletchall, made it seem that the local population had made the determination, but it would appear that he had a great influence upon the inhabitants between the Broad and Saluda Rivers for the Royal Governor of South Carolina declared that the "association has been refused by many through the influence of Colonel Fletchall."
The revolutionary cause suffered another setback in the Piedmont when Captain Kirkland defected. Kirkland had been engaged in the first action of the Revolution in South Carolina when under Major James Mayson Fort Charlotte on the Savannah river had been raided and powder and shot taken for the revolutionary cause. Kirkland commanded a troop of rangers at the Ninety-six courthouse where the powder and shot were stored. He had been awarded a commission by the Provincial Congress, but unsatisfied that he was awarded a lower rank than Major Mayson, Kirkland aware of the lack of support for the Revolutionary cause in the Back Country decided in July that it was time to change sides and sent word to Colonel Fletchall that he would not object if the Colonel sent troops to recover the powder and shot.
The lack of support for the Revolutionary cause in the back country was of profound concern to the Provincial Congress and it was determined that a delegation be sent "to explain to the people the nature of the present unhappy public disputes between Great Britain and the American Colonies." The Commissioners were sent to persuade and discuss, not to fight.
The first local they visited was the Congaree Store in the German settlement of Saxe-Gotha which was near the confluence of the Broad and Saluda Rivers. Two ministers, one of them Lutheran, gathered their congregations and the Commissioners spoke to them but were not successful in obtaining their signatures to the Association, although the Germans did not seem to feel much loyalty for the Royal Government either.
The commissioners then separated, two going up the Broad River and two the Saluda. William Henry Drayton and his companion moved along the north side of the Saluda River until they arrived at McLaurin's Store, there they found two of the most influential men of the section, the merchant Evan McLaurin and John Summer. John Summer had subscribed to the association in Charlestown earlier in the year but subsequently had defected, and proceeded to McLaurin's Store and warned the people against the commissioners. Drayton addresses an assembly at the store but did not win a single subscriber.
Failure met the revolutionary party at every stop in the back country until they arrived in what is now Spartanburg County where the inhabitants were more receptive to their cause and a militia was organized which operated independently of Colonel Fletchall. Following this the Commissioners returned to Charlestown.
News arrived soon in Charlestown that Colonel Fletchall, joined by Browne and Cunningham were planning an attack on Fort Charlotte and Augusta. Drayton assumed command of some eleven hundred militia and prepared to resist the Loyalist forces. The two units were camped about ten miles apart on either side of the Saluda River. The loyalists outnumbered the militia but were not as well equipped.
Attempting to avoid a fight, Drayton assured his opponents that they would not be disturbed even if they did not sign the association, so long as they went home and remained peaceable. If the did not he would attack them as enemies of the Provincial Congress. Fletchall apprised his troops of the situation and obviously concerned that he could not carry the day began negotiations with Drayton.
Fletchall and four associates who claimed to be the representatives of the people living between the Broad and Saluda rivers and neighboring areas agreed to a treaty with the Provincial Congress. This agreement provided that: 1. those who had not subscribed to the association did so only because they wished to live in peace, not from unfriendly motives. 2. They would not aid British Troops in South Carolina. 3. Anyone who opposed the Provincial Congress would be, upon its request turned over to them for trial. 4. The Congress would punish any subscriber to the Association who molested those who had not signed. and 5. Those who observed the treaty would be secure in their property and persons, others who did not must face the consequences of their actions.
Differences of opinion continued in the Back Country. An insurrection in the Ninety Six District occurred in the fall of 1775. Loyalist and Indians, many of the former dressed as Indians had participated in the revolt against the Provincial Government. Thirteen of them were captured, four of the whites still wearing paint on their faces and all thirteen of them were sentenced to be hanged by the Supreme Court of the Provincial Government, then headed by Chief Justice, William Henry Drayton. Fortunately for the thirteen President Rutledge of the South Carolina Provincial Government pardoned them all.
South Carolina saw very little military action during the first three
years of the Revolutionary War, a period when the Continental and British
forces were engaged in the New England and Middle Colonies. Tories in their
midst provided most frequent problems for the South Carolina Provincial
Congress and members of the Association.
The East Florida Expedition
Christopher Stockman - "that he lived in the Dutch
Fork at Tanners Hill, then in Newberry County part of '96 District, when
he was called into service, that in the year 1778, he went into the service
of the United States, as a volunteer, in what is commonly called the Florida
expedition, under the command of Capt John A Summer, and General Williamson,
that he marched from the Dutch Fork and joined Gen'l Williamson near Augusta
on the Savannah River, that they marched from this place to Satilla River
in East Florida, that from this they returned, to the goal of Burke County,
at which place an engagement took place between Gen'l Williamson's command
and the British, in which the latter was repulsed, leaving sixteen dead
on the field and sixteen or seventeen wounded" - Christopher
Stockman's Revolutionary War Pension Application
Angel Stockman - A A 7402; 902x For a horse lost in public service under Gen'l Pickney. Amount £125, Sterling £17:17:1 half penny.
So. Carolina 96 District> Gentlemen please deliver my indintr to Petter Stogman and his respect shall be yours.
Engl X Stogman
- South Carolina Audited Accounts
In the summer of 1778 an expedition was undertaken from South Carolina against East Florida. East Florida, originally Spanish Territory had come into the possession of the British in 1763 at the end of the French and Indian Wars. East Florida did not participate in the American Revolution, but was used as a base for Royal military actions against Georgia and other southern colonies. The expedition's objectives were two fold, to protect Georgia from military incursions and as a diversion to keep the British forces unsure of the objectives of the Whigs.
General Robert Howe commanding about 2000 men, a few hundred of whom were continental soldiers and the remainder militia from the States of South Carolina and Georgia. General Howe had been in Georgia camped in the vicinity of Savannah since early in the year. By June plans to augment his forces by some 800 South Carolina Militia were well under way. Colonel Williamson commanded the South Carolina Troops and was impatiently awaited by General Howe who felt that rapid advance against the British was necessary. By the 5th of July the militia under Colonel Williamson had arrived and General Howe wrote to Governor Moultrie of South Carolina to apprise him of the situation. Colonel Williamson and his militia was located at the Satilla River having recently crossed the Altamaha.
The force proceeded further south to the St. Mary's River which is now the boundary between Florida and Georgia on the Atlantic Coast. They met little opposition. At St. Marys the British had erected Fort Tonyn, named for a Royal Governor of the Colony. The British, when they became aware of the approaching Whig Army destroyed the fort and retreated toward St Augustine in East Florida.
The Whig forces suffered from a lack of unified command and much bickering among the officers made the force less effective than it might have been. Colonel Charles C Pickney informed Governor Moultrie of this situation in a letter dated 10 Jul 1778. "After we have waited so long of the junction of the militia, we now find that we are to have as many independent commanders as corps. Governor Houston declaring that he would not be commanded; Col. Williamson hinting that his men would not be satisfied to be under continental command; or indeed any other commander but his own; and Commodore Bowlan insisting that in the naval department, he is supreme; with this divided, this heterogeneous command, what can be done?"
The climate and disease took a much greater toll on the Whig forces
than did the british and they retreated, having lost nearly one quarter
of their whole number. After withdrawing back into the highlands, General
Williamson, recently promoted, and Colonel Pickens entered the Indian country
on the frontier of South Carolina and destroyed the corn crops of eight
towns and insisted that the Indians move into a more remote location. This
action resulted from the fear that the Indians would support the Tories.
A year later the Cherokee did invade the area around Ninety Six and massacred
several families and burned their houses. General Pickens, recently promoted,
responded with a party of militia, penetrating the Indian country and destroyed
thirteen towns without suffering any fatalities himself.
Battle of Stono
Christopher Stockman - "That they joined Gen'l
Lincoln and on the 20th of June 1779 fought the battle of Stono. In this
action this applicant had seven bullet holes through his clothes, but none
of them touched his skin, his Ensign was killed and he, this applicant,
raised and brought up the standard of his company." - Christopher
Stockman's Revolutionary War Pension Application
Major General William Moultrie camped at Purrysville, an encampment
on the Georgia South Carolina border a few miles inland from the coast,
was attacked by British General Prevost. Moultrie had a contingent of 150
Georgia Continental Troops, militia under General Williamson, consisting
of some 700 men, and the militia of Colonel Hammond consisting of 300 men.
When the superior forces attacked he retreated toward Charlestown and General
Moultrie dispatched Captain Payne with three galleys to Stono Ferry to
destroy a bridge built of ships that the British erected across the Stono
River. Upon his arrival he found the vessels but no bridge. Stono Ferry
was located on one of the many water ways in the costal tide lands south
of Charlestown. In June 1779 the area was under British control and the
Continental forces under General Lincoln determined to removed them for
the area. General Lincoln brought his forces out of Georgia to assist in
the protection of Charlestown and assumed command of the forces attacking
the British at Stono Ferry while Major General Moultrie attacked from James'
Island with the galleys and in the night the British stole away. On 24
June 1779 General Lincoln wrote to Major General Moultrie that the enemy
had abandoned Stono Ferry and were retreating on John's Island. They continued
to retreat hopping from island to island until they were able to establish
themselves on Port-Royal where their fleet could support the ground forces.
Never the less British forces in South Carolina were augmented until the
capture of Charlestown was accomplished. General Lincoln was forced to
surrender. Quickly the British forces gained the ascendancy in the Tidewater
and Back Country.
British Occupy SC
"Henry Stockman - A A 7404; x2656 For militia duty in Water's Regiment after the fall of Charlestown.
So Carolina 96 District> Gentlemen please deliver my indintr to Petter Stogman and his respect shall be yours.
Henry x Stogman
John Stockman - A A 7405; x1248 For 20 days duty as a horseman in Capt Michael Leitner's Company, Col. Water's Regt from 25 Septr to 21 Octr 1779 alternately a 20 P per day
sterling £2:17:1 one half penny
So Carolina 96 District> Gentlemen please deliver my indintr to petter Stogman and his respect shall be yours.
John x Stogman
- South Carolina Audited Accounts
These were the darkest times for the Whigs in South Carolina. General Cornwallis issued orders ...."I have given orders that the inhabitants of the province who have subscribed, and have taken part in this revolt, should be punished with the greatest rigor, and also those who will not turn out, that they may be imprisoned , and their property taken from them , or destroyed. I have likewise ordered that compensation be made out of their estates, to the persons who have ben injured or oppressed by them. I have ordered in the most positive manner, that every militia man, who has borne arms with us and afterwards joined the enemy shall be immediately hanged. I desire you will take the most rigorous measure to punish the rebels in the district in which you command, and that you obey in the strictest manner the directions I have given in this letter, relative to the inhabitants of this country.
In his memoirs of the American Revolution Major General Moultrie tells us "These were horrid times for poor Carolina! The loss of property was now of no consideration whilst the blood of their citizens were streaming down from every poore. It was generally said, and believed, that in the District of Ninety-six alone, fourteen hundred unhappy widows and orphans, were left to bemoan the fate of their unfortunate fathers, brothers and husbands killed in the war."
Fear of their privileged Tory neighbors and of the brutal actions of the British Army only solidified and strengthened the Whig support in the Back Country. Among those who began to feel the heel of the British boot for the first time were the Mountaineers. These formed their own militia, trained and practiced when Colonel Patrick Ferguson's army approached. Alarm had spread that Ferguson's men plundered all the Whig inhabitants and every man took up his arms and provisions, saddled his horse and rode in pursuit of Ferguson's Army.
October 1780 the Over-Mountain men, as the Mountaineers had come to be called, in pursuit of Patrick Ferguson and his Loyalist troops camped at the Cowpens, butchered a few cattle to provide provision for their army and according to tradition forced Tory Hiram Sanders out of bed to question him about the location of the retreating British forces. Shortly afterward, the Revolutionary Forces, which has congregated from the mountains country to the west surrounded Ferguson at Kings Mountain. In the battle of 7 October 1780 one third of his men were killed or wounded and the remainder captured. The Whigs suffered few losses but among them was Colonel Williams of the Ninety-six District This battle was the first setback of General Cornwallis' plans to subdue the colonies from the south.Ferguson was killed in the battle and is buried in the National Park that now occupies the site of this battle.
Concern about the situation in the South caused the Continental Congress to authorize General Washington to appoint a commander for the Southern Department. Consequently, Major General Benjamin Green was appointed and immediately undertook his new duties. General Green arrived in Charlotte on 2 Dec 1780 and assumed command of an army consisting of 970 Continentals, 1013 militia, and a respectable cavalry troop.
General Green divided his army placing a portion of it under the command of General Daniel Morgan and taking the other part to Hicks Creek across from Cheraw Hill. By splitting his army he made supply easier and movement of troop more rapid. Thus the Whig forces were able to avoid confrontation with the British Army of Lord Cornwallis. At the same time he was able to cover the two extremes of the Country and gave encouragement to the militia in those parts to come and join his troops.
The British had established a post at Ninety six which they held for over one year. Many of those manning this post were Tories of notorious and infamous reputation calling them selves "Kings Men" who were able to gain the confidence of the British so that they were appointed officers of the militia. From the vantage of there newly gained authority they began to wreak revenge upon their neighbors and former friends. They robbed murdered and plundered the Whig communities and farms and no redress could be obtained from the British authorities. Those afflicted by these Tories soon became disaffected with the British cause and bearing arms joined the Whigs.
General Morgan's Army marched to the vicinity of Ninety-six. Along the way several militia units joined his forces and on 29 Dec General Morgan detached Colonel William Washington's Cavalry and a militia of 200 horse commanded by Lieutenant Colonel M'Call to disperse the tories. Colonel Washington engaged the tories near Hammond's Store and routed them. Many were killed and forty prisoners taken. The next day a detachment of infantry and cavalry attacked a small fort about seventeen miles from Ninety-six where plunder from the Whig inhabitants was stored. The Americans destroyed the fort and carried off all the provisions that could be moved. The rest was destroyed.
Lord Cornwallis dispatched General Tarelton to engage General Morgan
and drive him off. Word of the superior army reach General Morgan who began
a quick retreat.
Christopher Stockman - (It is generally felt by
South Carolina Scholars that the troops engaged in the battle of Guilford
Courthouse were most probably also in the battle of the Cowpens. editors
note) "following that he enlisted during the revolutionary war in
Captain Philip Waters at Congaree in South Carolina. Transferred to Gen'l
Green army and in Captain ?? was in the battle of Guilford Court House
where he received a bayonet wound through the calf of his right leg. That
he was placed under the care of the doctor at Guilford Court House from
whence he was carried to his fathers house in S.C. That he enlisted for
the war but in consequence of his dreadful wound He was unable to rejoin
until the capture of Cornwallis" - Christopher Stockman's
Revolutionary War Pension Application
"Peter Stockman A A 7406; X1249 For 25 days duty
done as horseman, from the 28th day of April 1781 to the 25th December
1781 in Capt'n Michael Leitners Company, Bill certified by John Lindey
... £25 £3:11:5" - South Carolina Audited Accounts
On the Morning of 16 Jan 1781 the British Legions of Colonel Banastre Tarleton and the Continental troops of General Daniel Morgan met in the Battle of the Cowpens. This point in South Carolina was so named because of cattle enclosures used for wintering of cattle on the plentiful forage . Some contend it was owned by a wealthy Tory, Hiram Saunders who lived near by.
General Daniel Morgan's army was still on the run, fleeing the dreaded BritishLegions of Colonel Tarleton. Morgan's army was outnumbered, and they were clearly outclassed by the professional soldiers of King George III. General Morgan's army consisted of 320 seasoned Continental Soldiers, a troop of light Dragoons and the rest militia from North and South Carolina, making up a total of 830 troops. Col. Tarleton's army was the best light corps then in North America, reinforced by several hundred British Regulars and a company of Artillery.
Colonel Tarleton's cruel vicious treatment of the Continentals and the population in the areas his army passed through stimulated Morgan's Army, at the Cowpens they were spoiling for a fight. Tarleton troopers had sabered to death American troops attempting to surrender at the Waxhaws and Morgan's troops responded with the merciless victory cry, "Tarleton's Quarter." He had become known as "Bloody Tarleton" as his green jacketed dragoons attacked private citizens and soldiers alike and burned homes and pillaged farms.
General Morgan deployed his troops placing the militia in front of the Continental troops. When the British advanced the militia front line fired their promised two shots each and then fell back on the flanks. When the British pursued, Colonel William Washington's Cavalry attacked and drove the British back. At this point the Continentals routed the British in the center receiving support from the Cavalry on the left and the militia on the right. In less than an hour three quarters of the British were killed or captured, many of them the best light troops in the British Army.
General Daniel Morgan was awarded a Gold Medal by the Continental Congress
for his victory at the Cowpens.
Following the victory at the Cowpens Morgan's army proceeded northward into North Carolina pursued by General Cornwallis. General Nathan Green instructed the main body of his army to join General Morgan at Guilford Courthouse. He then proceed to overtake Morgan's retreating army and did so at the Catawba River. From there General Green directed the two divisions of his army. The Continental forces met General Cornwallis' army at the Guilford Courthouse and fought one of the decisive battles of the Revolutionary War. In a two hour engagement Cornwallis' Army drove General Green's troops from the field. General Green removed his forces across the Reedy fork abut three miles distant and left the field to the British, however, Lord Cornwallis' losses were upward to six hundred while the Continental forces lost about four hundred men. General Green in evacuating Guilford Courthouse divided his army. The light troops separated from his main army had an encounter with the British in which several officers and men from Tarleton's troops were captured or killed. With the main part of his army General Green made for the Dan River and Boyd's Ferry where his entire army and artillery were removed to Virginia. The light troops soon joined him and made the crossing also.
Lord Cornwallis fearful of the power of General Greens Army did not cross into Virginia but remained in North Carolina and proclaimed his complete victory and asked the local inhabitants to rise in support of the King's Government. General Green to frustrate this plan recrossed the Dan River with General Pickins troops and perused Colonel Tarleton who was supporting the Tories. A large group of Tories, not realizing that General Pickins troops were the Continental forces fell in with them and were attacked with great advantage. This dispersed the Tories who had planned to join Lord Cornwallis and struck fear into the hearts of the other Royal sympathizers in the area. Lord Cornwallis did not realize his plan to gain support from the Tories and he remained only a short time in the area. Lord Cornwallis proclaimed his complete victory but immediately burned his excess provisions, left his hospital and seventy five wounded soldiers in the care of the local Tories and began a hasty retreat to the sea coast.
General Green, determined that he would follow Lord Cornwallis. As he had no means of providing for his wounded and those of the British, he wrote to the Quaker Population in the area, in which is described how he had been brought up a Quaker and urged them to take care of the wounded of both sides. His recommendations were accepted and the Quakers provided the Hospitals with every comfort in their power.
Lord Cornwallis proceeded promptly out of North Carolina into Virginia,
hoping to find friendly Tory support there, abandoning the South Carolina
Back Country to the Revolutionary Forces. Conditions for Lord Cornwallis
in Virginia rapidly deteriorated and he was forced to surrender 19 Oct
1781 after the battle of Yorktown, effectively ending the military struggle
of the Revolutionary War.-lts-
John Belton O'Neall and John a Chapman in Annals
of Newberry recorded aural traditions and partially documented stories
of the Revolutionary War in the Dutch Fork and Newberry County. While this
is not hard history it helps us understand what the Dutch Fork Stockmans
Hammond's Old Store
Christopher Stockman - "From this place they returned to Col Hammond's place on this side of Savannah River where the army encamped for some time," - Christopher Stockman's Revolutionary War Pension Application
Hammond's old store has been described as being located "on Bush River" and "being near Ninety-six". Nothing more definite exists to determine it location, but O'Neall has concluded that it is the place know as Stony Batter, the birth place of South Carolina Governor James H Hammond.
Hammond's store figured in many revolutionary activities in the Dutch Fork area. William Henry Drayton held a meeting there in the fall of 1775 when he entered the back country where several Patriots were reported to have joined the cause.
There was a battle or skirmish, at Hammond's Store fought by Colonel
Washington in which he defeated a band of Tories who fled to Colonel Cunningham's
post at Williams's Fort.
On 5 Jan 1781 the First Battalion 75th Regiment, part of Tarleton's Command, camped near the Broad River. The First Battalion was then in pursuit of Morgan. Just twelve days from this encampment the engagement of the Cowpens took place in which Tarleton's command was captured by the Continental forces.
Morgan was making his apparent move on the town of Ninety-Six where a Royal Garrison was encamped. Tarleton crossed the Broad River, and marched in a direct line to Hammond's old store and arrived at Rush River where his forces were split by the flooding river, some on one side some on the other. Weather made travel across the rivers almost impossible.
The next day Tarleton's command descended the river and was reunited
at the local where the Newberry Court House is now located. From this area
they advanced on the town of Ninety-six and from there followed Morgan
to the site of the battle of the Cowpens.
A Revolutionary Incident
At this time on the road tending southeast from Mrs. Cromers a few hundred yards south of the crossing of Gilder's creek, there lived Major Thomas Durgan and his wife Margaret. They had nine sons and one daughter. Major Durgan was a staunch Whig and took an active part in the service of the colonies. He was appointed to the rank of Major and served with General Sumter. Two of his sons, Robert and a younger brother were old enough to take part in the war. They were active Whigs and did good service.
This rendered the Dugan family particularly obnoxious to the Tory element and subjected them to special and repeated insults and plunder but the crown of the tragedy was thus described:
"On one occasion Captain Dugan and his brother were on a sly visit to their mother, expecting to spend the night with her and on the early morn to hie away to their command. The hour of midnight had passed and all was quiet. They had made similar visits before without molestation and were thus beguiled into careless watching. About the hour of 2 A.M. when both the young men were indulging a few short hours in sleep, and only a faithful mother kept watch lest some harm should befall her two boys, her anxiety was aroused by hearing a slight but not unusual noise in the yard. Going to an opening in the wall, she peered out into the darkness; but all was quiet. Again stilling her fears by reasoning that she was probably mistaken, that it might be only her anxious solicitude exciting her to undue foreboding she again resumed her quiet vigils. Not many minutes had elapsed before she heard at the back door a gentle but unmistakable rap, immediately followed by a like signal at all the other opening of the house. After this a vigorous knocking on the front door suddenly aroused her worst fears. Entrance was demanded by a dozen or more boisterous voices. There was no mistaking the situation or the purpose of her untimely visitors. Her presence of mind did not forsake her, but speedily mustering her stock of expedients she thrust one of her boys up the chimney; the other perhaps more rash, threw himself from the upper window, hoping to elude his pursuers by rapid flight under cover of the darkness but an unlucky alighting shivered a bone of his leg, which left him in the hand of his bitter foes.
The room was suddenly filled by a band of Tories, some of whom are recognized
as neighbors, young men not older than their captives, boys whom that kind
matron had nursed in infancy and waited upon their childish whims. With
savage taunts, threats and insults, they toyed with the sensibilities of
that fond mother until they were satiated. To carry out their hellions
threat and to make sure that no torture would pass unseen, they fired a
small house in the yard and while it crackled and shot a ruddy glare athwart
the yard, in the presence of the mother, they proceeded to hang their victims
to the limbs of an oak tree. Was this not enough? Wait and hear the sequel!
Before the eyes of that mother, with their broadswords, they hewed the
limbs and quivering flesh from the bodies of their suspended victims and
when their ingenuity could invent no greater torture, skulked away through
the darkness, leaving the mother amid the wailing of her little ones to
bear the burden of their anguishes while they would gloat over their deeds