20 July 2008

Victory in Carolina

Ok, so a small number of miles east of Fort Watson is another important site. This one is Eutaw Springs, the last battle of the Revolution in South Carolina. After the battle of Hobkirk's Hill, General Greene took his army to the last British outpost in South Carolina, Ninety-Six, in the western part of the state. After an unsucesful siege attempt, Greene eventually left, but, like Camden, Ninety-Six was very shortly abandoned, and the British commander, Lord Rawdon, left. Greene, with greater hopes of a victory against the new British commander, Lt Col Stuart. On September 8, 1781, Stuart, despite warnings that the Americans were nearby, sent men forward to gather sweet potatoes. These men were captured, with only a small escort escaping to warn their commander. Stuart, realizing how critical his position was, formed a line with his 1800 men across the road the Americans were travelling on. Along with this, 300 men under Major Marjoribanks were slightly ahead of the right flank, holding the line at the spring itself. His cavalry held the left flank, and three canon were placed in the middle. A nearby plantation home was specified as a last resort defense, should the Americans break through. Greene set up his attacking army of around 2,000 similar to the defense at Cowpens and Guilford Courthouse. his front line consisted of militia from North and South Carolina, the second line was Continentals from Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, with cavalry under "Light Horse Harry" Lee on the right. The final line was Continentals from Delaware with cavalry under William Washington.

Following an exchange of canon shots, the line of militia came forward, but fell back in the face of the British. The British left rushed forward, but fell apart after a volley and bayonet charge by the regulars of the second American line. Now in disarray, the British line unraveled from left to right in quik retreat. Only Marjoribank's men stood their ground, with standing an attack by Washington's cavalry, as well as infantry on their left flank. The Americans then rushed into the British camp, plundering the tents and stores. Several were killed from the windows of the plantation where some of the British had retreated. Greene ordered his cavalry into the camp in order to attempt to rally his troops, but Stuart, seeing this, ordered his own cavalry to counter the attempt.
Marjoribanks then used the American disorder to his advantage, ordering his troops to capture the American canon, then attack the drunk and unruly Americans themselves. Both armies, now in complete confusion, withdrew from the field, each having lost around 600 men. Stuart and the British withdrew to Charleston, but Marjoribanks dies only a month after the battle that he turned the tide of. The war in South Carolina was over.
The grave of Major Marjoribanks

The only other marked grave on the field, though some sources say there are others. The grave is very worn, but it is the grave of Paul Stroman. Information on the grave can be found here and his family tree can be found here.

Some of the Santee Limestone on the edge of the battlefield and lake Marion.

The nearby town, namesake for the spring.

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