The American Revolution in South Carolina

The Battle of Moncks Corner

April 14, 1780


Patriot Cdr:

Brigadier General
Isaac Huger
British Cdr:

Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton
Killed:

15
Killed:

0
Wounded:

18
Wounded:

3
Captured:

63
Captured:

0
Old District: 

Charles Town District
Present County:

Berkeley County

aka Biggins Bridge. One source asserts that this happened on April 18, 1780.


As part of his preparations for the Siege of Charlestown, on April 12, 1780, General Sir Henry Clinton ordered Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton into the countryside to cut off the city's lines of communication. On the night of April 13, he approached Moncks Corner by night march. In the early morning hours of April 14th, Lt. Col. Tarleton caught the Patriot forces there completely by surprise and quickly routed them.

In February of 1780, Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, Major Patrick Ferguson, their cavalry and a diversionary force of infantry were put ashore in Savannah, Georgia. Tarleton and Ferguson had to first remount their cavalry since their horses had been tossed overboard because of the stormy sea voyage south from New York. Once remounted after stealing many horses in and around Beaufort, they made their way north, twice skirmishing with Lt. Col. William Washington and his 3rd Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons (VA).

In March, Major Patrick Ferguson and Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton joined General Sir Henry Clinton and the main British Army in its thirty-mile approach to Charlestown. On March 28th, the Siege of Charlestown was finally underway. On April 12th, General Clinton ordered Lt. Col. Tarleton into the countryside as part of an effort to cut Charlestown off from its lines of communication and supply. His first objective was to take possession of Moncks Corner and Biggins Bridge, where a force of 500 Continentals under Brigadier General Isaac Huger were stationed.

Lt. Col. Tarleton and his British Legion were supported by Major Ferguson and his American Volunteers. On the 13th, they were joined by Lt. Col. James Webster and his infantry. The plan was for Tarleton and Ferguson to proceed ahead quickly and silently to Moncks Corner and take Brigadier General Huger by surprise at night. Along the way, they captured a black man who was carrying a letter from Brigadier General Huger to Major General Benjamin Lincoln in Charlestown, which told Tarleton how the troops were deployed.

From ten o'clock on the night of April 13, 1780, a swift, silent march was undertaken along the road to Moncks Corner by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton and his men. They encountered no American scouts or patrols. When they reached Moncks Corner, they caught the Patriots completely by surprise. Not only had there been no patrols, but Brigadier General Isaac Huger had placed his cavalry in front of his infantry.

Lt. Col. Tarleton led a charge right at the Patriots since swamps on either side precluded a flank attack. The British easily dispersed the militia defending Biggins Bridge. Many of the Patriots were able to escape, including Brigadier General Isaac Huger and Lt. Col. William Washington, who had suffered yet another defeat by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton. Lt. Col. Tarleton was also able to capture wagons of supplies and a great many excellent cavalry horses.

The Continental defeat at Moncks Corner left Major General Benjamin Lincoln without any lines of communication from Charlestown. The Patriots also lost many of their decent horses for cavalry use, setting them back considerably. This defeat only hastened the surrender of Charlestown.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Brigadier General Isaac Huger - Commanding Officer

3rd Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons (VA) led by Lt. Col. William Washington, with Major Richard Call, Capt. Walker Baylor, and Capt. John Stith

1st Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons led by Major John Jameson, with Capt. Thomas Pemberton, Capt. John Watts, Capt. Baylor Hill, and Capt. John Belfield

Pulaski's Legion of Horse & Foot led by Major Chevalier Pierre-Francois Vernier in the following units:
- 1st Troop Lancers - Capt. Charles Baron de Frey
- 1st Troop Dragoons - Lt. Louis de Beaulieu
- 2nd Troop Dragoons - Capt. Jerome Le Brun de Bellecour

SC Light Dragoons Regiment detachment led by Col. Daniel Horry, with unknown number of men.

1st NC Regiment (Continental) detachment of one (1) known company, led by Capt. Joshua Hadley, with unknown number of men.

NC Militia detachments, loosely led by Major James Brandon of the Rowan County Regiment, with seven (7) known companies, led by:
- Capt. William Bethel (Guilford County Regiment)
- Capt. Thomas Childs (wounded)(Montgomery Co. Regiment)
- Capt. John Locke (POW)(Rowan Co. Regiment)
- Capt. Redden Moore (Guilford County Regiment)
- Capt. William Murry (Burke County Regiment)
- Capt. Robert Patton (Burke County Regiment)
- Capt. John Sterns (Mecklenburg County Regiment)

Total Patriot Forces - 400

Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton - Commanding Officer

British Legion Infantry led by Major Charles Cochrane

British Legion Cavalry led by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, with Capt. David Kinlock

17th Regiment of Light Dragoons detachment led by Capt. William Henry Talbot

American Volunteers led by Major Patrick Ferguson, with Capt. Abraham DePeyster, Capt. Charles McNeill, Capt. James Dunlap, and Capt. Samuel Ryerson

Total British Forces - Unknown

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