After Fort Grierson near Augusta had been captured by the
Patriots, a company of South Carolina militia deserted and slipped
down the Savannah River, led by a man named Rutherford. They
hoped to elude any and all patrols, but at sunrise of May 24th
they ran into a Patriot horse guard camped on the South Carolina
side just opposite Beech Island.
The Patriot cavalry tried to stop the fleeing deserters, but
were unable to do so. A few of the deserters fought back and
killed several of the cavalry. Capt. Tarleton Brown, Jr. (Upper
Granville County Regiment) heard the alarm and quickly mounted
his men to cut off the deserters, but they managed to get across
to the other side and escape.