The American Revolution in South Carolina

Biggin Creek Bridge

July 16, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Lt. Col. Peter Horry
Loyalist Cdr:

Lt. Col. John Coates






Old District: 

Charles Town District
Present County:

Berkeley County

A mounted force of the Kings SC Rangers made a surprise attack on the camp of a detachment of Bridadier General Francis Marion’s Patriots under the command of Lt. Col. Peter Horry, but were driven off.

Lt. Col. Hezekiah Maham rode down the east side of the Cooper River to burn the bridge over Wadboo Creek so that Col. Francis, Lord Rawdon could not use it to receive supplies from Charlestown, and to disrupt Lt. Col. John Coates's supply lines at Moncks Corner. Lt. Col. Peter Horry and Col. Edward Lacy reinforced Lt. Col. Maham and set up camp near the Wadboo Bridge.

Knowing none of this, Lt. Stephen Jarvis began patrolling the area with four SC Royalists and six mounted Loyalist militiamen. Soon, they were deluged by a rainstorm and the militiamen left him and his four dragoons. Lt. Jarvis continued his patrol, as ordered, and soon ran into eight or ten of Lt. Col. Horry's men. A brief skirmish began, with Lt. Jarvis getting the upperhand, but then his horse got entangled in a grapevine. He returned to Moncks Corner, but Lt. Col. John Coates sent him out again that same night to find Lt. Col. Horry.

On his return from patrol later that night, Lt. Jarvis found a detachment of Lt. Col. Horry's cavalry attacking the pickets on Biggin Bridge. The Patriots were driven off.

At about two in the afternoon on July 16th, a slave came into the British camp and told them that Lt. Col. Peter Horry and his men were at Biggin Creek Bridge and that their horses were running loose in the field. At around 5 p.m., Major Thomas Fraser and his SC Royalists rode out and struck Lt. Col. Horry's camp as they were eating dinner. Lt. Col. Horry and his men were caught by surprise, but quickly rallied and counter-attacked. The nearby Col. Edward Lacey and his mounted riflemen drove Major Fraser's dragoons back with minor loses.

Lt. Stephen Jarvis once again found himself in command of a troop and leading the charge, which was soon surrounded by Lt. Col. Horry's cavalry. Lt. Jarvis rode out of the trap and yelled to his men to follow. Some did not get away in time and were captured. One was a Patriot deserter and was executed by Brigadier General Thomas Sumter the next morning.

Soon, the British 19th Regiment of Foot, under Lt. Col. John Coates, arrived from Moncks Corner with a fieldpiece and this stopped Lt. Col. Horry's attack. He withdrew to Sumter's main body while Lt. Col. Coates placed his men in and arround St. James Goose Creek Church. Brigadier General Thomas Sumter was mistaken and thought that Lt. Col. Coates had marched out to meet him and he placed his men into a line of battle - and waited.

The earlier skirmish between Lt. Col. Horry and the SC Royalists was only a delaying action - while it was taking place, Lt. Col. Coates had placed all his stores in the church and put the torch to it. While the church burned, Lt. Col. Coates retreated with his forces towards Charlestown.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Horry's Light Dragoons (Militia) detachment led by Lt. Col. Peter Horry, with one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Henry Sparkes 

Turkey Creek Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. Edward Lacey, with unknown number of men


Lt. Col. John Coates - Commanding Officer

19th Regiment of Foot with 600 men and the following known officers:
- Capt. Colin Campbell
- Capt. John Skerret

Royal Regiment of Artillery - 2 Field Howitzers

SC Royalists detachment led by Major Thomas Fraser, then Lt. Stephen Jarvis, with 6 Loyalists

© 2009 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved