The American Revolution in South Carolina

Black River

April 2, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Lt. Col. Lemuel Benton
British Cdr:

Lt. John Wilson






Old District: 

Georgetown District
Present County:

Georgetown County

aka Wragg's Ferry.

On April 2nd, a twenty-man detachment of the Queen's Rangers, commanded by Lt. John Wilson, was sent out of Georgetown to cover a detail that had been sent to load flatboats with forage from a plantation on the Black River. As the detail was ending, the Provincials were attacked by a group of sixty (60) of Brigadier General Francis Marion's Patriots, commanded by Lt. Col. Lemuel Benton. The Patriots made two charges against the enemy, but were driven off both times. Lt. Wilson counter-attacked after the last attempt, and drove off Lt. Col. Benton. Losses are not known, but Lt. Wilson, who was wounded in the action, received a commendation from Lt. Col. Nisbet Balfour in Charlestown.

Capt. John Saunders in Simcoe’s Journal:

“Lt. [John] Wilson was sent on the 2d of April, with twenty men, attended by a galley, to cover a party sent to load some flats with forage, at a plantation on Black river: he debarked and remained on shore several hours before he saw a single rebel; but when he had nearly completed his business, he was attacked by about sixty of them, under the command of a Major [Lt. Colonel Lemuel] Benton: he repulsed them in two attempts that they made to get within the place where he had posted himself; he then charged and drove them off.

Lt. Col. Lemuel Benton was with Col. Abel Kolb, and it is unclear why Col. Kolb is not identified in this engagement, but the source used above never mentioned him. What is known is that Col. Abel Kolb and Lt. Col. Lemuel Benton had already joined with Brigadier General Francis Marion and were with him since 1780.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Cheraws District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Lt. Col. Lemuel Benton, with 60 of men 


Queen's Rangers detachment led by Lt. John Wilson, with 20 men

Flatboats, with unknown number of men

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