The American Revolution in South Carolina

Camden Mill

April 22, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Lt. McDonald
British Cdr:







Old District: 

Camden District
Present County:

Kershaw County

One source asserts that this engagement happened on April 15th.

Fearing that Lt. Col. John Watson Tadwell-Watson might return to Camden, Major General Nathanael Greene moved his camp from two miles north of Camden to a location to the lower side of Camden (presumably somewhat east or southeast of it). At the same time, he sent Lt. Col. Carrington with the baggage and artillery "to the strong country north of Lynch's Creek." The next day, however, he moved back to his former camp ground, which was at Hobkirk’s Hill.

While there, he had ordered that Brigadier General Thomas Sumter would come and join him, but Brigadier General Sumter refused. Major General Greene later blamed the defeat at Hobkirk’s Hill on Brigadier General Sumter, and indeed was so indignant at the latter’s thinly disguised disobedience that he would have had Brigadier General Sumter arrested “but from considerations arising from the state of the country at the time.”


"On the twenty-second we moved our encampment quite round Campden, the horse and infantry being sent about three miles down the Wateree there to procure forage, which having done, we returned to camp without anything of consequence happening. The same day happened a skirmish between a detachment of [Lt.] Colonel [Richard] Campbell's Regiment and a picquet of the enemy's at a mill near Campden, in which the enemy were obliged to abandon their post. Of our men were slightly wounded one Lieutenant and one private. Of the enemy were four killed and five wounded."

The British had emplaced a company around the mill at Camden to guard it from being destroyed by the Patriots.

Lt. Col. Richard Campbell sent a detachment of the VA 1st Regiment under Lt. McDonald to watch Camden and to possibly disrupt supply lines, and he stumbled across the British at Camden Mill on the night of April 22nd, with the intentions of torching it. He ordered his men not to fire so they wouldn't arouse the garrison, but one of his men shot the British sentry anyway, killing him.

The British flew out shooting at anything, making enough noise to wake the dead - and getting the attention of nearby cavalry that quickly came to their aid. Lt. McDonald had to flee or be captured.

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