The American Revolution in South Carolina

  Great Cane Brake

  December 22, 1775


Patriot Cdr:

Col. William Thomson 
Loyalist Cdr:

Capt. Patrick Cunningham
Killed:

0
Killed:

6
Wounded:

1
Wounded:

Unk
Captured:

0
Captured:

130
Old District: 

Ninety-Six District
Present County:

Greenville County

aka Cane Brake, aka Reedy River.

While those engaged at Ninety-Six were negotiating a truce, Col. Richard Richardson was already on its way into the upcountry to arrest the leaders of the Loyalist party. Richardson decided that his mission was not affected by the truce signed at Ninety-Six and proceeded to carry out his instructions.

Receiving intelligence that the most active leaders of the opposition were encamped on Cherokee land, he dispatched a force under Colonel William Thomson (SC 3rd Regiment of Rangers), which surprised the Loyalists on the morning of December 22 and defeated them in the Battle of Great Cane Brake. Most of the Loyalist band were captured and sent back to face charges of sedition in Charleston. However, Patrick Cunningham and Col. Joseph Robinson escaped to the Cherokee Nation.

The Great Cane Brake was located on the Reedy River in the southern portion of present Greenville County, The only location Colonel Richardson gives us is that the site was a long march of nearly twenty-five miles from his camp at Holhngsworth's Mill on Raborn's Creek (in present-day Laurens County, and the modern spelling is Rabon Creek). Luxuriant growths of cane were quite common in river valleys of the upcountry before the US Revolution.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

SC 3rd Regiment (Rangers) led by Col. William Thomson and Maj. James Mayson with 500 men in the following eleven (11) companies:
- Capt. Nathaniel Abney
- Capt. Robert Anderson
- Capt. John Caldwell
- Capt. Robert Goodwyn
- Capt. Charles Heatley
- Capt. John Lewis Peyer Imhoff
- Capt. Eli Kershaw
- Capt. John Purvis
- Capt. Edward Richardson
- Capt. Samuel Wise
- Capt. Thomas Woodward

SC Militia led by Col. Richard Richardson (Camden District Regiment) (unknown number of men), with fouor (4) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Drakeford
- Capt. John Nixon
- Capt. Robert Patton
- Capt. Matthew Singleton

New Acquisition District Regiment led by Col. Thomas Neel and the following five (5) companies:
- Capt. William Bratton
- Capt. Peter Clinton
- Capt. William Gaston
- Capt. Andrew Love
- Capt. Ezekiel Polk

Spartan Regiment led by Col. John Thomas, Sr. and the following four (4) companies:
- Capt. James Andrews
- Capt. Andrew Barry
- Capt. Robert Faris
- Capt. John Thomas, Jr.

Ninety-Six District Regiment of three (3) known companies. led by:
- Capt. John Hammond
- Capt. Adam Crain Jones
- Capt. Thomas Langdon

Forks of Saluda District Regiment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Richard Pollard

Little River District Regiment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. John Wallace

Fairfield Regiment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Joseph Brown

Independent Company of Rangers led by Capt. Ezekiel Polk

2nd NC Regiment detachment led by Lt. Col. Alexander Martin, with four (4) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Armstrong
- Capt. George Lee Davidson
- Capt. William Knox
- Capt. William Pickett (on loan from 1st Regiment)

Mecklenburg County Regiment of Militia (NC) led by Col. Thomas Polk and Maj. John Phifer, with at least ten (10) known companies, led by:
- Capt. James Alexander
- Capt. William Alexander
- Capt. John Barringer
- Capt. Cromisle
- Capt. James Harris
- Capt. Isaac Houston
- Capt. James Houston
- Capt. Robert Irwin
- Capt. James Jack
- Capt. Caleb Phifer
- Capt. Moses Shelby
- Capt. Thomas Shelby

First Rowan County Regiment of Militia (NC) led by Col. Griffith Rutherford and Lt. Col. Francis Locke, with at least nine (9) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Armstrong
- Capt. George Henry Barrier
- Capt. George Cowan
- Capt. Joseph Dixon
- Capt. John Graham
- Capt. John Harden
- Capt. John Nichols
- Capt. James Purviance
- Capt. John Work

New Bern District (NC) Militia led by Col. Richard Caswell

Tryon County Regiment of Militia (NC) led by Col. William Graham, with at least four (4) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Barber
- Capt. William Chronicle
- Capt. Andrew Hampton
- Capt. James Johnson

Ninety-Six District, New Acquisition Loyalist Militia led by Col. Joseph Robinson with Capt. Patrick Cunningham and about 200 men.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-



© 2011 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved