The American Revolution in South Carolina

Charlestown Neck

May 11-13, 1779


Patriot Cdr:

Major General
Benjamin Lincoln
British Cdr:

Brigadier General
Augustine Prevost
Killed:

29
Killed:

3
Wounded:

17
Wounded:

3
Captured:

16
Captured:

Unknown
Old District: 

Charles Town District
Present County:

Charleston County

aka Siege of Charlestown 1779. Two events.


Knowing that British Brigadier General Augustine Prevost with approximately 2,400 British Regulars and Loyalists were marching steadily towards Charlestown, the Patriots in Charlestown worked day and night to create a formidable line of earthworks stretching from the Cooper River to the Ashley River, hoping to cut off all landward approaches to Charlestown. In the meantime, Major General Benjamin Lincoln had unwisely crossed the Savannah River at Augusta to go after Brigadier General Prevost from behind, and when Prevost outsmarted him and crossed the Savannah River at Purrysburg soon after Lincoln left for Augusta, Major General Lincoln was forced to hurry-time his soldiers back across the river in an attempt to catch Prevost before he reached Charlestown.

Brigadier General William Moultrie had only a small force of SC State Troops and a handful of Patriot Militia on South Carolina soil to harrass and attempt to impede Brigadier General Prevost's march through the lowcountry.

By May 11th, Brigadier General Prevost and his army approached the very gates of the city and demanded that the Patriots surrender. Governor John Rutledge tried to negotiate with Brigadier General Prevost, but the British officer refused all attempts to parlay. Perhaps it was British pride and arrogance or perhaps it was the fact that Brigadier General Prevost knew that the Patriot army under the command of Major General Benjamin Lincoln had left Augusta and was only a few days from Charlestown.

On May 12th, a Patriot force of cavalry and infantry under the command of Brigadier General Count Kasimir (aka Casimir) Pulaski was sent out to build redoubts at the Old Race Track outside of Charlestown in an effort to slow down or stop the advancing British. It seems that Brigadier General Pulaski’s plan was to attack the British with his cavalry force and then fall back to the area of the redoubts and thereby draw the British into an ambush. However Brigadier General Pulaski attacked the British before the Patriot troops at the redoubts were placed in position. The resulting battle was a bloodbath for the Patriots who were run down and dispersed by the British cavalry. Brigadier General Pulaski and the remaining Patriot troops who could escape fell back into Charlestown.

However, the harassing by Brigadier General William Moultrie and the errors of Brigadier General Pulaski was enough time to stall for Major General Lincoln's arrival on the evening of May 12th. The next day the Patriots found the British had left their positions during the night and had relocated to Johns Island. The British had not taken Charlestown but they had accomplished their objective, which was to gain supplies and to draw Major General Benjamin Lincoln away from Augusta. The British had also stripped their force of a large number of men that had been sent back days earlier in an effort to remove the looted goods from the plantations that had lain in their path back to Savannah. The British laid waste to much of the area they had crossed over - coming and going.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Old Race Track Skirmish:

Brigadier General Kasimir Pulaski - Commanding Officer, with approximately 118 men in total

Pulaski's Legion of Horse led by Colonel Commandant Michael de Kowatch (aka Michael Kovats) (killed) in the following known units:
- 1st Troop Lancers - Capt. Jan Zielinski
- 1st Troop Dragoons - Capt. Paul Bentalou
- 2nd Troop Dragoons - Capt. Henry Bedkin

Pulaski's Legion of Foot led by Lt. Col. Charles Frederick de Bedauls in the following known units:
- 1st Company of Grenadiers - Capt. Jerome LeBrun de Bellecour
- 2nd Company of Infantry - Capt. Chevalier Jacques de Segon de Sederon
- 3rd Company of Infantry - Capt. Frederick Paschke
- 4th Supernumeracy Company - Capt. Joseph Baldesqui

NC Light Dragoons Regiment detachment of one (1) company, led by Capt. William Richardson Davie

Standoff at Charlestown Neck:

Brigadier General William Moultrie - Commanding Officer

SC 2nd Regiment led by Lt. Col. Francis Marion with 300 men in the following eight (8) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Richard Bohun Baker
- Capt. Thomas Dunbar
- Capt. Thomas Hall
- Capt. Richard Mason
- Capt. Daniel Mazyck
- Capt. Charles Motte
- Capt. Thomas Moultrie
- Capt. Adrien Proveaux

SC 4th Regiment of Artillery led by Col. Owen Roberts and Lt. Col. Barnard Beeckman, with 60 men in the following six (6) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Harman Davis
- Capt. John Francis DeTreville
- Capt. Thomas Grimball
- Capt. James Mitchell
- Capt. William Mitchell
- Capt. Richard Brooke Roberts

SC 5th Regiment detachment led by Col. John Stewart and Major Benjamin Huger, with 190 men in the following four (4) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Bowie
- Capt. William Ransom Davis
- Capt. Stephen Guerry
- Capt. James Hogan

SC Light Dragoons led by Col. Daniel Horry with two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Couturier
- Capt. Thomas Giles

NC Light Infantry (Continentals)(?) led by Lt. Col. John Laurens with 250 men

Pulaski's Legion of Horse & Foot led by Brigadier General Count Kasimir Pulaski with 200 men in the following companies (cavalry first, then infantry led by Lt. Col. Charles Frederick de Bedauls):
- 1st Troop Lancers - Capt. Jan Zielinski
- 1st Troop Dragoons - Capt. Paul Bentalou
- 2nd Troop Dragoons - Capt. Henry Bedkin
- 1st Company of Grenadiers - Capt. Jerome Le Brun de Bellecour
- 2nd Company of Infantry - Capt. James de Segon
- 3rd Company of Infantry - Capt. Frederick Paschke
- Company of Chasseurs - Lt. Francois Roth
- 4th Supernumeracy Company - Capt. Joseph Baldesqui

SC 1st Brigade of Militia led by Brigadier General Stephen Bull in the following units:

Beaufort District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. Richard Hutson, Lt. Col. William Harden, and Major John Barnwell, with 400 men in six (6) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Edward Barnwell
- Capt. Robert Barnwell
- Capt. Victor Daniel DeSaussure
- Capt. William Ferguson
- Capt. John Garvin
- Capt. William Hazzard Wigg

Charles Town District Regiment of Militia led by Col. Maurice Simons and Lt. Col. Roger Moore Smith, with 780 men in the following thirteen (13) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Baddeley
- Capt. James Bentham
- Capt. Peter Bocquet
- Capt. Archibald Brown
- Capt. Daniel Cannon
- Capt. Joseph Darrell
- Capt. William Fraser
- Capt.-Lt. William Hassell Gibbes
- Capt. Thomas Heyward, Jr.
- Capt. John Raven Matthews
- Capt. John McQueen
- Capt. Edward Rutledge
- Capt. Charles Shepherd

Berkeley County Regiment of Militia detachment - James Island Company - Lt. John Garden

SC 2nd Brigade of Militia detachment of the following regiments and companies:

Camden District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Capt. John James

Fairfield Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. John Winn with the following four (4) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Joseph Brown
- Capt. Robert Crawford
- Capt. John Feemster
- Capt. Joseph Feemster

New Acquisition District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. John Thomas, Sr. and Lt. Col. Andrew Neel, with the following three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. William Byers, Jr.
- Capt. Peter Clinton
- Capt. Philip Walker

SC 4th Brigade of Militia detachment led by Brigadier General Alexander McIntosh with the following two (2) known companies from the Georgetown District Regiment of Militia, led by:
- Capt. John Allston - Racoon Company of Riflemen
- Capt. Jacob Buckholts

Catawba Indian Company of Rovers - Capt. Samuel Boykin

NC Light Dragoons Regiment detachment of one (1) company, led by Capt. William Richardson Davie

Gates County (NC) Regiment of Militia detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Arthur Gatling

SC Navy ships:

Frigate Bricole - Capt. Thomas Curling, with 44 guns

Brigantine Notre Dame - Capt. William Hall, with 16 guns

4 Galleys

Total Patriot Forces - 3,180

Old Race Track Skirmish:

Major James Moncrief - Commanding Officer

Georgia Dragoons, 1st Troop - Capt. Thomas Tawse

Georgia Dragoons, 2nd Troop - Lt. Archibald Campbell

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Standoff at Charlestown Neck:

Brigadier General Augustine Prevost - Commanding Officer

71st Regiment of Foot led by Lt. Col. John Maitland with 800 men

16th Regiment of Foot Light Infantry Company led by Maj. Colin Graham with 100 men

60th Regiment of Foot (Royal Americans) led by Maj. Beamsley Glazier with 200 grenadiers

Royal Regiment of Artillery, 4th Battalion, Number 7 Company led by Capt. William Johnstone with 6 guns

Hesse-Kassel Grenadier Regiment von Trumbach led by Maj. Johan Endemann

Hesse-Kassel Grenadier Regiment von Wollworth led by Lt. Col. von Kilzell

Royal NC Regiment led by Lt. Col. John Hamilton with 200 men

DeLancey's Brigade, 2nd Battalion led by Lt. Col. Stephen DeLancey with 100 men

NY Volunteers, Turnbull's Company led by Maj. Henry Sheridan with 900 men in the following companies:

Capt. Allan Cameron's Company - Lt. William Adamson

Capt. Thomas Hewlett

Capt. William Johnston

Capt. Barnard Kane

King's Rangers led by Lt. Col. Thomas Brown

Loyalist Militia led by Lt. Col. Daniel McGirth with 400 men in the following companies:

GA Light Dragoons - Lt. Col. Daniel McGirth

GA Loyalists - Capt. Davit Taitt

Upper Creek Indians - 70 warriors

West Florida Rangers led by Capt. William McIntosh with 120 men, including Overhill Creek Indians

Total British Forces - 3,620

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-
-



© 2013 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved