The American Revolution in South Carolina

Georgetown

December 28, 1780


Patriot Cdr:

Lt. Col. Peter Horry
British Cdr:

Cornet Thomas Merritt
Killed:

0
Killed:

0
Wounded:

-
Wounded:

0
Captured:

0
Captured:

16
Old District: 

Georgetown District
Present County:

Georgetown County

aka White's Plantation, aka Wright's Plantation, aka Plantations Close to Georgetown. One source claims this event took place on December 27th. Another source claims it took place on February 27, 1781 (?).


To ascertain British troop strength within the town of Georgetown, Col. Francis Marion sent Lt. Col. Peter Horry with two companies and 33 men from Indiantown on a reconnaissance mission in the evening of December 27th. At "The Camp" near Georgetown, Lt. Col. Horry's men set up an ambush and waited for the enemy to arrive early the next day - December 28th.

Cornet Thomas Merrit had been sent to neighboring plantations to provide cover for a foraging party gathering up cattle that had wandered away from the garrison. About mid-morning, Cornet Merrit with another officer and a squad of Queen's Rangers were escorting two young ladies past Lt. Col. Horry's ambush. Horry decided not to attack since there were ladies present, so he and his men rode to a nearby house to seek a late breakfast.

They rode to White's Plantation and discovered that inside was Mrs. White, her daughter, and the two ladies that had been escorted by Cornet Merritt. Mrs. White took Lt. Col. Horry aside and informed him that the two ladies were Loyalists and if he wanted anything he would have to pretend to take it by force. If he did not, then perhaps their home would be burned by local Loyalists.

Soon, a sentry warning was fired and Lt. Col. Horry found out that the Queen's Rangers were coming down the road towards their position. He had his men to mount their horses quickly and they charged after the Rangers, who discovered that they were outnumbered so they fled back to "The Camp" near Georgetown.

Cornet Merrit was in the rear trying to fight off Lt. Col. Horry's men, but they caught up with him. Cornet Merritt had two horses shot out from under him and was so stunned by the fall of the last one that he was left for dead. Lt. Col. Horry's men took his boots, helmet, and weapons. When he recovered his senses he escaped into the swamp and hid.

Two of the prisoners were both men who had once been in the Patriot's SC 3rd Regiment of Rangers. They claimed that they had enlisted from the prison ship in Charlestown so that they would have a better chance to escape.

Soon thereafter on the same morning, Lt. Col. Horry and his men encountered Major Micajah Gainey - see the incident at the Black River Ferry Road.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
Kingstree Regiment of Militia detachment led by Lt. Col. Peter Horry with 33 men in two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Baxter
- Capt. John Postell

Queen's Rangers led by Cornet Thomas Merritt with 18 men of Capt. John Saunder's Troop of Cavalry

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