The American Revolution in South Carolina

Georgetown

August 2, 1781


Patriot Cdr:

Capt. William Ransom Davis
British Cdr:

Capt. Manson
Killed:

Unknown
Killed:

Unknown
Wounded:

Unknown
Wounded:

Unknown
Captured:

Unknown
Captured:

Unknown
Old District: 

Georgetown District
Present County:

Georgetown County

William Dobein James asserted this event happened on August 10th.


A raiding force of British troops made an amphibious (they had evacuated the town on June 5th) landing scattered the few Patriot defenders in the town and burned several buildings near the waterfront.
After the battle of Shubrick's Plantation, Brigadier General Thomas Sumter ordered Capt. William Ransom Davis (regiment currently unknown) to go to Georgetown and to seize the slaves, horses, indigo, salt, and medical supplies of the local Loyalist residents.

In the meantime, the British in Charlestown had become worried that Georgetown was becoming a harbor where privateers and naval vessels could deliver supplies to Major General Nathanael Greene's Continentals. Sumter's orders to Capt. Davis now threatened the Loyalists and the British decided to retaliate.

Capt. Manson commanded a Loyalist privateer schooner named Peggy, and he was ordered by Col. Nisbet Balfour to destroy Georgetown as a supply depot. He sailed his schooner over the Winyah Harbor bar and demanded permission to land his men. Apparently Capt. William Ransom Davis was at this location and he denied Manson's landing request.

In response, Capt. Manson brought up an armed galley from across the bar and returned to bombard Georgetown.

After the shelling frightened the townfolks from the streets, Capt. Manson sent his sailors ashore to set fire to the stores and warehouses. In the process they also burned down forty-two houses. As the town burned, Capt. Manson shelled the streets to prevent fire-fighters from putting out the flames. Georgetown did not fully recover from this attack until around 1830, almost fifty years later.

After the Georgetown raid, Governor John Rutledge outlawed the practice of retaliations and repraisals against the Loyalists. Brigadier General Thomas Sumter perceived that this was aimed directly at him and he relinquished the command of his brigade to Col. William Henderson.

Major General Nathanael Greene managed to convince Sumter to return to service after the battle of Eutaw Springs in September, but it was not permanent. Sumter resigned again after he was voted into the Legislature in November, this time for good.



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