The American Revolution in South Carolina

Godfrey's Savannah

August 27, 1781


Patriot Cdr:

Brigadier General
Francis Marion
British Cdr:

Lt. Col. Ernst Leopold
von Borck
Killed:

0
Killed:

0
Wounded:

0
Wounded:

0
Captured:

0
Captured:

0
Old District: 

Charles Town District
Present County:

Colleton County

Failed ambush, Brigadier General Francis Marion vs. Lt.Col. Ernst Leopold von Borck.


Brigadier General Marion wanted to attack a British force under Lt. Col. Ernst Leopold von Borck as they returned to the Edisto. He made preparations to ambush them at Godfrey’s Savannah on the night of August 27th. Some of his troops failed to follow orders and the ambush had to be aborted.
As Loyalist refugees poured into Charlestown, leaders quickly formed them into groups of 400-500 to ravage the countryside south of the city. To discourage Patriots from striking back, Col. Nisbet Balfour sent a fairly large British force under Lt. Col. Ernst Leopold von Borck to seize rice from plantations along the Combahee River. He also sent a newly-created dragoon regiment (SC Light Dragoons) with the foragers for protection.

Col. William Harden reported Lt. Col. von Borck's expedition to Major General Nathanael Greene and asked for reinforcements to stop them. Major General Greene gave Brigadier General Francis Marion the option whether to support Col. Harden and Brigadier General Marion decided to take a mounted force to help out.

Brigadier General Marion detached a force under Capt. George Cooper to create a diversion between Dorchester and Moncks Corner. On August 22nd, he left his dismounted men with Lt. Col. Hezekiah Maham and rode off with Lt. Col. Peter Horry's cavalry and 200 hand-picked men from his brigade.

After covering 100 miles fairly quickly, Brigadier General Marion joined Col. Harden, who had been monitoring Major Fraser's progress. Col. Harden was not able to take the field, but he sent Major Charles Harden with 80 men to go with Marion. While he was camped at Horse Shoe, Marion was joined by Col. William Stafford with 150 men.

Brigadier General Marion wanted to attack Lt. Col. von Borck at Godfrey's Savannah on the night of August 27th, but some men failed to follow orders and he had to abort this plan.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Brigadier General Francis Marion - Commanding Officer

Lower Craven County Regiment of Militia led by Col. John Ervin and Major Samuel Cooper, with 200 men

Horry's Light Dragoons (Militia) detachment led by Lt. Col. Peter Horry, with 15 men

Lower Granville County Regiment of Militia led by Col. William Stafford, with 150 men

Upper Granville County Regiment of Militia detachment led by Major Charles Harden, with 80 men


Total Patriot Forces - 445

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-

-
-

Lt. Col. Ernst Leopold von Borck - Commanding Officer

30th Regiment of Foot - "Unknown," with 150 men

Artillery - "Unknown"

Hesse-Kassel Fusilier Regiment von Ditfurth led by Lt. Col. Ernst Leopold von Borck with 180 men

SC Royalists led by Major Thomas Fraser with 150 men in the following known units:

SC Light Dragoons - Capt. Archibald Campbell with Lt. Stephen Jarvis

NC Independent Dragoons - Capt. Robert Gillies

Queen's Rangers detachment led by Capt. John Saunders with 80 men

Cunningham's Troop of Dragoons Loyalist Militia led by Major William Cunningham with 100 men


Total British/Loyalist Forces - 660


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