The American Revolution in South Carolina

Matthew's Bluff

January 22, 1781


Patriot Cdr:

Capt. James McKay (GA)
Loyalist Cdr:

Lt. Kemp
Killed:

0
Killed:

24
Wounded:

0
Wounded:

0
Captured:

0
Captured:

1
Old District: 

Orangeburgh District
Present County:

Allendale County

After the Brier Creek Massacre, Capt. James McKay of the Georgia Militia began conducting raids along the swamps of the lower Savannah River and plundering Loyalist boats bound for Augusta.

Lt. Col. Thomas Brown ordered Capt. Alexander Wylly of the King's American Rangers to mount an expedition down the South Carolina side of the Savannah River to eliminate this threat. A Lt. Kemp preceded this expedition with a detachment of 25 of the King's American Rangers with 20 Loyalists.

Lt. Kemp hired a guide named William to take him to Capt. McKay's camp on Matthew's Bluff. William did not care for the Loyalists and he alerted Capt. McKay who set up an ambush. Lt. Kemp's troops rode into the ambush site and at the first shot the Loyalists fled without firing a shot, forcing the Rangers to surrender.

Capt. McKay asked Lt. Kemp to join the Patriot cause, but he refused. Capt. McKay's men were still seeking retribution for the Brier Creek Massacre, so one shot Lt. Kemp dead. The same fate was for all the Rangers, except for one. That one pretended to join the Patriot cause and then escaped at the first chance to tell Lt. Col. Brown what happened.

This event only happened once - some sources claim it happened on January 22, 1781, whereas just as many sources claim it happened in April of 1781.



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