The American Revolution in South Carolina

  Mine Creek

  November 3, 1775


Patriot Cdr:

Lt. Thomas Charlton 
Loyalist Cdr:

Patrick Cunningham
Killed:

0
Killed:

0
Wounded:

0
Wounded:

0
Captured:

23
Captured:

0
Old District: 

Ninety-Six District
Present County:

Saluda County

Loyalist Patrick Cunningham began recruiting supporters to help him free his brother, Robert Cunningham, from imprisonment in Charlestown. Robert Cunningham had been jailed on charges of sedition leveled by Capt. John Caldwell of the SC 3rd Regiment (Rangers) at the village of Ninety-Six on October 23rd.

On November 3, 1775, Patrick Cunningham and his group of about sixty Loyalists captured a wagon train at Mine Creek en route to delivering gunpowder to the Cherokees from the First SC Provincial Congress. The Loyalists made prisoners of the guard of twenty Rangers and the officers and took them to the fort at Ninety-Six.


The following affadavit, to be found on page 97 of William Moultrie's Memoirs (1802), gives an account of the seizure at Mine Creek:

South Carolina, Ninety-Six District

Personally appeared before me, James Mayson, one of his majesty's justices of the peace, for the district aforesaid: Moses Cotter, of the Congarees, waggoner, who being duly sworn on the holy evangelist, of Almighty God, makes oath, and says, that on Tuesday morning last, at about 9 o'clock he left the Congarees, with his waggon, containing the ammunition that was delivered him in Charlestown, by the honorable the council of safety, to carry to Keowee under an escort of Col. Thomson's rangers consisting of Lt. Charlton and Mr. Uriah Goodwin, a cadet, 2 sergeants, and 18 privates, and continued on their journey there, without the least molestation or interruption, until about noon this day, when the deponent perceiving some men on horseback, ahead of the waggon, came towards him; a few minutes after, two of Patrick Cunningham's men, coming up to the deponent and asking him what he had in the waggon, the deponent answered, rum; Then up came a large body of armed men, in number, I suppose, at least one hundred and fifty, headed by Patrick Cunningham and Jacob Bowman. Cunningham ordered his men to halt, and then came up to the deponent and said, I order you to stop your waggon in his majesty's name, as I understand you have ammunition for the Indians to kill us, and I am come on purpose to take it all in his majesty's name. He then ordered the deponent to take off the waggon cloth, which he refused; upon which Cunningham mounted the waggon himself, loosed the strings of the cloth and took up a keg of the powder; 'there,' said he, 'is what we are in search of.' I immediately took the keg from him and laid it in the waggon. Cunningham said, 'it is in vain for you to attempt to hinder us from taking this ammunition, as you have no arms;' then he handed out every keg to his men who were along side the waggon and prepared his bags to receive it; after they finished with the powder, he, with messrs Griffin and Owen, and several others, took out the lead which they unfolded, cut into small pieces with their tomahawk's, and distributed it among the men. When the rangers were at some distance behind the waggon, and were riding up pretty fast, Cunningham's party said, 'there comes the liberty caps; damn their liberty caps, we will soon blow them to hell'; and such like scurrilous language. Cunningham's men, as soon as Lt. Charlton came up with his guard, retreated behind the trees on the road side, and called out to him to stop and not to advance one step further, otherwise they would blow out his brains; at the same time, a gun was fired by one of their men, but did no damage. Lt. Charlton, with his men, were soon surrounded by the opposite party, with their rifles presented, who said, 'don't move a step; deliver up your arms, otherwise we will immediately fire upon you.' Lt. Charlton continued moving on, when Cunningham's men marched up to him, with their rifles presented at him, and repeated, 'deliver up your armes without moving one step further, or you are a dead man'; they then took his arms, together with his men's; afterward they tied Lt. Charlton, Mr. Goodwin, and William Witherspoon, a private, by their arms.

Lt. Charlton seemed very much displeased at their behavior, and said 'he would rather have been shot, than used in such a manner, had he expected it; that he did not value his own life; thought he had acted prudently by not ordering his men to fire on them, as it would be throwing away their lives, without answering any good purpose; especially as their party were so numerous, that he was sorry to see them behave in such a base manner, and that he would very willingly turn out his pary against twice the number of theirs, and give them battle.' Cunningham and Bowman, some little time after asked Lt. Charlton, 'whether if they were to unloose him he would be upon his honor, not to go off;' to which he replied, 'I scorn to run, and all your force cannot make me;' they then marched off with the ammunition, and the 'prisoners," (as they called them), and left the deponent, desiring him to return to the Congarees; but as soon as they were out of sight he took a horse from out the waggon and came to Ninety-Six, to inform me of what had happened, and where he arrived this night about 8 o'clock. This unfortunate accident of taking the ammunition, happened 18 miles below Ninety-Six.

Moses Cotter

Sworn, before me, this

3d of Nov. 1775

James Mayson, J.P.


This incident is the same as that called Congaree River, which allegedly happened on October 31st. Interesting that two different accounts put the incident on different dates and in completely different locations.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

SC 3rd Regiment detachment led by Lt. Thomas Charlton, with 22 men

Moses Cotter - wagon driver (civilian)

Patrick Cunningham

Approximately 60 Loyalists, including David Fanning



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