The American Revolution in South Carolina

Near Ninety-Six

May 20, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Lt. Col. William Washington (VA)
Loyalist Cdr:

Major William Young






Old District: 

Ninety-Six District
Present County:

Greenwood County

As Major General Nathanael Greene was marching his army to attempt to take Ninety-Six away from British control, he sent out Lt. Col. William Washington with his cavalry and the Delaware Light Infantry to eliminate any Loyalist militia en route.

Lt. Col. Washington learned of a party of Loyalists under the command of Major William Young and he moved to attack their camp. When the Patriots arrived they discovered the camp abandoned and the Loyalists had scattered into the surrounding swamps. Lt. Col. Washington's cavalry went off in pursuit while Capt. Robert Kirkwood with the Deleware Continentals (infantry) was left to his own pace.

As soon as the cavalry rode off, some Loyalists came out of the swamps and woods and mistook Capt. Kirkwood as their own kind, since they were in hunting frocks and had not fired upon them. They eventually recognized the Delaware Continentals as their enemy and took one of them as prisoner, firing upon the rest. Capt. Kirkwood returned fire and killed one man. The rest of the Loyalists took off.

Lt. Col. Washington's cavalry heard the shooting and quickly returned to pursue the now mounted Loyalists. His dragoons killed four and captured six more before he returned to Capt. Kirkwood.

© 2009 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved