The American Revolution in South Carolina

Rutledge's Ford

November 1780


Patriot Cdr:

Col. Elijah Clarke (GA)
Loyalist Cdr:

Unknown
Killed:

Unknown
Killed:

Unknown
Wounded:

Unknown
Wounded:

Unknown
Captured:

Unknown
Captured:

Unknown
Old District: 

Ninety-Six District
Present Counties:

Laurens County/
Abbeville County

Col. Elijah Clarke (GA) vs. unknown Loyalist commander.


On the Saluda River about four miles east of Honea Path, there is another skirmish site that is of more geographical than historical interest. The incident happened in 1780 after the battle of Blackstocks. Brigadier General Thomas Sumter's forces proceeded northward after that engagement; as they passed the iron works on Lawson Fork Creek, there was a division of forces, and the Georgians under Colonels Elijah Clarke, John Twiggs, and Benjamin Few struck out westward along the foothills of the mountain. They were soon joined by South Carolina troops under Major Samuel Hammond, Lt. Col. James McCall, and Capt. Moses Liddell.

The immediate object of the expedition was to attack a Loyalist fort at "Hoil's old place" on the Saluda River. From Samuel Hammond's later account, this must have been located in present Greenville County in the general vicinity of the SC Hwy. 86 bridge; the only clue to this puzzling reference is that there was an early settler in Ninety-Six District by the name of Hoyle.

Upon learning that the Patriots were approaching, the Loyalists abandoned the fort and crossed the Saluda at Rutledge's Ford, seventeen or eighteen miles downstream. The opposing parties fought a skirmish across Rutledge Shoals at rifle range. Although they were separated by the Saluda River, this affair was conducted in such deadly earnest that several people were killed on both sides.

This rocky ford on the Saluda River was located about three quarters of a mile south of the Indian Boundary line, which now divides Anderson and Greenville counties from Abbeville and Laurens counties. The ford has been replaced by a bridge on a secondary road.


Johnson, Joseph, Traditions and Reminiscences, Chiefly of the American Revolution in the ..., 1851:

"The Georgians were soon joined by the South Carolinians, under McCall, S. Hammond, and Liddle, and proceeded to attack a party of Loyalists, forted near Colonel Hoils' old establishment, on the Saluda. They marched all night and reached the post at daylight, but the enemy had evacuated it a little before our arrival, and passed the Saluda, at Rutledge's ford, a very rough and rocky pass. Here a smart skirmish took place at long shot across the river, and several men were killed on both sides. After this, Colonel Twiggs retreated seventeen or eighteen miles, to Hoil's old place, and rested there."


After the battle of Blackstocks, Brigadier General Thomas Sumter's forces went northwards. When they passed Lawson's Fork Creek the Georgians under Col. Elijah Clarke, Col. John Twiggs, and Col. Benjamin Few separated and headed westward. A small group of South Carolinians joined the Georgians, and this combined force moved to a Loyalist fort known as Hoil's Old Place on the Saluda River.

When the Loyalists heard of the approaching army they abandoned their small fort and crossed the Saluda River at Rutledge's Ford. The two parties exchanged rifle fire at long range, killing several men on both sides.

Col. Elijah Clarke and his men continued on to the settlement of Long Canes. His objective was the fort at Ninety-Six under the command of Lt. Col. John Harris Cruger.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Wilkes County Regiment of Militia (GA) detachment led by Col. Elijah Clarke, with unknown number of men

Burke County Regiment of Militia (GA) detachment led by Col. John Twiggs, with unknown number of men

Richmond County Regiment of Militia (GA) detachment led by Col. Benjamin Few, with unknown number of men

Upper Ninety-Six District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Lt. Col. James McCall, with one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Moses Liddell

Lower Ninety-Six District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Major Samuel Hammond, with unknown number of men

Unknown number of Loyalists

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-



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