The American Revolution in South Carolina

Sampit Bridge

March 28, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Brigadier General
Francis Marion
British Cdr:

Lt. Col. John Watson Tadwell-Watson






Old District: 

Georgetown District
Present County:

Georgetown County

What is described below is the same event described in Sampit Bridge #1 on March 20th. Which date is correct is currently not known for sure. Both dates are identified by different sources but the events seem to be almost identical.

While resting his troops at Blakely's Plantation, Lt. Col. John Watson Tadwell-Watson and Brigadier Genera Francis Marion exchanged several messages. Each accused the other of violating the rules of war. As the seige continued, Lt. Col. Watson Tadwell-Watson's letters became more subdued. He asked for a pass for Lt. Torriano and other wounded so they could go onward to Charlestown for medical attention. Marion granted the request.

On March 28, Lt. Col. John Watson Tadwell-Watson and his British force decided it was time to break camp at Blakely's Plantation. Brigadier General Marion sent Lt. Col. Peter Horry’s horsemen ahead of Lt. Col. Watson Tadwell-Watson, and they destroyed the Sampit Bridge in his path as he headed down the road toward Georgetown. Lt. Col. Horry’s men were then set to receive the enemy, but they drove forward on them with bayonets affixed.

At the same time, however, Brigadier General Marion attacked and badly cut up his rear guard as it forded the Sampit River, since the bridge had already been partially destroyed by the partisans to impede the Provincials as they retired. His own horse shot out from under him, Lt. Col. Watson Tadwell-Watson then opened up his small cannon on Brigadier General Marion's men and drove them back.

Leaving twenty dead behind him, Lt. Col. Watson Tadwell-Watson then proceeded to Trapier’s Plantation where he camped. The next day, with a reported two wagonloads of wounded, the Provincials made it to Georgetown.

Although there is apparently no accurate count of Lt. Col. Watson Tadwell-Watson’s losses during his expedition against Brigadier General Francis Marion during this month, the total was reportedly not inconsiderable, 40 being both a reasonable and conservative estimate. Brigadier General Marion's casualties, on the other hand, appear to have been negligible.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Brigadier General Francis Marion - Commanding Officer

Kingstree Regiment of Militia detachment led by Major John James with one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Thomas Potts, with 40 men

Berkeley County Regiment of Militia detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Robert McCottry, with 30 men


- Capt. William McCottry

Horry's Light Dragoons (Militia) led by Lt. Col. Peter Horry, with three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Baxter
- Capt. William Black
- Capt. Daniel Conyers




Lt. Col. John Watson Tadwell-Watson - Commanding Officer of the 3rd Regiment of Guards.

Royal Regiment of Artillery - 2 field pieces

Provincials led by Major Thomas Barclay with the following units:

King's American Regiment, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. Thomas Cornwell

DeLancey's Brigade, 3rd Battalion, Capt. Gilbert Willett's Light Infantry Company led by Lt. Edmond Evans

NJ Volunteers, 1st Battalion, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. James Shaw

NJ Volunteers, 2nd Battalion, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. Norman McLeod

NJ Volunteers, 4th Battalion, Light Infantry Company led by Capt. Jacob Van Buskirk

SC Rangers - 80 men

Loyalist Militia led by Lt. Col. Henry Richbourg with Capt. John Brockington and 150 men

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