The American Revolution in South Carolina

The South Carolina Loyalists

Thomas Fletchall

Moses Kirkland

Patrick Cunningham

Robert Cunningham

William Cunningham

Joseph Robinson

John Mayfield

Stephen Mayfield

Alexander Chesney

Daniel McGirtt

Zacharias Gibbs 

David George

Over the course of 1775, Loyalists within South Carolina were identified and effectively silenced by the better organized Patriots.

In July of 1775, the Council of Safety sent out Chief Justice William Henry Drayton and Rev. William Tennant to the backcountry to pursuade those citizens to sign the "Continental Association." Many settlers in the fork between the Broad and Saluda rivers had earlier refused to sign it. Drayton and Tennant were escorted by Col. William Thomson, commander of the SC 3rd Regiment of Rangers. This trip lasted until October of 1775, and it was instrumental in the Patriots determining who the most vocal Loyalists were in all areas of the province.

Later that year, many of these high-profile Loyalists were rounded up and taken to Charlestown, where they were imprisoned, tried, and mostly found innocent of any real charges. Some escaped this and went directly to the new Royal Governor, who was himself exiled to the man-o-war Tamar in the Charletown Harbor. To make a long story short, the Patriots had the upper hand throughout the province and state until Charlestown fell to the British army in May of 1780.

At that point in time, Loyalist fever surfaced and many companies and regiments were established, with the assistance of the British army, who wanted more and more to join their ranks. However, the Patriots were not yet defeated and they had five years of experience creating militias and communication among the various regiments. The Loyalists had no time to learn, for they were immediately faced with battle, whether they were ready for it or not. Some were, most were not.

Year(s)

Regiment

Known Leaders

1775
New Acquisition Loyalist Militia Lt. Col. Joseph Robinson

1776
Upper Saluda Loyalist Militia Capt. David Fanning

1779
SC Loyalist Militia Col. James Boyd

"
SC Royalists Col. Alexander Innis

1780
Ninety-Six District Brigade of Loyalist Militia BG Robert Cunningham

"
Camden District Loyalist Militia Col. Henry Rugeley

"
Dutch Fork Loyalist Militia Col. Daniel Clary

"
Plummer's Regiment of Loyalist Militia Maj. Daniel Plummer

"
Long Canes Loyalist Militia Col. Richard King

"
Hamilton's Regiment of Loyalist Militia Col. John Hamilton

"
Spartan District Loyalist Militia Col. Zacharias Gibbs

"
Little River District Loyalist Militia Maj. Patrick Cunningham

"
Georgetown District Loyalist Militia Capt. James Lewis

1781
SC Light Dragoons Capt. Edward Fenwick

"
Orangeburgh District Loyalist Militia Col. John Fisher

"
Steven's Creek Loyalist Militia Col. John Cotton

"
Fair Forest Loyalist Militia Capt. Shadrack Lantry

"
Jackson Creek Loyalist Militia Col. John Phillips

"
Colleton County Loyalist Militia unknown

"
SC Rangers Maj. Thomas Fraser

"
Williams' Regiment of Loyalist Militia Col. Hezekiah Williams

1782
Beaufort District Loyalist Militia Maj. Andrew Deveaux
The above are the only ones clearly identified and known to be in battles and/or skirmishes with the Patriots over the course of the Revolutionary War in South Carolina. There were certainly other regiments and even independent companies of Loyalist militia established in South Carolina over the course of the war, but these others have not been identified by this Author as yet.


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