The American Revolution in South Carolina

Videau's Bridge

January 3, 1782

Patriot Cdr:

Col. Richard Richardson, Jr.
Loyalist Cdr:

Major William Brereton






Old District: 

Charles Town District
Present County:

Berkeley County

aka Smith's Plantation.

Provincial Major William Brereton with approximately 350 infantry and cavalry went against Patriot Col. Richard Richardson, Jr., with a mounted force, mostly newly-recruited militiamen, who panicked. Approximately fifty Patriots were killed and twenty captured. Major Brereton lost one officer killed and another officer and one dragoon wounded.
As 1782 arrived, the British found themselves penned up in Charlestown surrounded by a combination of Patriot Militia and Continental soldiers. British Major General Alexander Leslie was now the commandant of the city and had to slaughter 200 horses because he had nothing to feed them. To protect the river approaches to Charlestown, Major General Leslie had several small nearby outposts which were guarded by armed galleys.

One of these armed galleys was on the Wando River guarding the outpost on Daniel's Island, which was now under surveillance by Col. Richard Richardson, Jr. and his Berkeley County Regiment of Militia that was based in nearby Cainhoy. The British used the armed galleys primarily to guard foraging parties looking for foodstuffs in the surrounding countryside, which totally irritated the Patriots.

Major General Leslie received reports that Brigadier General Francis Marion's numerous and spread-out detachments might be vulnerable, so he ordered Major William Brereton to cross the Cooper River and invade St. Thomas's Parish. On January 2nd, Major Brereton made it to Daniel's Island with 350 infantry and cavalry and then moved up the Strawberry Road.

Col. Richard Richardson, Jr. knew that he was outnumbered so he requested reinforcements from Brigadier General Marion, who was low on men, but he did send a detachment of new and inexperienced cavalry from Lt. Col. Hezekiah Maham's SC 3rd Regiment of State Dragoons, led by Major Samuel Cooper.

Major Brereton marched across Daniel's Island and crossed Beresford Creek, then rested his men at Brabant Plantation, the home of Rev. Robert Smith. Major Brereton placed troops on Videau's Bridge to guard the approaches leading to the plantation. Col. Richardson had his men to circle around and come at the bridge from the north. Col. Richardson did some reconnoitering on his own, but soon came racing back with the NY Volunteers, the SC Royalists, and the Independent Troop of Black Dragoons hot on his tail. When he reached his own men, he wheeled around and ordered a charge.

Patriot Major Samuel Cooper charged with his cavalry and the British immediately retreated. At Videau's Bridge, the untrained men were fired upon by British infantry and 22 were killed. Major Coffin charged the confused Patriots with fresh cavalry causing the new recruits to flee. Some of Lt. Col. Hezekiah Maham's veterans, led by Major Samuel Cooper, stayed and fought, but they too were almost slaughtered.

In the intense fight, Capt. George Sinclair Capers had taken three sword thrusts in the body. Provincial Capt. Archibald Campbell was killed when he attempted to escape after he had been captured. The British forces pursued the Patriots on a six mile running gun battle before they turned back to the main force. Major Brereton continued raiding cattle, foraging as far north as Quinby's Bridge before he returned to Haddrell's Point.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. Richard Richardson, Jr. - Commanding Officer

Berkeley County Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. Richard Richardson, Jr. with two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. William Capers
- Capt. Gavin Witherspoon

SC 3rd Regiment of State Dragoons (State Troops) detachment led by Major Samuel Cooper, with three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. William Bennett
- Capt. George Sinclair Capers (wounded)
- Capt. John Carraway Smith

Total Patriot Forces - 400

Major William Brereton - Commanding Officer

British Regulars, Grenadiers & Light Infantry led by Major William Brereton

NY Volunteers, Major John Coffin's Troop of Mounted Infantry led by Major John Coffin

SC Royalists detachment led by Capt. Archibald Campbell (killed)

Volunteers of Ireland led by Major John Doyle

Independent Troop of Black Dragoons (Loyalists) led by Capt. March with Lt. Mingo

Total British/Loyalist Forces - 360

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