The American Revolution in South Carolina

Combahee Ferry

August 25, 1782

Patriot Cdr:

Brigadier General
Mordecai Gist (MD)
British Cdr:

Major William Brereton






Old District: 

Charles Town District/ Beaufort District
Present County:

Colleton County/
Beaufort County

aka Tar Bluff, aka Chehaw Neck.

Near Beaufort – Lt. Col. John Laurens in command of a detachment of Continentals attacked British Regulars making a landing at the ferry. Lt. Col. Laurens routed the British, but while pursuing them he was drawn into an ambush and killed.
In August of 1782, Brigadier General Mordecai Gist with a unit of Continental Cavalry under Col. George Baylor and a unit of Continental Light Infantry under Lt. Col. John Laurens was detached by Major General Nathanael Greene to stop the British and Loyalist forces from plundering plantations in the Beaufort and Colleton districts.

This detachment found 300 British Regulars and 200 Loyalists with 18 vessels already on the Combahee River. Brigadier General Gist sent part of his forces across the Combahee Ferry to drive them off, and sent Lt. Col. John Laurens downriver to intercept any that might attempt to flee.

At Tar Bluff, Lt. Col. Laurens threw up a hasty earthwork with fifty (50) men and a howitzer. This small group stopped the British flotilla. British Major William Brereton arrived and quickly dislodged the small Patriot group, killing Lt. Col. Laurens and several of his men. The British forces escaped Brigadier General Gist's pursuit.

Major Brereton and his flotilla went up St. Helena Sound into the Coosaw River. On September 2nd, Brigadier General Mordecai Gist set up an artillery post at the Port Royal Fery and drove off Major William Brereton - the last major action in what is now Beaufort County during the war.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Brigadier General Mordecai Gist - Commanding Officer

MD 1st Regiment of Continentals led by "Unknown"

Corps of Light Infantry (Continentals) led by Lt. Col. John Laurens

DE Regiment of Continentals with 100 men in two (2) known companies:
- 1st Company led by Capt. William McKennan
- 2nd Company led by Capt. Paul Quenoualt

2nd NC Regiment of Continentals detachment led by Maj. Reading Blount, with 40 men

Artillery led by Capt. James Smith with 1 howitzer

Baylor's Consolidated Regiment of Dragoons led by Major Richard Call with Capt. William Armistead

Total Patriot Forces - 500

Major William Brereton - Commanding Officer

64th Regiment of Foot detachment led by Capt. Dennis Kelly

17th Regiment of Foot led by "Unknown"

84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants), 2nd Battalion (Young Royal Highlanders) led by "Unknown"

Armed Vessels:
- Sloop of War - Unknown
- Row Galley Balfour - two 9-pounders
- Row Galley Shark
- Row Galley "Unknown"
- 3 Brigantines

Total British/Loyalist Forces - 400



© 2017 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved