The American Revolution in South Carolina

Gibbes' Plantation

March 29-30, 1780

Patriot Cdr:

Lt. Col. John Laurens
British Cdr:

Lt. General Charles,
Lord Cornwallis






Old District: 

Charles Town District
Present County:

Charleston County

On March 29-30, the British force, commanded by Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis, was approaching Gibbes' Plantation. A combination of several Patriot units were hastily put together, commanded by Lt. Col. John Laurens, to stop the British advance. He posted his troops in an advanced redoubt on the King Street Road, about a mile from Charlestown. Another 1-1/2 miles from them, he placed a detachment of riflemen who set up an ambush in a wooded area along the road.

Around 12:00 p.m., the Patriots fired on the British as they entered the ambush area. Quickly, the Patriots realized that they were outnumbered and began a withdrawal. The running battle continued until the Patriots reached the redoubt and took cover inside. Lt. Col. Laurens was ordered to fall back to the Patriot lines, with the British occupying the abandoned positions. Lt. Col. Laurens decided to attack the abandoned positions, forcing the British back. The British counter-attacked, forcing the Patriots to fall back again.

De Brahm:

"The advanced guard of the enemy came within two miles of Charlestown, when a party of two hundred men, under Colonel John Laurens and a little while after two field-pieces, went out against them, who, after a skirmish of some hours, returned towards sun-set. The fortifications of Charlestown were, even at this time, very incomplete. All the negroes in town were impressed, who, together with the parties detailed from the garrison, were henceforth employed upon the works."

Letter from South Carolina printed in the Pennsylvania Packet, April 25:

“March 30.—Yesterday, a large body of British grenadiers and infantry crossed the Ashley River, and to-day they appeared before the American line, where they are now camped. As the enemy approached, Colonel John Laurens, with a small party, had a brush with the advance body, in which Captain Bowman of the North Carolina forces, fell, much lamented; Major Herne [Edmund Hyrne] and two privates were wounded. The enemies loss is reported to be from twelve to sixteen killed. A French gentlemen, who was a volunteer in the action, says he counted eight and a Highland deserter says Col. St. Clair was mortally wounded.”

Casualties: Patriots: 1 killed, 8 wounded; British: 9 killed, 11 wounded, 5 missing

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Lt. Col. John Laurens with 200 men of his Continental Corps of Light Infantry and six field pieces

Duplin County Regiment Militia (NC) detachment led by Major Jean-Baptiste Ternant, Major Philip Love, with Capt. Bowman and unknown number of men

Beaufort District Regiment of Militia (SC) detachment led by Lt. Col. Robert Barnwell with unknown number of men

SC 1st Regiment detachment led by Major Edmund Massinbird Hyrne with unknown number of men

Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis commanding British Regulars and Hessian troops, with:

Brigade of Light Infantry, 1st Battalion led by Lt. Col. Robert Abercromby

Brigade of Light Infantry, 2nd Battalion led by Lt. Col. Thomas Dundas

Hesse-Kassel Fed Jaeger Korps led by Capt. Johann Ewald

Royal Regiment of Artillery with 4 guns


© 2008 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved