The American Revolution in South Carolina

Kingstree #2

August 27, 1780

Patriot Cdr:

Major John James
British Cdr:

Major James Wemyss




included in above


Old District: 

Georgetown District
Present County:

Williamsburg County

One source asserts this event happened on September 7th, but based on all available info, the above date seems more correct. The reader may decide on this one.

Within two days after the ambush at Great Savannah, Col. Francis Marion moved to intercept British Major James Wemyss on his way from the High Hills of the Santee to the Kingstree area. With Major Wemyss was his own 63rd Regiment totaling about 300 (one account says 500) British Regulars. Upon hearing of the incident at Great Savannah, Lt. Gen. Charles, Lord Cornwallis ordered Major Wemyss out of Camden to get rid of Col. Francis Marion. Many of the 63rd Regiment, however, were weak from Malaria.

In support of Major Wemyss, Lord Cornwallis also sent Major John Harrison’s Provincials, the South Carolina Rangers, and Col. Samuel Bryan’s North Carolina Volunteers (Loyalists). As well, Lt. Col. John Hamilton and 100 men of the Royal North Carolina Regiment (Provincials) were dispatched to the nearby Radcliffe’s Bridge. While in the area, Major Wemyss had been burning houses and confiscating horses from the Patriots.

Col. Francis Marion sent Major John James to scout ahead. In a night attack, Major James subsequently waylaid Major Wemyss' stragglers and captured thirty of the enemy, then beat a hasty retreat. According to McCrady’s numbers, Col. Marion had 150, lost 30 killed and wounded; Major Wemyss had 300, 15 were killed and wounded, and 15 taken prisoner. Major James soon rejoined Col. Marion, who then fell back to Port’s Ferry.

After this attack, 400 British Regulars and Loyalists reinforced Major James Wemyss. Col. Marion soon decided that this force was too strong for his small partisan group, so he disbanded his men, and with a small group of officers and men temporarily went into North Carolina and camped at Ami's Mill on Drowning Creek (now called the Lumber River).

Casualties: Patriots: 5 killed, 15 wounded, 10 captured; British: 15 killed & wounded, 15 captured.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Kingstree Regiment detachment led by Major John James with 150 men, captains not known.

Probably several other small detachments, not named



63rd Regiment of Foot led by Major James Wemyss with about 300 men

South Carolina Rangers led by Major John Harrison

North Carolina Volunteers - Loyalist Militia led by Col. Samuel Bryan

Royal NC Regiment led by Lt. Col. John Hamilton

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