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.



Known Leaders

New Acquisition Loyalist Militia Lt. Col. Joseph Robinson

Upper Saluda Loyalist Militia Capt. David Fanning

SC Loyalist Militia Col. James Boyd

SC Royalists Col. Alexander Innis

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

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

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