The American Revolution in South Carolina

March 1, 1775

June 21, 1775

November 21, 1775

February 29, 1776

April 15, 1776

June 4, 1776

October 31, 1776

February 15, 1777

October 30, 1777

March 28, 1778

January 10, 1779

October 10, 1779

January 20, 1780

May 12, 1780

June 1, 1780

January 20, 1781

May 15, 1781

September 30, 1781

November 15, 1781

January 31, 1782

December 14, 1782


By August of 1780, the Continental Army was back in business within South Carolina, and the militia groups were beginning to organize themselves into fairly useful military units. Thomas Sumter came out of retirement after many regimental leaders in the upcountry and the backcountry asked him to take the reins in mid-June. He was commissioned a Brigadier General on October 6, 1780 and the 1st Brigade of SC Militia was established after the Fall of Charlestown.

On August 17th, the men of the Kingstree Regiment convinced Francis Marion to lead them in the lowcountry against the British occupation that was expanding rapidly across the state. By the end of the year, six regiments joined Marion (one leaving Sumter in that month) as the beginnings of a new brigade of militia that was created in early January of 1781.

Twelve regiments of militia chose to "go it alone" and not to join either Sumter or Marion, but it was not long before they realized the error of their ways.

Two new regiments of militia were created - Hill's Regiment of Light Dragoons, led by Col. William Hill; and, Roebuck's Battalion of Spartan Regiment, led by Lt. Col./Col. Benjamin Roebuck. Hill attached his regiment to Col. Thomas Sumter, while Roebuck chose to go it alone for the time being. With the death of Col. Andrew Neel, Samuel Watson once again took over command of the New Acquisition District Regiment (militia).

Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates was appointed as the commander of the Continental Army, Southern Department, and he arrived in South Carolina in early August of 1780. It was not long before the British Army gave him a sound whooping in the battle of Camden on this date - August 16th.

The two militia leaders - Sumter and Marion - had totally different styles as well as totally different areas within South Carolina as their focus. So, they had no reason - nor need - to cooperate with each other at this point in time, especially since there was no one "over them" - officially. Just because Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates arrived in South Carolina did not mean that either Sumter or Marion had any great allegiance to him or the Continental Army. Both Sumter and Marion were of the opinion that the previous Continental Army was the primary cause of the Fall of Charlestown, so there was no great love lost between the South Carolina Militia and the Continental Army. However, things began to change slowly.

It as at this point in time that both Sumter and Marion realized - independently - that the only way to really outmaneuver the British Army was to get more men on horseback, and to quit relying on the infantry. Highly mobile troops - but, from where to get all the horses? Answer - steal them from the British Army, which was rapidly dispersing all over the state (and who had previously stolen most of them from Patriots in the lowcountry).

By the end of the year, almost all of the unaligned militia regiments had joined forces with either Sumter or Marion, with a third major group being initiated in early 1781 under Andrew Pickens.

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