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

August 16, 1780

May 15, 1781

September 30, 1781

November 15, 1781

January 31, 1782

December 14, 1782


According to some historians, Thomas Sumter assumed the rank of brigadier general in June of 1780, however, Gov. John Rutledge made it official in October of 1780. Marion was commissioned as brigadier general in late December of 1780, but he did not know it until New Years Day of 1781. Andrew Pickens had given his parole to the British after the Fall of Charlestown, but since the British had destroyed his property he came out of retirement just prior to the battle of Cowpens. Gov. Rutledge commissioned him as a brigadier general soon thereafter. Col. James Williams - of the Little River District Regiment - had been commissioned as a brigadier general by Gov. Rutledge after the battle of Musgrove's Mill, but Williams was killed at the battle of Kings Mountain (10/7/1780) before he even knew of his promotion.

Col. Joseph Hayes took over the Little River District Regiment (militia) upon the death of Col. James Williams. Col. David Glynn took over the Lower District Regiment (militia). Col. William Bratton took over the New Acquisition District Regiment upon the second resignation of Col. Samuel Watson.

As shown above, two of the three brigades of militia were established and functioning by January 20, 1781 - but, there still were no civil authorities within the State leading them, so they acted as they deemed appropriate within their domains, which did not overlap very much.

Brig. Gen. Andrew Pickens followed Brig. Gen. Daniel Morgan and Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene in their famous "Race to the Dan" in early 1781. Upon the death of North Carolina Brig. Gen. (Pro Tempore) William Lee Davidson at the battle of Cowan's Ford (NC) on February 1, 1781, the local NC militia leaders convinced Brig. Gen. Andrew Pickens to take over leadership of the NC Salisbury District Brigade of Militia on a temporary basis, and Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene concurred. There are no extant records to indicate whether the NC civilian government officially concurred. However, Brig. Gen. Andrew Pickens continued to lead NC militia troops in February and early March, then returned to SC just prior to the battle of Guilford Court House (3/15/1781) to pull together his own SC brigade of militia as shown above.

After the defeat of Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates at the battle of Camden in August of 1780, the Continental Congress was less involved in the selection of the next commander for the Southern Department - Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene - who was personally selected by General George Washington. Maj. Gen. Greene arrived in South Carolina in early January of 1781 and sought out the local militia leaders - Sumter, Marion, and Pickens. He would not make the same mistake as Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates - Greene knew that he would need a much greater cooperation with and by the militia if he were to be successful in the Carolinas. Still skeptical, the militia leaders did not immediately warm up to Maj. Gen. Greene - all avoided the possibility of getting "direct orders" from Greene, just so they could continue to go their own way, which they all seemed to prefer.

After Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene returned to South Carolina in early April of 1781, the SC militia leaders slowly warmed up to joint Continental - Militia operations, but it was not until the battle of Eutaw Springs (9/8/1781) that this partnership began to prove it was going to work out.

© 2014 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved