Battle of Lenud's Ferry

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The Battle of Lenud's Ferry was a battle of the American Revolutionary War that was fought on May 6, 1780 in present-day Berkeley County, South Carolina. All of the "British" soldiers who took part in the Battle of Lenud's Ferry were in fact Loyalists who had been born and raised in the colony of South Carolina, with the sole exception being their commanding officer Banastre Tarleton. The unit was known as the Loyalist British Legion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. The Loyalist British Legion scattered a company of Patriot militia at Lenud's Ferry, a crossing point on the Santee River, north of which lies present-day Georgetown County.

Background[edit]

General Sir Henry Clinton arrived before Charleston, South Carolina in late March 1780, and began siege preparations as the opening move in British plan to gain control over North and South Carolina. The city was defended by Continental Army troops under the command of General Benjamin Lincoln. Many of the rebels fighting in the battle of Lenud's Ferry were survivors of the Battle of Monck's Corner.[1]

As part of his plan to cut off Lincoln's avenues of escape from Charleston, Clinton sent out troops under Lord Cornwallis to identify places to impede or block potential Continental Army movements north of the city. Cornwallis stationed himself near the forks of the Wando River, and sent out patrols to watch the area.

Lieutenant Colonel William Washington's company of Patriot cavalry had been scattered by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion at Monck's Corner in mid-April. These troops regrouped several weeks later north of the Santee River, where they came under the command of Colonel Anthony Walton White, who had recently arrived with a company of dragoons from Virginia. White crossed the Santee on a probe to the south on May 5, while Col. Abraham Buford remained on the north side. They captured 18 British soldiers about four miles (6.4 km) north of Awendaw Creek, and returned to the Santee at Lenud's Ferry with their prisoners. Tarleton happened to be on a patrol with 150 dragoons heading toward Lenud's Ferry when he learned from a local Loyalist of the Patriot movements.[2]

Battle[edit]

Making all haste, Tarleton raced to the crossing. White had no patrols or scouts out so his men were completely unprepared when Tarleton approached. A significant number of men became casualties, five officers and 36 men, while White, Jamieson, and Washington joined others in escaping via the river. Tarleton lost 2 men and 4 horses.[2]

In Tarleton's words, "being totally surprised, resistance and slaughter soon ceased...All the horses, arms, and accoutrements of the Americans were captured. Colonels White, Washington, and Jamieson, with some officers and men, availed themselves of their swimming, to take their escape, while many who wished to follow their example perished in the river."[2]

Aftermath[edit]

Cornwallis claimed that this action "totalled demolished their Cavalry".[3] The battle showed that the British had control over the northern escape routes from the city of Charleston. Lincoln surrendered the city and his army, more than 5,000 men, on May 12.

References[edit]

  • Borick, Carl P (2003). A gallant defense: the Siege of Charleston, 1780. Univ of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-487-9. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Real History of the American Revolution: A New Look at the Past by Alan Axelrod page 315
  2. ^ a b c Buchanan, John (1997). The Road to Guilford Courthouse. New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 68-69. ISBN 9780471327165. 
  3. ^ Borick, p. 193