With the 4th of July holiday fast approaching, here’s another seasonal post from Balladeer’s Blog. Since too many documentaries and books on the Revolutionary War focus on what seems like the same handful of battles I like focusing on a lot of the overlooked military clashes. This is another go-round.
NOVEMBER 19th, 1775 – Days earlier, British Loyalists in South Carolina seized large stores of gunpowder from the American Rebel forces. Starting a campaign to recover the gunpowder, roughly 560 men under Andrew Williamson established a fort at Savage’s Old Fields, near Ninety-Six, SC. The fort was surrounded by 1,900 British Loyalists under Patrick Cuningham and Joseph Robinson. A siege began.
NOVEMBER 21st, 1775 – After two days of fighting, the Loyalists agreed to withdraw from the area. The action of the 19th to 21st is known as the Siege of Savage’s Old Field or the First Siege of Ninety-Six.
DECEMBER 22nd, 1775 – A combined force of 1,300 South Carolina and North Carolina troops attacked over 500 British Loyalists at the Reedy River in the Battle of Great Cane Brake. The American Rebels won and, among other spoils, recovered the stolen gunpowder before the Loyalists could pass it along to Great Britain’s Cherokee allies.
MAY 2nd, 1776 – Though not itself a military action, this item was crucial to America’s war effort. King Louis XVI of France worked with American spies to covertly funnel a million dollars’ worth of munitions to the rebel troops. We had not yet declared independence, so this was done in the usual cloak and dagger antics that England, France and Spain often engaged in against each other.
JUNE 10th, 1776 – King Charles III of Spain also worked with American spies to funnel us roughly another million dollars’ worth of military supplies.
JULY 20th, 1776 – Cherokee allies of the British attacked Eaton’s Station, North Carolina, on the Holston River as well as Fort Watauga along the Watauga River. These were separate attacks coordinated by Cherokee Chiefs Ostenoco and Dragging Canoe. The men of Eaton’s Station defeated the attacking Cherokee.
JULY 21st, 1776 – North Carolina militiamen carried out a retaliatory raid on the Cherokee along the Watauga River.
AUGUST 1st, 1776 – At the Battle of Twelve Mile Creek, an army of British Loyalists and their Cherokee allies ambushed troops under America’s Major Colonel (a now disused rank) Andrew Williamson, defeating and driving them off.
AUGUST 1776 – Throughout the month, the Cherokee and other British-allied tribes like the Shawnee, Delaware, Mohawk, Choctaw and Muscogee, continued their raids on the scattered Overmountain Settlements which stringed the Appalachian Mountains all the way down to parts of South Carolina and Georgia.
OCTOBER 17th to NOVEMBER 16th, 1776 – Thousands of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia militiamen under General Griffith Rutherford and Colonel William Christian campaigned against thousands of Cherokee . Multiple battles of varying size occurred and by the end of this campaign Cherokee power in the region was broken and their warriors largely dispersed.