Sunday, April 11, 2010

Battle of Stono Ferry Part Two

As we left off last time, General Prevost has decided to move his British troop back to Savannah using the Sea Islands as protection since the Royal Navy controls these waters and so that he can move his troops through areas where they can find supplies. To accomplish this, he first selected the Stono Ferry as his main land disembark point to start his plan of island hopping back to Savannah. From the Stono Ferry he was shipping his troops across from the river from main land to John’s Island. So this is the point where he needed to protect his beach head the most. This was the one spot where the Continentals could attack him without having to chase him from island to island. Also this point gave him an avenue to allow any Tories to join his ranks and to forage if possible.

To accomplish this goal, he built a position guarding the ferry. This included three redoubts with cannons, an abates all along the perimeter of fallen trees with the limbs and points sticking out to slowing the enemy advancing, and around 900 men under the command of Lt. Col John Maitland of the 71st Regiment of Foot (Frasier’s Highlanders). With Lt. Col Maitland at Stono Ferry he had his First battalion of the 71st, a detachment of Royal Artillery, a detachment of Hesse Kassel Regiment (Hessians), the Royal North Carolina Regiment (Provincial Unit), a royal navy barge, and South Carolina Tory Militia. Their job to hold the ferry landing on the Charleston side until the main British force had made its way across Johns Island. They were not looking for a fight since the main bulk had already crossed the river and they were exposed until they got across the Stono also.

The date that started the British retreat from Charleston back to Savannah was May the 12th when the bluff was up and Prevost decided the time was right to leave. Some time on June the 12th General Lincoln decided it was time to follow the British with his full Continental Army. Charleston was secure from the British attack and this was his chance to attack them with a superior force. To accomplish this he decided on a two prong attack. The first prong was to be himself with the 4rth North Carolina, the 5th North Carolina, the 4rth South Carolina (Artillery), North Carolina Militia, the Sixth South Carolina, the 3rd South Carolina (Rangers), the 1st Georgia, the 2nd Georgia, the 3rd Georgia, the 4rth Georgia, South Carolina Militia, Count Pulaski’s Legion, North Carolina Dragoons, South Carolina Dragoons, South Carolina Militia, and Virginia Militia. This main force was to proceed directly from Charleston down the Jacksonboro Road to Stono Ferry and attack the British position there. While he was doing that General Moultrie of the first attack of Charleston fame was to take a mixture of militia and some Continental troops from the garrison of Charleston and move across the Wappoo River to James Island. Once on James Island he was to make a demonstration to catch the main British forces attention while he attacked the exposed force on the main land. The big problem for this was that he needed to cross the river before the attack was to begin to accomplish this diversion of the main British force, which as events pan out he does not accomplish.

On the morning of June 20th almost six weeks since Prevost asked Charleston to surrender, General Lincoln had forced marched his army 8 miles and was now ready to attack the Stono Ferry with his main force.  The British force was behind its defensive works and readying its self for the American attack. This sets the stage for part three of the Battle of Stono Ferry which will be up next week.

The American Forces at the Battle of Stono Ferry

Brig. General Benjamin Lincoln

Right wing of Attack
Commander Brig. General Jethro Sumner of North Carolina

4th North Carolina
Hillsborough District Militia NC
4th SC Artillery detachment

Left Wing of Attack
Commander Brig. General Isaac Huger

1st South Carolina
3rd South Carolina
4rth SC Artillery detachement
6th South Carolina
1st Brigade of South Carolina Militia
2nd Brigade of South Carolina Militia
3rd Brigade of South Carolina Militia
4rth Brigade of South Carolina Militia

Commander Brig General Count Pulaski

Pulaski’s Legion
South Carolina Light Dragoons
Lower Ninty six District regiment
Virginia Militia
Catawba Indian Company
Virginia Militia Artillery

Flags of the Hesse Kassel and 71st Regiments

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