Saturday, November 27, 2010

Next two series we are working on

The next two series we are working on are the South Carolina campaigns against East Florida and the fall of Savannah to the British. We hope that everyone is enjoying the Swamp Fox Brigade blog as much as we are publishing it. Comments are always welcomed and appreciated here at the Brigade!!!!!!

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

From our family to yours we hope you a blessed Thanksgiving. 

Psalm 107:1 
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Major General William Moultrie

November the 23rd, 1730 William Moultrie the hero of Sullivan’s Island was born in Charlestown, South Carolina.

William Moultrie

Monday, November 22, 2010

The destruction of the Cherokee Nation in the Back Country: Part 4

In August of 1776 the Cherokee and their Loyalist allies decide to attack Col. Williams and his forces gathering to try to prevent the patriots from continuing their counter attack against the Cherokee homelands. To accomplish this 1200 braves attack Williams and his advance force early in the morning of August the first to try to destroy the threat to their Cherokee homes. This attack failed to dislodge Williams and his force because Andrew Pickens and a relief force was able to rush to Williams aid to check the Cherokee attack.  This failed attack was the last major attack of the Cherokee against the patriot force outside their land. Once the Cherokee were beaten back Williams along with Pickens began to enter the Lower Cherokee towns and began to apply the torch to them and their surrounding fields. Thus the total war against the Cherokee Nation began with the torch touching anything that the patriots felt could help the Cherokee in their path.

Andrew Pickens
On August 12th, 1776 Andrew Pickens along with thirty-five men were caught in an ambush by a large group of Cherokees. This is where Pickens entered the realm of folk lore hero with his famous Ring Fight. Pickens formed his men into a two circles and had them fire two at a time to keep the Cherokee at bay until a relief force commanded by his brother Joseph Pickens could reach them.  Until the relief force reached them the men continued their fire on the Cherokee and even resorted to hand to hand combat when a group of Cherokees tried to charge the circle. Once the Cherokee were driven off it was discovered that only one of Pickens men was wounded, while his man claimed to of killed up to over eighty attackers.

Thomas Sumter
By August the twentieth the Patriots rushed counter attack was starting to fall apart as men began to run out of supplies and the supplies promised from Charlestown had not yet reached them. As a result Williams ordered most of the men home to replenish their supplies and to recruit others to come and join them against the Cherokee. These new recruits would have been the ones left home to protect the towns and settlements as Williams and Pickens began to set up a hurried defense and attack the Cherokee back in early July. To ensure that the Cherokee would know they were not finished and to protect from another Cherokee attack Williams built Fort Rutledge at the destroyed lower town of Essenca (present day Clemson) as a rallying point for the new recruits and as a staging area for the next round of attacks against the Cherokee.  On September the twelve Col. Thomas Sumter and his men along with the promised supplies from Charlestown arrives to help bolster the troop numbers and supplies needed.

By October 1776 Virginia and North Carolina also started attacks again the Cherokee Nation in order to protect their frontier. Thus by October of 1776 the Cherokee were fighting Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia militias at all points along their border. As a result of these fighting everyone and every where the Cherokee were hard pressed to stop the patriots as they went from village to village burning them to the ground. All of their lands are touched by the sword and flame from the lower villages to the over the mountain villages. As winter approached they found themselves without shelter, without food, and without help from their British Allies. They continued to try and fight through the winter and early spring but by May of 1777 they were ready to make peace. As a result of the peace treaty, they gave up all of their lands in the lower villages thus removing the Cherokee from the back country of South Carolina. This brought peace to the back country and South Carolina which was spared from war for the next two years because of it. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Patriot Response to the Cherokee Attacks

Gov. Rutledge
Once survivors began to make their way to settlements where they could get protection and spread the alarm the people of the back country began to rally to protect their homes and loved ones. The first major attempt of organizing resistance was with Major Andrew Williams who sent out the word for the word for his Ninety Six Militia Regiment to assemble to repel the Cherokee onslaught. This effort for some days was meet with futility as few people reported to Williams call because of fear of their homes being attacked while they were gone. Also during this time period riders where sent down to Charlestown to inform the government there of what was transpiring on the frontier. At this point the officials in Charlestown, including General Lee and Gov. Rutledge were still watching for a possible second attack from the British forces located in Charlestown Harbor when word reached them of the new enemy attacking along the frontier. After several days of waiting the South Carolina government released the Third South Carolina under Thomson, the Fifth under Huger, and the Sixth South Carolina under Sumter to begin the track up the Cherokee trail to assist the local militias with dealing with the attacks. The first to get up the Cherokee Trail was the Third South Carolina and Fifth South Carolina with the Sixth following behind them collecting supplies for the troops already in the Back Country and for future operations.
As Major Andrew Williams was continuing gathering his forces the first of the other Militia Regiments began to combine with his force. The first to come to his assistance was that of Major Andrew Pickens know as the “Wizard Owl” or the “Fighting Elder” with his Lower District Militia Regiment.  Other Militia Regiments began to form and moved towards Major Williams camp to help push back the Cherokee and to punish them for these attacks. These other militia regiments included the New Acquisition Regiment, Spartan Regiment, Little River Regiment, Camden Regiment, Fairfield Regiment, Upper Craven County Regiment, a Georgia Militia Regiment under the command of Col. Samuel Jack, and a group of Catawba Indians who had been fighting against the Cherokee for many generations and were more than happy to help settle an old debt with an old enemy.  Another group also offered their help against the Cherokee also, this was the Loyalist of the Back Country who had only a few months before been fighting against the Patriots in the Snow Campaign. These Loyalist were lead by Captain Robert Cunningham who offered to raise his Loyalist Regiment to help defeat the Cherokees. When Captain Cunningham offered his sword and that of his men to fight along with the Patriots they were refused. For logical reason we can understand why Williams refused Cunningham whom he had just been fighting some months before, but the question must also be asked why Cunningham and his men fighting alongside the Cherokee as other Loyalist wasn’t were at this time?  Did they not know this was an attack orchestrated by the crown or did they not want to be known among their friends and peers as those whom had assisted in this unleashing of total war?

William Henry Drayton
As this back country army formed they received unofficial orders for their expedition against the Cherokee nation from William Henry Drayton. In his letter Word to the Wise he told the expedition to “cut up every Indian corn field and burn every Indian town.” This letter was not official and surely not needed as a catalyst to let the back country know what they could or could not do against the Cherokee. These were people use to no prisoners taken type of fighting against the Cherokee Nation as they had already fought with the Cherokee numerous times and   understood this was not a war of territory, but that of survival for each. Whoever was left standing after this war would be masters of these lands and both knew the cost would be total war along the frontier. Once the Cherokee Nation started these attacks the gloves were off and nobody from Charlestown need worry what the back country population would do to the Cherokee once they organized and went out for vengeance.

On July 15th it was found out by the Patriots that the Loyalist were more involved than what they thought in the 
Cherokee attacks. On July 15th a siege lead by the Cherokee was broken by the Patriots at Fort Lyndley which was the first check against the Cherokee since the attacks began two weeks earlier. After the siege was lifted, Loyalist were captured dressed as Indians who had help in the attack against the Patriot fort. This only hardened the feelings of the Patriots against the Cherokee and the Loyalist in the battles to come.
As Major Williams force grew he began to move closer to the Cherokee lands to set up a base of operation to shield the settlements from further attack and to act as a jump off point to attack the Cherokee towns across the border.

Our next article will be about the Patriot Counter Attack against the Cherokee.