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Charleston

Siege of Charleston

South Carolina  |  Mar 29 - May 12, 1780

In December 1779, the British Commander-in-Chief in America, General Sir Henry Clinton, left New York City with a fleet of ninety troopships, fourteen warships, and more than 13,500 soldiers and sailors. Sailing for Savannah, Georgia, Clinton planned to rendezvous with a force commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Mark Prevost and march overland to Charleston, South Carolina. Defending the city was a grossly outnumbered American army under the command of General Benjamin Lincoln.

In March 1780, Clinton, Prevost, and General Charles Lord Cornwallis, whose force had accompanied Clinton from New York, descended on Charleston. By early April, the combined British forces had successfully trapped the Americans in the beleaguered city.

To make matters worse for the defenders, British warships successfully ran past Fort Moultrie at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, further isolating Lincoln’s position by effectively closing off any means of escape or reinforcement. The noose only grew tighter as more British forces converged on the Charleston area and began to bombard the Americans’ hastily prepared defensive works.

On April 21, hoping to preserve his army, Lincoln offered to surrender the city if his men were allowed to leave unharmed. Clinton refused to accept these terms and quickly resumed his artillery bombardment.

Over the next two weeks, the British moved closer and closer to the American lines. By May 8, only a few yards separated the armies. Clinton demanded that Lincoln surrender unconditionally. The American general refused, so Clinton ordered the city bombarded with heated shot. As Charleston burned, Lincoln had no choice but to accept the inevitable.

The siege of Charleston finally came to a close on May 12, 1780. With General Lincoln’s surrender, an entire American army of roughly 5,000 men ceased to exist.

All battles of the Southern Theater 1780 - 1783 Campaign

Rev War  |  Battle
Charleston
South Carolina  |  Mar 29 - May 12, 1780
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 5,764
American: 5,506
British: 258
Rev War  |  Battle
Monck's Corner
South Carolina  |  Apr 14, 1780
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 102
American: 99
British: 3
Rev War  |  Battle
Lenud's Ferry
Berkeley, SC  |  May 6, 1780
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 41
American: 41
Rev War  |  Battle
Waxhaws
South Carolina  |  May 29, 1780
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 333
American: 316
British: 17
Rev War  |  Battle
Williamson's Plantation
South Carolina  |  Jul 12, 1780
Result: American Victory
Est. Casualties: 96
American: 1
British: 95
Rev War  |  Battle
Rocky Mount
South Carolina  |  Jul 30, 1780
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 32
American: 12
British: 20
Rev War  |  Battle
Hanging Rock
South Carolina  |  Aug 6, 1780
Result: American Victory
Est. Casualties: 253
American: 53
British: 200
Rev War  |  Battle
Camden
South Carolina  |  Aug 16, 1780
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 2,224
American: 1,900
British: 324
Rev War  |  Battle
Musgrove's Mill
South Carolina  |  Aug 18, 1780
Result: American Victory
Est. Casualties: 149
American: 16
British: 133
Rev War  |  Battle
Kings Mountain
South Carolina  |  Oct 7, 1780
Result: American Victory
Est. Casualties: 1,211
American: 90
British: 1,121
Rev War  |  Battle
Blackstocks Farm
Union, SC  |  Nov 20, 1780
Result: American Victory
American: 7
British: 192
Rev War  |  Battle
Rugeley's Mill
South Carolina  |  Dec 4, 1780
Result: American Victory
Rev War  |  Battle
Hammond's Store
South Carolina  |  Dec 30, 1780
Result: American Victory
Est. Casualties: 150
British: 150
Rev War  |  Battle
Cowpens
South Carolina  |  Jan 17, 1781
Result: American Victory
Est. Casualties: 1,017
American: 149
British: 868
Rev War  |  Battle
Pyle's Defeat
North Carolina  |  Feb 25, 1781
Result: American Victory
Est. Casualties: 344
American: 1
British: 343
Rev War  |  Battle
Guilford Court House
North Carolina  |  Mar 15, 1781
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 1,842
American: 1,310
British: 532
Rev War  |  Battle
Siege of Fort Watson
South Carolina  |  Apr 15 - 23, 1781
Result: Inconclusive
Est. Casualties: 116
American: 2
British: 114
Rev War  |  Battle
Hobkirk's Hill
South Carolina  |  Apr 25, 1781
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 532
American: 271
British: 261
Rev War  |  Battle
Ninety Six
South Carolina  |  May 22 - Jun 19, 1781
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 232
American: 147
British: 85
Rev War  |  Battle
Parker's Ferry
Colleton, SC  |  Aug 30, 1781
Result: American Victory
Est. Casualties: 209
American: 4
British: 205
Rev War  |  Battle
Eutaw Springs
South Carolina  |  Sep 8, 1781
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 1,461
American: 579
British: 882
Rev War  |  Battle
Dills Bluff
South Carolina  |  Nov 14, 1782
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 15
American: 10
British: 5

Related Battles

Charleston, SC | March 29, 1780
Result: British Victory
Commanders
Estimated Casualties
5,764
American
5,506
British
258

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