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Williamson's Plantation

Huck's Defeat

South Carolina  |  Jul 12, 1780

By May 1780, British forces controlled four important towns in South Carolina: Camden, Cheraw, Georgetown, and Ninety-Six—and the city of Charleston. That June, a British fortified outpost was established near the North Carolina border along the Catawba River and Lieutenant Colonel George Turnbull was placed in charge. Turnbull assigned Captain Christian Huck to persuade patriot leaders and sympathizers in the area to join the British forces or be arrested.  

Huck was a German-born lawyer from Philadelphia and nicknamed “the swearing captain.” He had a quick temper and a general dislike for Presbyterians. His favorite pastime was terrorizing the local rebel population. While on patrol, he and his troops killed an unarmed boy who was reading the Bible and burned the library of the Presbyterian Rev. John Simpson. On June 11, Huck destroyed the Fishing Creek Presbyterian Meeting House in current day Chester County where Patriot sympathizers usually met and a week later, he burned William Hill’s ironworks for similar reasons. 

In July, Turnbull heard rumors that local Patriot militia leaders, Colonel William Bratton and Captain John McClure, were returning to their homesteads to monitor the wheat harvest and enlist new recruits. Turnbull assigned Huck to capture these leaders, and on July 10th Huck set off with 120 men in pursuit of the Patriot forces. 

Huck arrived at McClure’s homestead the morning of July 11th. McClure was not there. Huck, angry at the absence, terrorized McClure’s wife, set fire to their house, and captured McClure’s younger brother James and his brother-in-law Edward Martin. Both were sentenced to be hanged the next morning for aiding the rebels. Huck arrested three more of McClure’s and Bratton’s neighbors under the same reasoning later that day.  

Huck continued to Bratton’s homestead ten miles north. Neighbors warned Martha Robertson Bratton, William Bratton’s wife, that Huck was on his way. She dispatched Watt, a family slave, with a note for her husband to warn him about Huck’s approach. Before Huck could arrive, Loyalist New York Volunteers and a separate Tory militia came to question her. When she wouldn’t reveal her husband’s whereabouts, a Tory militiaman threatened her with a reaping hook that had been hanging on her porch. A New York Volunteer intervened and separated her from the attacker.  

When Huck arrived at the Homestead, Martha continued to deny knowledge of her husband’s whereabouts. Huck forced her to make dinner for the officers and then locked her in the attic with her children. After supper, Huck and his soldiers retired to the nearby Williamson plantation for the night.  

Watt found William Bratton and gave him Martha’s note. Bratton set out with some 140 militiamen to attack the British. After locating the troops at Williamson’s plantation, the men split into two groups and attacked from opposing sides of the British camp before sunrise. Soldiers used the surrounding fences as cover and to stabilize their muskets for better accuracy. The fences, too, served to pen up the Tories. Colonel Matthew Floyd and a fraction of his Loyalist men fled into the surrounding forest and escaped. Colonel James Ferguson was shot and killed while Lieutenant John Adamson of the New York Volunteers fell from his horse and was wounded. After hearing gunshots, Captain Huck emerged from the plantation house and mounted his horse. While trying to advance with his saber in hand, he was mortally wounded, shot through the head. None of the prisoners arrested the day before were killed in the altercation.  

With the death of the terrorizing Captain Huck, South Carolina’s support and morale for the Patriot cause grew. 

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
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
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
Blackstock's Plantation
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
Guilford Courthouse
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
James Island, SC  |  Nov 14, 1782
Result: British Victory
Est. Casualties: 15
American: 10
British: 5

Related Battles

McConnells, SC | July 12, 1780
Result: American Victory
Commanders
Forces Engaged
260
American
140
British
120
Estimated Casualties
96
American
1
British
95