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Loyalist Muster Rolls
During the course of the war, the South Carolina Militia fighting for the Crown went through two incarnations - that of 1775 during the uprising in Ninety Six; and from the period of the fall of Charlestown in 1780 to the evacuation of that place two and a half years later. It is the latter period for which there are some rolls.
The Militia was originally envisioned by Sir Henry CLINTON as being centrally controlled by the British and raised more by companies than regiments. Patrick FERGUSON, the famous British officer, was appointed Inspector of Militia and charged with organizing them after CLINTON's departure.
Companies and regiments were formed throughout the province, by county, by district, and even by island along the coast. The regiments had field officers appointed, but due to almost constant amalgamations and changes in command, it is very difficult to distinguish many of the regiments from each other.
After the evacuation of the interior of the country in 1781, the different militia regiments were mostly reorganized and did garrison duty on James Island. Troops of cavalry were better regulated and disciplined. The different regiments were reduced further into large units, from their former districts, notably Ninety Six and Camden.
During the course of the war, perhaps over 5,000 officers and men passed through the ranks of the South Carolina Militia. Many of these no doubt also served in the Rebel ranks, either before or after their service for the Crown.
The rolls that still exist for these units are by no stretch of the imagination complete. They are a jumble of pay vouchers, mostly made out for or by Robert Gray, Paymaster to the Militia. Some list no more than a single officer or militiaman, while others list hundreds.
As opposed to the muster rolls of most of the Provincial regiments, the rolls of the militia reside in the Public Record Office in England. They can be found scattered among Treasury, Class 50, Volumes 1 - 5. Mixed in with them are memorials from officers, men and widows, plus vouchers for hospitals, refugees and even a school.
Treasury 50 is available on microfilm from such places as the National Archives of Canada and the David Library of the American Revolution in Washington Crossing, PA.
The Charlestown Militia must almost be considered as seperate and distinct. The Militia there consisted of two battalions, plus a volunteer regiment. The battalions were well organized, and included grenadier and light infantry companies.
Sadly, no rolls for them seem to exist. We were fortunate in finding one roll of officers in the Colonial Office Papers though, which we are pleased to include here.
The rolls presented here represent primarily the 1782 James Island period. The two cavalry rolls comprise the entire mounted contingent at that time. William CUNNINGHAM and his troop cut a swath of destruction throughout the province in late 1781 and early 1782. The other rolls are but a sample of the scores that exist in Treasury 50.
For additional information on this regiment please see the Regimental History of the the South Carolina Militia.
Click here for ---> Rolls for Other Regiments
The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies