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The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies
New York Volunteers/British Legion/South Carolina Militia:
Battle of Rocky Mount, South Carolina


AN instance of treachery which took place about this time, ruined all confidence between the regulars and the militia:

The inhabitants in the districts of the rivers Ennoree and Tyger had been enrolled since the siege of Charles town, under the orders of Colonel Floyd; Colonel Neale, the former commanding officer, having fled out of the province for his violent persecution of the loyalists.

One Lisle, who had belonged to the same corps, and who had been banished to the islands, availing himself of the proclamation to exchange his parole for a certificate of his being a good citizen, was made second in command:

And as soon as the battalion was completed with arms and ammunition, he carried it off to Colonel Neale, who had joined Colonel Sumpter's command in the Catawba.

THIS reinforcement, added to his former numbers, inspired Colonel Sumpter with a desire of signalizing himself, by attacking some of the British posts upon the frontier.

Having gained the necessary information, he directed his efforts against the corps at Rocky mount.

Near the end of July he passed the Broad river, at Blair's ford, with about nine hundred men, and advanced upon TURNBULL, whose force was composed of one hundred and fifty provincials, and as many militia.

The defences of Rocky mount consisted of two log houses, a loop-holed building, and an abbatis; placed upon an eminence, which commanded a view of the neighbouring country.

Colonel Sumpter having no cannon to destroy the abbatis, or the buildings, selected some of his bravest followers, to remove the former, and to endeavour to set fire to the latter, whilst his people, under cover of the trees and rocks, on the declivity of the mountain, maintained a heavy fire upon the garrison.

After three attacks, in the last of which some of the forlorn hope penetrated within the abbatis, the American commander retreated with loss and precipitation.

In the gallant defence of this post, Lieutenant-colonel TURNBULL had one officer killed, one wounded, and about ten men killed and wounded.

Lieutenant-Colonel Banastre Tarleton, A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in the Southern Provinces of North America, (1787; reprint, North Stratford, NH: Ayer Company Publishers, Inc., 1999), Chapter II, pp. 93-94.

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