PDF Andrew Pickens: South Carolina Patriot in the Revolutionary War

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Battleground of Freedom.

American Revolution: Battle of Kettle Creek

Ketchum, Richard M. The American Heritage Book of the Revolution. Majtenyi, Joan E. Andrew Pickens. Oconee County Historical Society, Morrill, Dan L. Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution. Moss, Bobby Gilmer. The Patriots at the Cowpens. Revised Edition. Blacksburg, South Carolina: Scotia Press, National Park Service. Cowpens - Official National Park Handbook.

Washington, D. Department of the Interior, Skelton, Lynda Worley.

General Andrew Pickens: An Autobiography. Explore This Park. Cowpens National Battlefield South Carolina. Info Alerts Maps Calendar Reserve. Alerts In Effect Dismiss. Brigadier General Augustine Prevost arrived the following month with reinforcements and assumed command in Savannah.

Seeking to expand British control into the interior of Georgia, he directed Campbell to take around 1, men to secure Augusta. Unwilling to directly engage the British, Williamson limited his actions to skirmishing before Campbell reached his objective a week later. In an effort to bolster his numbers, Campbell commenced recruiting Loyalists to the British cause. Gathering around men in central South Carolina, Boyd turned south to return to Augusta. This force quickly received orders to join Williamson for operations against Campbell's troops at Augusta. Joined by around South Carolina militia under Colonel Andrew Pickens, Dooly agreed to begin offensive operations in Georgia with the former in overall command.

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Crossing the river on February 10, Pickens and Dooly attempted to strike a British camp southeast of Augusta. Arriving, they found that the occupants had departed. Mounting a pursuit, they cornered the enemy at Carr's Fort a short time later. As his men commenced a siege, Pickens received information that Boyd's column was moving towards Augusta with to men. Anticipating that Boyd would attempt to cross the river near the mouth of the Broad River, Pickens assumed a strong position in this area.

The Loyalist commander instead slipped north and, after being repulsed by Patriot forces at Cherokee Ford, moved another five miles upstream before finding a suitable crossing. As this column moved on, the men plundered and pillaged along the way, predictably drawing angered Patriots to take up arms.

With only limited resources he was short of both men and funds , he was able to raise about 1, South Carolina militia, but did not have authorization to order them outside the state. When about South Carolina militia under Colonel Andrew Pickens arrived, Pickens and Dooly joined forces to conduct offensive operations into Georgia, with Pickens taking overall command. They were at some point joined by a few companies of North Carolina light horse militia.

Finding the camp unoccupied, they learned that the company was out on an extended patrol.


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Suspecting they would head for a stockaded frontier post called Carr's Fort, Pickens sent men directly there while the main body chased after the British. The British made it into the fort, but were forced to abandon their horses and baggage outside its walls. Pickens then besieged the fort until he learned that Boyd was passing through the Ninety Six district of South Carolina with seven to eight hundred Loyalists, headed for Georgia.

He reluctantly raised the siege and moved to intercept Boyd. Pickens established a strong presence near the mouth of the Broad River, where he expected Boyd might try to cross. However, Boyd, his force grown by then to men, chose to go to the north. He first tried Cherokee Ford, the southernmost fording of the Savannah River, where he was met with some resistance known as the Engagement at McGowen's Blockhouse. The encounter consisted of a detachment of eight Patriots commanded by Captain Robert Anderson with two small swivel guns in an entrenched position, who thwarted Boyd's approach to Cherokee Ford.

Boyd moved north upstream about 5 miles and crossed the Savannah River there, skirmishing with a small Patriot force that had shadowed his movements on the Georgia side.

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By the time Pickens learned that Boyd had crossed the river, he had himself crossed into South Carolina in an attempt to intercept Boyd. He immediately recrossed into Georgia upon learning of Boyd's whereabouts. Boyd was apparently unaware that he was being followed so closely, and his camp, even though guards were posted, was not particularly alert.

Pickens advanced, leading the center, with his right flank under Dooly and his left under Georgia Lt. Elijah Clarke.

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Gunfire between Patriot scouts and the camp guards alerted Boyd to the situation. Boyd formed a defensive line near the camp's rear and advanced with a force of men to oppose Pickens at a crude breastwork made of fencing and fallen trees. Pickens, whose advance gave him the advantage of high ground, was able to flank this position, even though his own wings were slowed by the swampy conditions near the creek.

In heavy fighting, Boyd went down with a mortal wound, and the small company retreated back to the main Loyalist line. The Patriot flanks then began to emerge from the swamps. Some of the Loyalists crossed the creek, abandoning horses and equipment. Clarke alertly noticed some high ground across the creek that they seemed to be heading for and led some of his men there, having his horse shot from under him in the process.