This Day In U.S. History November 6, 1781 – Struggle for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – The American Revolution: Clash at Cloud’s Creek, South Carolina: A force of 300 Loyalists led by William “Bloody Bill” Cunningham assaults a group of 30 Patriots commanded by Captain George Turner, Captain James Butler Sr., and his son James Jr. The Patriots are slaughtered after attempting to surrender.
A small group of Patriot militia, led by Capt. James Butler, Sr. and Capt. Sterling Turner, about thirty in number, were overwhelmed and slaughtered by a force of 300 Loyalist militia led by Maj. William “Bloody Bill” Cunningham. Only two Patriot militiamen managed to escape.
After the negotiated truce at Tarrar’s Spring, Capt. Sterling Turner and Capt. James Butler camped at Cloud’s Creek. There had been a hard rain and all the men were soaked, and their guns would not fire. Capt. Turner went to the house of a Mr. Carter and asked for food and a dry place to put their guns in order, but Capt. Butler advised against stopping, as did one of Butler’s men, but Capt. Turner ignored this advice.
Maj. William Cunningham found out that they were at Mr. Carter’s home and he struck in broad daylight. The Patriots returned fire from inside the log home and sent out a messenger to ask for terms of surrender. Maj. Cunningham refused any terms that would include James Butler, Jr. (in the party of Patriots with his father), and Capt. Butler offered his own life in exchange for his son’s. Then his son fired out of the house and killed a Loyalist, ending all discussions, and ending up with the son dead.
The Patriots now only hoped for mercy, but “Bloody Bill” was again to live up to his name. He put his own sword to Capt. Butler, Capt. Turner and all but two men. Benjamin Hughes was able to escape when Mr. Carter’s cattle became frightened and stampeded. He hid under some drift wood that had caught against a pine log in a nearby creek, and was not found.
A Bledsoe came out of Mr. Carter’s house hanging onto Benjamin Rabun. Maj. Cunningham asked their names, but neither would answer. Rabun’s skull was split in two by the saber and he died with his arms around Bledsoe’s neck. Bledsoe was not killed, but it is said that he was never in his right mind afterwards.
After this massacre, Maj. Cunningham and him men stopped at Towles Blacksmith shop to have their horses reshod. When Oliver Towles finished re-shoeing all of his men’s horse, Maj. Cunningham’s men killed him and his son and a slave boy, then set fire to all the buildings as they left. Source …
Throughout the course of the American Revolutionary War, over 200 battles were fought within South Carolina, more than in any other state.
South Carolina in the American Revolution
Prior to the American Revolution, the British began taxing American colonies to raise revenue. South Carolina residents were outraged about the 1767 Townshend Acts that taxed tea, paper, wine, glass, and oil. To protest the earlier (1765) Stamp Act, South Carolina sent wealthy rice planter Thomas Lynch, 26-year old lawyer John Rutledge, and Christopher Gadsden to the Stamp Act Congress, held in 1765 New York. Other taxes were removed in 1766, but tea taxes remained. Soon South Carolinians confiscated the tea that arrived at Charleston Harbor and stored it in the Exchange and Customs House. It was later sold to help pay for the Revolution.
Many of the South Carolinian battles fought during the American Revolution were with loyalist Carolinians and the part of the Cherokee tribe that allied with the British. This was to General Henry Clinton’s advantage, whose strategy was to march his troops north from St. Augustine and sandwich George Washington in the North. Clinton alienated Loyalists and enraged Patriots by attacking a fleeing army of Patriot soldiers who posed no threat. Enslaved Africans and African Americans chose independence by escaping to British lines where they were promised freedom.
Combined Continental Army and state militia forces under the command of Major General Nathanael Greene regained control of much of South Carolina by capturing the numerous interdependent chain of British held forts throughout the State, one-by-one, until the British and Loyalists were surrounded in Charles Town and completely dependent on food supplies by sea. After preliminary peace terms had been agreed, the British evacuated Charles Town on December 14, 1782, a day now officially designated as “South Carolina Independence Day”. Greene was awarded a Congressional Medal and numerous other official awards from the State of South Carolina for his leadership in liberating the state and for restoring an elected government. In 1787, John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and Pierce Butler went to Philadelphia where the Constitutional Convention was being held and constructed what served as a detailed outline for the U.S. Constitution. More …