Brandon's Defeat

Brandon's Defeat

What: Skirmish, Thomas Brandon vs. *Capt. William Cunningham, 8 June 1780

Other names:

34.637475 -81.637574 Brandon's Defeat

Maps: [map notes]


  • CBB: Col. Thomas Brandon's Defeat -- I have heard that it was several miles downstream from where SC 49 crosses the Fairforest Creek, the site of Thomas Fletchall's House. See O'Kelley NBBS, Vol. 2, p. 163.

  • James Saye, Memoirs of Major Joseph McJunkin:
    Cols. Thomas, Brandon and Lysle met on June 4 to concert measures for mutual safety and for the protection of the country comprehended within their several commands. They agreed to concentrate their troops and form a camp near Fairforest Creek, about four miles from the present site of Union, on the road to Adam's Ford on Tyger River. The present resident of Christopher Young is on the spot. As the place was near the center of Brandon's command, his men first arrived on the ground. He had in his possession a part of the powder formerly intrusted to Col. Thomas, and as he considered its preservation of the greatest importance, he directed Joseph Hughes, William Sharp, John Savage, Aquilla Hollingsworth, Samuel Otterman, Benjamin Jolley and Joseph McJunkin to conceal it with great care in the neighboring forests. They were engaged in this business and absent from the camp on the night on which Brandon's men were assembling at the place appointed.

    Some one of the parties coming in arrested a Tory and brought him into camp. He was of the kind then denominated "a pet Tory." He was examined and presently let go or made his escape. He went immediately to the troop of Tories commanded by the famous William Cunningham, better known as "Bloody Bill". Cunningham immediately set out to surprise Brandon. He made a charge upon his camp soon after sunrise, killed a few of his men, took some prisoners and dispersed the remainder. Among the slain was a brother of Joseph McJunkin and a youth by the name of Young. This defeat occurred on the 8th or 10th of June, 1780.

  • McJunkin's Pension Statement, SCAR Vol2 No.11, p.30:
    And when Charleston fell on the 8th of May, 1780, shortly afterwards the Whigs Collected together under the Command of Col. Thos. Brandon was on the 8th or Tenth of June 1780, Surprised & defeated by the Tories.

  • McJunkin's Narrative to Draper, SCAR, Vol.2, No.11, p.34:
    —on the 4th June, 1780, Col. Brandon, Col. Thomas, & Col. Liles, made a secret appointment to concentrate their force on Fairforest Creek, about six miles below where Union Court House now stands—in order to defend the country against the Tories as well as they could. Brandon being the nearest, he got to the place the first. The Little River Tories getting information by Col. Fletcher [sic, Fletchall], collected in force under William Cunningham, made a forced march, & Brandon having taken a pet Tory by the name of Adam Stidam, who made his escape from Brandon's camp on the night of the 9th & met his friends & informed them where & how Brandon was camped, & surprised him killing some & dispersing some, & wounding others—amongst the last, one of my brothers [thought to be mortally], & killing one of my cousins. Amongst the missing was Robert Lusk, whom the Tories threatened to Kill if he would not disclose where the magazine was that Col. Brandon had. The old man to save his life, disclosed where it was, but Providence who superintends the affairs of men had ordered matters so that the Enemy was disappointed—which thing fell thus: Col. Brandon had selected Jos. Hughes, William Sharp, John Savage, Aquilla Hollingsworth, Samuel Otterson, Benj. Jolly, & Joseph McJunkin to secrete the powder & ball, which they did by carrying it to some distance & hiding it, a cask in a place, in hollow logs—which powder & lead were of great service to us afterwards through the summer of 1780. Col. Thomas & Col. Liles being informed of Col. Brandon's disaster, provided for the safety of their men as well as the nature of circumstances permitted. Us powder men not being in the defeat, & getting timely notice fell in with our scattered friends & my father, & passed over Broad River on the said 11th day, & on the 12th passed on the Bullock's Creek Meeting House,

  • Mills Union District Map, c1820:
    Adams Fd

    C=CH,   F=Fletchall,   A=Adams Fd,   4=4mi. fm CH,   6=6mi. fm CH

  • Site selected is near (north side) of Fairforest Creek, approximately NE of Adams Ford, and approximately 4 miles from Union. Saye was very specific about current owner of the property at the time he wrote, and of the distance from Union. Both Saye and McJunkin said the site was on (or near) Fairforest Creek. McJunkin's distance of 6 miles would have placed the site near the Tyger River (which would have been a more likely description, in that event) on either of two available routes.

  • Barefoot. Not included

  • NBBAS:Two, p.163.

  • Sherman's Calendar.... P.122. To avoid future long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".

  • RevWar75  
    listing: 6/8/1780 Brandon's Defeat. Shown as draw.
    Google search for "brandon's defeat". June 1780.

    Related sites:

    Submitted by: Charles Baxley.

    Confidence level: See above.