32-4 Battle of Cloud's Creek
On SC 391 above Leesville near Saluda-Lexington county line.
On November 17, 1781, in a house near Cloud's Creek one mile east Captain Sterling Turner's Patriot militia were surrounded and massacred by Tory militia under Major William Cunningham. Among the more than twenty dead were Captain James Butler and his son, James, who were buried with the others at the site, and whose graves have been marked there.
Erected by Lexington County Historical Society - 1964
Cloudís Creek, South Carolina
"The Bloody Scout" 17 November 1781
After letting Colonel Williams and his Loyalists leave Edgefield County Captain Stirling Turner camped at Clouds Creek. There had been a hard rain and all of the men were soaked. It was so wet that their guns were no longer able to fire.
Turner had gone to the house of a Mr. Carter and had asked for food and a dry place to put their guns in order. Captain James Butler, Sr. advised Turner against stopping until they returned home. One of Butlerís lieutenants suggested that they go to "some secret place in the forest or swamp", but Turner went against that advice.
Major "Bloody Bill" Cunninghamís main force discovered where Turnerís force was and he struck Carterís house at daylight. The Patriots returned fire from the log cabin, and sent out a messenger to ask for terms of surrender. Cunningham asked for the names of the men in the cabin. When Cunningham discovered that James Butler, Jr. was in the house, he thought it was the same Butler who had killed Captain Radcliffe. The other James Butler was also the father of William Butler, who had killed Sergeant MacAllister in Augusta in 1779. Cunningham refused to grant any terms that would exempt Butler from execution.
Captain James Butler, Sr. offered his own life for his sonís, but James Butler, Jr. ended all discussion by firing his rifle out of the cabin and killing a Tory. A short fight ensued and James Butler, Jr. was killed.
The Patriot militia saw that there was no hope of victory and surrendered, hoping for mercy. Cunningham did not show any, and he put the sword to Butler, Turner, and all but two men, Benjamin Hughes and Bartlett Bledsoe. Butlerís body was cut up so badly that his wife was only able to identify him by the bible in his pocket. She put the parts of his body into a basket and then carried him off to be buried.
Benjamin Hughes had been able to escape when Carterís cattle became frightenend and stampeded. Hughes hid under some drift wood that had caught against a pine log across a creek. When the Tories searched the creek they jabbed their bayonets into the drift wood, but Hughes was not touched.
Bledsoe had come out of Carterís house hugging onto Benjamin Rabun. Each man had his arms around the otherís neck. Cunningham asked their names, but neither would tell. Rabunís skull was split in two by a saber, and he died with his arms around Bledsoeís neck. Bledsoe was not killed, but it was said that he was never in his right mind afterwards.
After the massacre at Cloudís Creek Cunningham's men stopped at Towles Blacksmith shop to shod their horses. When Oliver Towles had finished the job Cunninghamís men killed him, his son and a Negro boy, then set fire to all the buildings as they left.
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RevWar75 listing. 11/17/1781 Cloud's Creek (Carter's House,
Carter's Old Field, Turner House Massacre). British victory.
Submitted by: Patrick O'Kelley. Located by Jack Parker.