Dean Swamp.

Other names: John's Town, Salley

24 May 1782, *Capt. Michael Watson vs. William Cunningham, skirmish
? October 1782 Captain John Carter vs. Captain Tenison Cheshire, skirmish

Where: 33.56463, -81.32816 Dean Swamp

Maps: [map notes]


  • Will Graves: ...I had occasion to transcribe the application of William Adams S17812. He was at the engagement at Dean Swamp. His testimony is borne out by that of James Eidson S17939. Both men indicate that the company was led by Capt. Michael (or Mike, as Eidson says) Watson who was mortally wounded there along with his ensign, Thomas Vardel. ...Adams clearly says Butler was the lieutenant in the company and Eidson says Butler didnít assume command of the company until Watson was wounded. ...

  • Map from CBB:

    Dean Swamp

  • NBBAS:Four P.71-72:
    Deanís Swamp, South Carolina
    24 May 1782

    Near Dean Swamp were two bullpens that contained Loyalist and British prisoners of war. "Bloody Bill" Cunningham wanted to free these prisoners, so he sent some of his men to rescue the prisoners. Captain William Butler had learned that Cunninghamís men were encamped on Deanís Swamp and assembled fifteen of his Edgefield County militia. He rendezvoused with Captain Michael Watson and eighteen of his Cloud Creek Company and then the two units rode out a sundown.

    The Patriot militia rode all night and approached the Loyalist camp the next morning. Along the way they had captured a Loyalist by the name of Hutto. Unfortunately Hutto was able to escape and alert Cunningham that an attack was imminent.

    Watson said that it was madness to proceed, but Butler did not want to turn back. Butler had lost his father at Cloudís Creek and wanted revenge. Both officers rode on towards the enemy. Watsonís men were armed with rifles and muskets and Butlerís men were armed with pistols and cutlasses.

    The Loyalists had time to set up an ambush for the Patriots on the edge of Deanís Swamp. They enticed the Patriots into the ambush by having two men stand in the road. Butler, Watson and a sergeant named Varney rode forward to capture the two Loyalists. Watson detected the ambush near the men and shouted out, "Beware! The whole body of the enemy are at hand!"

    In the first volley Watson and Varney were mortally wounded. Watson had been wounded through the hip while he was loading behind a tree. Butler moved the wounded men to a place of safety and appointed Sergeant John Corley to act as a lieutenant. Corley had to threaten some of the frightened militia, including his own brother, with death if they did not return to their posts.

    Butlerís men began to run low on ammunition. The Loyalists outnumbered them by 2 to 1 and approached openly when the fire began to slow. Butler decided to risk it all and charge the Loyalists with swords. The Loyalists were surprised and confused by the attack and fled. Many of them were killed while the rest fled into the swamp. Butler lost two men killed and eight wounded. Captain Watson was carried to Orangeburgh, where he died and was buried with full military honors.

  • NBBAS:Four p.96:
    Deanís Swamp, South Carolina [Originally listed as Saltketcher Swamp]
    October 1782

    After Captain William Goodwyn broke the truce attempting to kidnap Chessher, he drew the attention of the local militia. Captain John Carter of Hammondís militia rode with his Volunteer Scout of Horse Company to break up an assembly of the Loyalists at Deanís Swamp.

    Captain Tenison Cheshire and twenty-five of his Loyalists ambushed them as they were on the way to the swamp. Despite several casualties Carter was able to drive the ambushers into the swamp.

  • John's Town Battle Memorial Marker is located based on the description "2 miles west of Salley".

  • John's Town (Dean Swamp) battle is located at site pointed out as site of Rev War sword find.

  • Sherman's Calendar.... Too late for this work. To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".

  • RevWar75  
  • listing 5/24/1782 John Town (Dean's Swamp). American victory.
  • May 1782 listing   5/1782 near Salley. Draw. Per Peckham.

Related locations: Amelia Township [This believed to be error for Amelia Township]

Confidence level:: 3