Battle of the Tory Camps, possibly Edisto Swamps
Skirmish, *Gen. Andrew Pickens vs. Cunningham, 20 Dec 1781
Where: 33.58139 -81.03610 Edisto River (Bull Swamp)
Maps: [map notes]
- 33.58139,-81.03610 Edisto River (Bull Swamp Creek)
- ACME Mapper.
- National Map
- Note: this site located by JP, is near the mouth of Bull Swamp Creek, immediately following.
- Confidence: 5 (of Bull Swamp Creek), 0 (of skirmish)
- 33.5773759 -81.0348170 Bull Swamp Creek (North Edisto River)
- GNIS record for Bull Swamp Creek. Note mapping options.
Zoom out twice in Google map to see length of creek.
- Note: this is the Bull Swamp merging with North Fork of Edisto River mentioned by Lipscomb, below, and selected by JP, above.
- Confidence: 5 (of Bull Swamp Creek mouth), 0 (of skirmish)
- 33.5773759 -81.0348170 Bull Swamp (does not merge with any Edisto River)
- GNIS record for Bull Swamp. Note mapping options.
Zoom out twice in Google map to see length of swamp.
- Note: This Bull Swamp, does not merge with any Edisto River, but cannot be excluded as Pickens camp from which he could have crossed the Edisto River and attacked Cunningham's camps within 10 miles of Orangeburg.
- Confidence: 5 (of Bull Swamp mouth), 0 (of skirmish)
- Terry W. Lipscomb, Names in South Carolina, XXVI, "South Carolina Revolutionary Battles, Part Seven", English Dept., Univ. of South Carolina, Winter, 1979, p.37
Meanwhile, the various Patriot leaders chasing Cunningham came together at Bull Swamp, where General Andrew Pickens assumed personal command of the expedition. Bull Swamp flows into the north fork of the Edisto River not far below the town of North. Cunningham was known to be hiding out in the Edisto River swamps within ten miles of Orangeburg. Sometime around December 20, 1781, Pickens led his troops across the Edisto River and attacked.the Tory camps one morning at sunrise. In this engagement, the Patriots were again outmaneuvered by their wily opponent. Cunningham had stationed his troops in scattered camps all along the river, instead of herding them together into one location. Pickens' men took the first camp completely by surprise and killed nearly every Loyalist in it, leaving a total of twenty enemy dead. This spread the alarm to the rest of the camps, allowing most of the enemy to escape. Cunningham got away by swimming his horse across the Edisto River and making his way down the country to Charleston. This engagement near Orangeburg is mentioned only in the accounts of veterans; it has completely escaped the notice of historians. The participants in this affair referred to it as the Battle of the Edisto River or the Battle of the Tory Camps.50
Footnote: 50 YBC [Charleston Year Book] 1899, appendix, p. 65; Pension Accounts of James Dillard, William Logan, Thomas Farrow, John Farrow, John Davis, and James Cannon, National Archives.
- Pension statement of Thomas Farrow S17946, 26 Sep 1832, transcribed by Will Graves,
He returned to service, was 1st lieutenant in Captain John Ford's company, Colonel Henry White's regiment for three months, during which period he was in pursuit of the Indians; on December 1, 1782, he was in an engagement, at the Edisto Swamp, under Colonel Pickens, and served until February 12, 1783. During these periods of service, he was in many skirmishes with the Indians and was wounded three times.
- Pension statement of John Farrow S21193, 16 Oct 1832, transcribed by Will Graves,
There ranged about for some time and then fell under the command of Colonel Pickens and Colonel Casey - under these officers [we] went down to Orangeburg; crossed Edisto [River] and defeated the Tories camps; ranged about under Colonel Thomas til about the first of Aprilwas in a fight with the Tories - his captain Thomas Farrow was badly woundedwas then ordered to guard his Captain til he recovered for about thirteen weeks - Then ranged about til peace was concluded - During a part of this time he enlisted under Captain Smith for one month to hunt for the Tories.
- Pension statement of William Logan S32385, 15 Oct 1833, transcribed by Will Graves,
Part of the third tour was in pursuit of the Tory Cunningham and party who had murdered seventeen Americans in my neighborhood or
within about eighteen miles from me. We pursued them to Edisto River in the Edisto Swamps.
- NBBAS:Three p.408:
- Sherman, "Calendar..." . Search for edisto river. . To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".
- Dec 1781 listing: 12/20/1781, Edisto River (Battle of the Tory Camps)
Confidence level:: See above.