Hog Island Channel
Skirmish, Capt. Simon Tufts, Schooner Defense vs. Capt. Edward Thornborough, Sloop of War Tamar, Lt.t John Fergusson, Sloop of War Cherokee, 11 – 12 Nov 1775
Where: 32.7837874 -79.8834195 Hog Island Channel
Maps: [map notes]
- Terry Lipscomb, Battles, Skirmishes, and Actions of the American Revolution in South Carolina, SC Dept of Archives & History, 1991,
RWB: Terry W. Lipscomb, South Carolina Revolutionary War Battles (1991-).
A series of booklets published by the SC Archives.
8. Hog Island Channel
(First SC Battle)
- Yates Snowden, Harry Gardner Cutler,
- History of South Carolina, 1920, The Lewis Pub. Co., p.326
IMPORTANT, BLOODLESS NAVAL BATTLE
Hostilities between the British and Americans did not result directly
from this challenge, but from the sinking of the old schooners which
the Congress had purchased to obstruct the channels between the
marshes and the mainland of Christ Church parish, known as Marsh
and Hog Island channels. To cover that work a schooner, the Defence,
with Captain Tufts in command, had been assigned, with thirty-five
marines in command of Capt. William Scott. Two of the old schooners
bought for the purpose had been sunk in Marsh channel, and it was
proposed to sink the other four in Hog Island Creek. Mr. Drayton was
aboard the Defence to generally superintend operations.
On the 11th of November, the four old hulks, accompanied by the
Defence, dropped down the creek, and, under the direction of Captain
Blake, they approached their destination. As Mr. Drayton had anticipated
and desired, the Tamar opened fire upon them, delivering six
shots, which all fell short. The British commander then stopped fire.
But Mr. Drayton did not propose that the engagement should end there.
When the Defence reached her anchorage, he ordered her two nine-
pounders, which had a longer range than any guns on the British sloop,
to open fire on the Tamar. The latter replied with three or four shots,
and the Defence answered with one. In the meantime, Captain Blake
had succeeded in sinking three of the hulks before the turn of the
tide, leaving one only unplaced.
Early in the morning of the 12th of November, 1775, both the
Tamar and the Cherokee directed their fire against the Defence from
the shelter of Hog Island, and continued it for nearly three hours. All
the Charlestown militia and volunteers thereupon took their posts,
and a crowd of citizens gathered on the wharves of East Bay to witness
the engagement and consult upon the critical situation. The garrison
at Fort Johnson also had a small hand in the engagement, as
they fired three twenty-six pound shots, one of which fell within a
few yards of the Tamar and two passed through the enemy's riggings.
In the meantime Captain Blake had scuttled the fourth hulk in Hog
Island channel, but the Defence had retreated, and the British commander sent an armed boat to fire the sinking schooner, tow it from
the deep channel and sink it in shallow water. Drayton's "Memoirs,''
which contains a spirited account of the engagement, says that between seven and eight o'clock in the morning, the Defence came up
to the town and anchored in the stream about opposite to where the
Custom House now stands, where Colonel Pinckney and many of the
citizens saluted her with cheers; and. in a few minutes after, Mr.
Drayton landed on the wharf amidst the congratulations of his fellow-citizens, he having been on board the Defence during the whole affair.
Three shots had hit the Carolina boat, but no material damage had
been inflicted, and there were no casualties on either side. Still the
events were of supreme importance, as acts of war had been committed
by both Americans and British, and the Revolution was a certainty.
- NBBAS:One p.54-58.
- Sherman, "Calendar..." . Search for hog island channel. 2 returns. To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".
- Nov 1775 listing 11/11 - 12/1775, Hog Island Channel, Charlestown Harbor
HM Sloop Tamar vs. SC Defence. Draw. Per O'Kelley.
Haddrell's Point, off (Aeolus),
Confidence level:: See above.