Lorickís Ferry

Other names:

Skirmish, Cap. William Butler vs. Col. William -Bloody Bill- Cunningham, ? Sep 1782

Where: 34.1473601 -81.6512178 Lorickís Ferry

Maps: [map notes]

  • 34.1473601 -81.6512178 Lorickís Ferry
  • ACME Mapper.
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  • GNIS record for Bauknight's Ferry. Note mapping options.
  • It may be seen that this ferry is immediately west of Beaverdam Creek. See Mills Newberry snippet, following.
  • Confidence: 5 (for Lorick's Ferry)


  • From Mills 1825 Newberry District map:

    Loricks Ferry

  • NBBAS:Four P.95-96:
    Lorickís Ferry, South Carolina
    September 1782
    Colonel William "Bloody Bill" Cunningham decided to take advantage of Andrew Pickensí expedition against the Indians and he raided into the area of the Saluda River. Pickens planned for the possibility of such a raid and left some troops behind to counter Cunningham. Whenever Cunningham would do a raid he would always split up his large force into smaller groups to infiltrate into enemy territory. These forces would then rendezvous and conduct their raids. Captain William Butler was the son of James Butler who had been killed at Clouds Creek by Bloody Bill. He found out that Cunningham was in the area and set out on a raid for pure revenge.

    With Butler were men who had lost brothers, fathers and neighbors to Cunningham during his "Bloody Scout". Butler needed to find out exactly where Cunningham was, so he sent his brother Thomas to the house of Joseph Cunningham, a relative of Bloody Bill. In the dark Thomas identified himself as one of Bloody Billís men and asked where the raider's camp was. Joseph Cunninghamís wife fell for the trick and told him where the Loyalists were. Butler then appeared, put a pistol to Joseph Cunninghamís head and forced him to lead the Patriots there. Butler ordered his thirty men to surround the camp and attempt to take Cunningham alive. At daylight the twenty Loyalists were drying their blankets around the fire and saw Butler approach. They mistook Butler for Bloody Bill, since they looked so similar. When Butler got close enough he charged the Tory camp.

    The Loyalists all had a prearranged plan of escape and took off in every direction. Bloody Bill leapt on his horse Silver Heels and raced for the Saluda. Butler pursued Cunningham on his horse Ranter. Cunningham tried to fire his pistols, but the powder was damp. He continued to snap his pistol over and over, trying to get them to fire. One pistol did fire, but only as Cunningham pointed it over his shoulder.

    Cunningham pulled his sword, but it was torn from his hands by the bushes. Butler was only armed with a sword and he couldnít narrow the distance to kill him. Cunninghamís mount pulled far ahead and then plunged in the Saluda swimming to safety. Cunningham taunted "I am safe!" when he reached the other side and then rode away. Butler went back and found Cunninghamís sword and kept it.

    When Butler returned to camp he found one of the captured Loyalists had been murdered. This act was considered justified since the dead Loyalist had whipped the mother of one of Butlerís men. Butlerís men pursued Cunninghamís band overtaking some of them at the Saluda River. The Patriots fired on the Loyalists in the water, but Butler ordered his men to cease the slaughter. One of Butlerís men snapped his pistol at the Loyalists, but it wouldnít discharge. He reprimed it and then fired on a Loyalist named Davis, killing him on the riverbank. Cunningham was able to make his way to Charlestown, but was never able to raise another band of partisans.

  • Terry Lipscomb, Names in South Carolina, (XXVIII), "South Carolina Revolutionary Battles: Part Five". pg 38-39.
    Cunningham had probably timed this foray to coincide with Andrew Pickens' latest expedition against the Indians. From September 10 until October 22, Pickens was away on this duty with a large detachment of his militia, but he had cautioned the troops left behind to be on guard against a surprise raid by Cunningham. Captain William Butler hardly needed this reminder; Butler and most of the men in his troop of mounted rangers had lost brothers, fathers, or neighbors in the Cloud's Creek massacre of November 1781 (NSC XXVI:36). When it was reported that Cunningham had actually returned to the district, Butler and his company wasted no time in picking up his trail, which they followed all night through a rainstorm. The path of the Loyalists led from the Mount Willing neighborhood to the forks of the Saluda and Little Saluda, thence upstream and across the Saluda River into what is now Newberry County. The next day the Patriots tracked their enemies to a camp deep in the woods, where they found Cunningham and fifteen of his most desperate followers. Butler ordered his troops to surround the camp and attempt to take Cunningbam alive. The surprise was almost complete, but the Tories were all experienced woodsmen with a prearranged plan for eluding pursuers. They scattered in all directions, and the action developed into a series of individual encounters and exciting chases. The incident more vividly remembered than any other was Butler's own pursuit of Cunningham. Since the guns of these two archenemies were misfiring because of wet powder from the previous night's rain, the outcome of this chase depended on the swiftness of their horses. Butler was riding a well-trained horse named Ranter, but Cumiingham's mount was a recently-acquired thoroughbred race horse named Silver Heels. When the two antagonists made their way out of the thickets and into fairly open country, Cunningham easily outran his pursuer and escaped.29 The date of this encounter is unknown, but it is very likely that it occurred in late September or early October. The location of Cunningham's camp was so far off the beaten track even by eighteenth century standards that there is probably little likelihood of finding it on a modern map. Nevertheless, the points. Shortly before the Patriots reached Cunningham's camp, they stopped near the house of John Griffith, which seems to have been in Newherry County near Bauknight's Ferry. When Cunningham escaped from Butler, he is said to have recrossed the Saluda River near the crossing that was later known as Lorick's Ferry. This was about two miles upstream from the modern S.C. 395 highway bridge. This action resulted in the deaths of at least two Loyalists and the dispersal of Cunningham's famous band as a unified military force. Although members of his gang continued to reappear from time to time, either alone or in small groups, the new regime in Charleston regarded them as outlaws and acted accordingly. The state of South Carolina posted rewards and maintained companies of rangers well into 1783 to deal with "such Ringleaders and Common disturbers of mankind as Cunningham and others." Cunningham returned to South Carolina that year, but be was never captured, and he eventually made his way from Florida to the West Indies. He died in Nassau on January 18, 1787, after a short illness.30

    29 ?
    30. ?

  • RevWar75 RevWar75  
  • Listing for Sep 1782 9/1782 Lorick's Ferry. Draw. Per O'Kelley.

Related locations:

Confidence level:: 5