What: Skirmish, Maj. Moore vs. *Cunningham, 13 November 1781
33.44053, -80.84056, Rowe's Plantation
Maps: [map notes]
- 33.44053,-80.84056, Rowe's Plantation (2 mi. S of Orangeburg Historic District)
- ACME Mapper.
- National Map
- Confidence: 1 (for Rowe's Plantation)
- 33.4920980 -80.8634255, Orangeburg Historic District
- GNIS record for Orangeburg Historic District.
- Confidence: 5 (for Orangeburg Hist. District, 1 (for Rowe's Plantation)
- NBBAS:Three. p.384-385.
Rowe’s Plantation, South Carolina
"The Bloody Scout"
13 November 1781
In late October "Bloody Bill" Cunningham made his way through the Patriot lines around Charlestown and organized an expedition that has become known as "The Bloody Scout". Cunningham combined his command with that of Hezekiah Williams and some of the Loyalist refugees in Charlestown. These were all men who wanted revenge for the loss of their homes and way of life.
The Loyalists left Charlestown in separate parties and made their way to the lower part of the Ninety-Six District, where they were to rendezvous. "Bloody Bill" proceeded with his men to his first target, Colonel Christopher Rowe’s Plantation, a short distance from Orangeburgh. Colonel Rowe was not there and had been away fighting for the Patriot cause.
General Sumter had resumed his command at the request of General Greene and was moving towards Orangeburgh to continue operations in the area. Major John Moore was scouting ahead of Sumter’s main force when he encountered Cunningham’s camp. Moore’s men attacked the Loyalists and drove them out of their camp, but Cunningham’s men returned a heavy fire from the swamp they had retreated to. Moore’s men could not stand up under the accurate fire and scattered, fleeing the Loyalist campsite. He had four men killed and eight men wounded in the fight.
Sumter incorrectly identified the Loyalist commander as Robert Cunningham in his report to Greene, and the newspaper in Charlestown misidentified Major Moore as Major Richard Hampton.
After Cunningham left Rowe’s Plantation he rode to Fair Forest Spring on the North Pacolet River. Fair Forest Spring was the home of Baylis Earle, the father in law of Colonel Edward Hampton.
Cunnigham watched the house from a hidden position and after Edward Hampton entered the house the Loyalists surrounded it. Hampton snatched his pistols from the table ready to defend himself, but it was no use. Bloody Bill and his men shot him down.
- Edward McCrady, The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1780-1783, p.485
crossed the Congaree on Monday, the 12th, and early the
following morning Major Blewford, with seventy mounted
men, was despatched after a Tory Captain Giessendanner,
who, Sumter was informed, had just arrived in the neighborhood of Orangeburgh with some wagons escorted by
sixty men. Two men only were found at Giessendanner's,
who fired at the party and escaped. Major Moore of
the State troops, who was to have joined Major Blew
ford at Giessendanner's, passed on to Orangeburgh and
thence set out for Rowe s plantation, two miles distant.
Unfortunately he fell in with General Cuningham and a
large party lately from Charlestown. The enemy at first
gave way, but their superior numbers soon prevailed, and
pressing Moore s men back, the latter gave way in turn
and were thrown into disorder by a heavy fire from a
party concealed in a swamp ; a rout ensued. Some of the
scattered troops reached Major Blewford and with him
joined Sumter eight miles above Orangeburgh. Cuningham
s force was upwards of 500 men. Sumter had
with him 418. 2 This reverse caused Sumter to fall
back ; but his advance had been fortunately timed to
check the further progress of General Cuningham who
had issued from Charlestown upon a more formidable
expedition to the upper count
- Cook's 1773 map:
The location selected is one 2 miles SE of Orangeburg. Basis of site location
- Sherman, "Calendar...". Too late for this work. To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".
- listing. 11/13/1781 Rowe's Plantation (Moore's Defeat). Shown as British victory.
Submitted by: Patrick O'Kelley
Confidence level: See above