Salley's Cowpens, South Carolina
6 August 1781
As the noose tightened on the British, the partisans continued to patrol the lines of communication between the British in Georgia and Charlestown. Captain James McKay took his cavalry into Georgia to attack a small force of Loyalists that were on the Ogeechee River. As McKay’s men rode through the woods they ran into the Loyalists before they had time to deploy. Both sides fired at the same time, but no one was injured. The Loyalists disappeared into the night and escaped.
Frustrated and angry, McKay’s men rode back into South Carolina only to discover that Loyalist Colonels Baley Chaney and Williams had captured Captain James Roberts and his militia. The Loyalists had butchered several of the men, but left Roberts alive. Twenty-two of McKay’s men volunteered to go with Captain Joseph Vince and pursue the Tories, even though only seventeen of them had weapons.
Captain Vince’s volunteers captured six of the Loyalists at the Forks of the Edisto River. There was a quick trial and the six Tories were found guilty and hanged.
Vince rode on to Salley’s Cowpens, on Turkey Hill, to make camp. After the camp was set up he rode alone to a mill located nearby. Some Loyalists had been watching him and when he got close enough they ambushed him. Vince was seriously wounded, "in consequence of which he was disabled from doing duty for some time."
Colonel McGirth crossed the Savannah River with 370 mounted men and attempted to surprise Vince’s militia. Vince’s seventeen armed men charged McGirth’s Loyalists with such violence that they fled back across the Savannah. Some of the Loyalists panicked and drowned in the river.