The Battle of Eutaw Springs Chapter was chartered on February 16, 1969 at Orangeburg, South Carolina. At the installation meeting on February 23, 1969, Mrs. Michael G. Salley was presented the Martha Washington Medal for her untiring efforts to organize a chapter of the SAR in Orangeburg. The first officers of the Chapter were as follows:
President : James P. Jervey Jr.
Secretary : Michael G. Salley
Registrar : Phillip A. Sullins
Treasurer : Watt McCain
Who we are
The Battle of Eutaw Springs
The Battle of Eutaw Springs was the last major engagement of the war in the Carolinas. Both sides claimed victory.
After a month long siege and a fierce battle at the British controlled village of Ninety Six, Major General Nathanael Greene, commander of the Southern forces in the Continental Army, became aware that British reinforcements were headed his way. Greene retreated for several days towards Charlotte, North Carolina. Finally, after his pursuit by the British was abandoned, Greene moved his forces to a campsite on the High Hills of the Santee. Here Greene allowed his exhausted troops to rest and awaited reinforcements. On 23 August, Greene moved his forces to cross the Wateree River, then the Congaree River, to Fort Motte and on to Burdell's Plantation in the vicinity of todays Vance, South Carolina.
Meanwhile, on 13 August, British Colonel Stewart led his force of 2000 to 2300 men from Orangeburg, South Carolina to Thompson's Plantation south of the Congaree River. He then fell back to Eutaw Springs on 27 August.
At 4:00 AM on 08 September 1781, Greene's army of 2400 men began marching the 7 miles towards Eutaw Springs. Greene had infantry, cavalry, Continental troops, and militia as well as two 3 pound grasshopper guns and two 6 pound cannons. 200 of his men were left behind to guard the baggage train. Stewart also had infantry and cavalry, comprised of both British regulars and American loyalist contingents at his disposal as well as two 6 pound, one 4 pound and one 3 pound cannons as well as a swivel gun. His total troops on hand were between 1800 and 2000.
Around 8:00 AM Captain John Coffin and a detachment of South Carolina Loyalist cavalry were out foraging for supplies for Stewarts army. They encountered a mounted American scouting party under the command of Major John Armstrong. Coffin pursued Armstrong, who led him into an ambush. Coffin escaped but 4 or 5 of his men were killed and 40 captured, Armstrong's men then came across the foragers and captured 400 more British troops.
On an intensely hot morning Greene's forces advanced towards Eutaw Springs. At their approach, the surprised British left their uneaten breakfast and quickly threw lines of battle across the road in a heavily wooded area. A large brick home with a high walled garden and cleared fields stood behind them. The waters and wood of Eutaw Springs were on the north. At first the center of the American line caved in. While opposing flanks were fighting their own battles, Greene restored the center with North Carolina continentals. The British line began to give, but Stewart quickly pulled up his left flank reserves. The Americans were forced to retreat under thunderous fire. Greene then countered with Maryland, Virginia and Delaware Continentals and South Carolina cavalry, with devastating effect. The British fled in every direction and the Americans took over their camp. Colonel Stewart gathered some of his men and took refuge in the brick home. From this vantage they "picked off" many American officers and men. Feeling the battle was won, the tired, thirsty, hungry and ill clad Americans began plundering the British stores of food, liquors and equipment. Thoroughly enjoying themselves they ignored their leaders warnings and commands. The British, recognizing the disorder, were able to gather and mount an attack on the Americans. The stunned Americans fought bravely but were put to flight from the British camp. After more than 4 hours of vicious battle, both armies had had enough. Casualties were extremely high. Greene collected his wounded and returned to Burdell's Plantation. Stewart remained in Eutaw Springs for the night.
09 September brought rain, which prevented a continuation of the battle. Stewart buried his dead, destroyed supplies and retreated towards Charleston. He left behind many dead unburied and 70 of his most seriously wounded. Greene pursued Stewart until 11 September, when he drew within range of British support from the garrison at Charleston.
Stewart's letter to his commander stated that he was attacked by the rebel Greene and all the forces he could muster, totally defeated him and took two 6 pounders.
Greene's letter to Washington stated that he engaged in one of the most obstinate fights ever. "Victory was ours, and had it not been for one of those little incidents which frequently happen in the progress of war, we should have taken the whole British Army."
This last major battle in South Carolina completely broke the British hold in the south and denied needed aid to the British forces in the north. The British attempt to pacify the south with Loyalist support, had failed. Despite winning a tactical victory, the British had lost the strategic battle. They were forced to abandon most of their conquests in the south, leading up to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
This is but a brief summary of this significant battle. Much more detail is to be had with just a little research. We would encourage you to find out more about this engagement and visit the actual battle site.
The battleground is located at 12933 Old Number Six Hwy. Eutawville, South Carolina 29048 33°24'26.21" N -80°17'55.50" W