Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Battle of Hill's Ironworks 1

The Battle of Hill's Ironworks
Part 1: Strategic Overview
Next: A Center of Resistance

By June, 1780, the British had mostly secured the state of South Carolina, and were looking forward to an invasion of neighboring North Carolina (for additional background information, see Occupied South Carolina, A Resistance Forms, and Seeds of Defeat). In June, the British were successful in expelling the American militia from South Carolina, but not before the American militia gained morale-boosting victories over their Loyalist counterparts. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, hundreds of Loyalists began to organize in anticipation of a British invasion, but these were scattered by the American militia of that state. The map below and the accompanying text provides additional details about the situation.

Numbers in red refer to British-occupied locales on the map. British forces were scattered across a network of posts in the Backcountry. One of the most important posts Among the principle British posts in the South Carolina Backcountry were Camden (1), Ninety-Six (2), Rocky Mount (3), and Hanging Rock (4). On or about June 6, American militia under John McClure routed a party of Loyalists at Alexander's Old Field (located within the red circle surrounding Rocky Mount), and on June 8, Americans commanded by Richard Winn, William Bratton, and John McClure performed a similar feat over Loyalists at Mobley's Meeting House (5). In North Carolina, hundreds of Loyalists organized at Ramsour's Mill, where they were defeated on June 20, in the most important battle of the month.

Numbers in blue refer to American occupied locales on the map. Significant American resistance coalesced in North Carolina, with the town of Salisbury (1), serving as one of the main focal points. In mid-June, numbers of South Carolinians organized in North Carolina at Tuckasegee Ford (2), and elect Thomas Sumter as their leader. One previous center of resistance was William Hill's Ironworks (3), which was destroyed by Christian Huck's mixed force of Provincials and Loyalist militia, detached from Rocky Mount. Another setback for the Americans occurred on or about June 10, when Thomas Brandon's South Carolinians (4) were defeated by William Cunningham's Loyalists, based in Ninety-Six.

Contested Carolina, June 6-20, 1780 (click to enlarge). The dark line bisecting the map is a part of the boundary between North and South Carolina. Map section from Henry Mouzon et al.'s 1775 An accurate map of North and South Carolina...


Michael C. Scoggins. (2005). The Day It Rained Militia: Huck's Defeat and the Revolution in the South Carolina Backcountry, May-July 1780. (link to

John A. Robertson et al.'s Global Gazetteer of the American Revolution.


  1. Great blog! I'm researching my William Stormont ancestor who was in a militia from the Catholic Presbyterian Church to write a family history book for the family. In 1780 Rev. Wm. Martin in the Rocky Creek area gave a sermon urging the local militia to rise against the British. They formed 2 companies. I've tried to find out what battles/skirmishes they were involved in, but have had no luck. Any ideas of where to go? I've contacted historical societies and Chester Library with no luck. Would you know how to contact Michael Scoggins? Many thanks.

  2. Many thanks! I just sent you an email response.