Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gen. Thomas Sumter (1734-1832)

Thomas Sumter, American soldier and politician, was born August 14, 1734 in Hanover County, Virginia. He served in the Virginia militia during the French and Indian War and was present at Edward Braddock's defeat in 1755. Some time after 1762 he removed to South Carolina. Sumter is best known for his service during the Revolutionary War, but he saw little action until after the fall of Charleston in May 1780. In July 1780, he became a brigadier-general of state troops. During the remainder of the war he carried on a partisan campaign, and earned the sobriquet of the "Gamecock." He failed in an attack at Rocky Mount August 1, 1780 (which included the loss of Col. Andrew Neel), but on the 6th defeated 500 Loyalists and regulars at Hanging Rock, and on the 15th intercepted and defeated a convoy with stores between Charleston and Camden. His own regiment, however, was almost annihilated by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton at Fishing Creek on the 18th. A new force was soon recruited, with which he defeated Maj. James Wemys at Fishdam on the night of November 8-9, and repulsed Tarleton's attack at Blackstock's on the 20th, where he was wounded. In January 1781, Congress formally thanked him for his services. He was a member of the state convention which ratified the Federal constitution for South Carolina in 1788 (though he opposed that instrument), of the national House of Representatives in 1780-93 and again in 1797-1801, and of the U.S. Senate from 1801-1810. At the time of his death at South Mount, South Carolina June 1, 1832, he was the last surviving general officer of the War of Independence.

(Source: NNDB,