Monday, December 31, 2007

Ramsour's Mill: America's First Civil War

From The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1775-1780, by Edward McCrady, published 1901, Macmillan & Co., ltd., South Carolina, pp. 587-588:

    That there were great differences of sentiment in regard to the Revolution even among the people of the Low Country of South Carolina has abundantly appeared in the pages of this history. Friends and families were divided in opinion as to its cause, and still more so in regard to the course of events which had followed resulting in the Declaration of Independence. But these differences in the Low Country had caused little bloodshed by native Carolinians at the hands of each other. Few of the Tories in this section took up arms against their fellow-countrymen. In the new field of war [i.e., the back country], alas! as at Ramsour's Mill, the people who had not been interested in the questions which brought on the trouble were to fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbor. The most dreadful internecine strife was now to rage throughout the country beyond the falls of the rivers. The Scotchmen in Charlestown—especially the Scotch merchants, had almost unanimously opposed the Revolution; and so had the many Scotch traders in the Piedmont region. The Scotchmen in Charlestown, however, contented themselves with passive resistance to the Revolutionary party until the fall of the town, and then did little more than congratulate Sir Henry Clinton upon his victory over their rebellious fellow-townsmen; but in the Up Country they rose with the advance of the British and with heroism and determination took part in the war. It would be well if the historian was bound to add nothing more in regard to their conduct; but truth requires the statement that the heroism of these people in maintaining their loyalty to their King was tarnished by deeds of cruelty and bloodthirstiness. It will indeed appear, as we follow the fortunes of the war in their section, that South Carolina experienced all the dire effects which from civil discords flow.
    Before Tarleton had overtaken Buford the Tories in this section had begun to gather and organize. As early as the 26th of May—that is, three days before the massacre in the Waxhaws, a party of them had collected at Mobley's Meeting-house, about six miles west of Winnsboro in the present county of Fairfield; to meet this Colonel William Bratton of York and Captain John McClure of Chester gathered the Whigs and defeated and dispersed them. A similar uprising at Beckham's Old Field in the vicinity of Fishing Creek, in what is now Chester County, had been put down with equal ease, the Rev. John Simpson, then the Presbyterian minister of the congregation in that neighborhood, being one of the principal movers in the affair. We have no account of the casualties on either side of these affairs.