Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Siege of Williamson's Fort

From South Carolina Revolutionary Battles: Part I, Institute for Southern Studies, University of South Carolina:

    In the final days of October [1775], the Council of Safety had dispatched a wagon load of ammunition as a present for the Cherokees. Patrick Cunningham's band of Tories had intercepted the shipment at Mine Creek, in present Saluda County, and had taken possession of it. If the Patriots were apprehensive that the Indians might side with the King's men in this struggle, the Loyalists were equally suspicious of the Patriots' motives in sending them ammunition. Before long, both factions were again massing troops.
    The conflict finally came on November 19-21 at Ninety Six. The Patriot army under Major Andrew Williamson and Major James Mayson hastily erected a stockade fort at Savage's old field, the plantation of John Savage, some distance west of the court house town. They were invested by a Loyalist force three times their number, commanded by Major Joseph Robinson and Captain Patrick Cunningham. Thus commenced the siege of Williamson's Fort not to be confused with William's Fort or Williamson's Plantation, which will be mentioned later. During the course of the fighting, both sides sustained a number of casualties, and James Birmingham became the first South Carolina Patriot to die in the cause of Liberty. The affair ended in a truce on the evening of the 21st.