Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Cunningham Mess, part 3:
Enter Sumter

From The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1775-1780, by Edward McCrady, published 1901, Macmillan & Co., ltd., South Carolina, pp. 88-89:

    ... What action should be taken in this emergency was the subject of another contention between the two parties in the Congress, Arthur Middleton as usual urging vigorous measures and Rawlins Lowndes opposing them. The parties were so evenly divided that in a hundred votes two decided the question. Fifty-one supported Middleton and forty-nine Lowndes. By this vote, on the 8th of November [1775], it was determined to assemble a force under Colonel Richard Richardson, and to send him to seize Patrick Cuningham, Henry O'Neal, Hugh Brown, David Reese, Nathaniel Howard, Henry Green, and Jacob Bochman, the leaders of the Royal party. Captain Ezekiel Polk, who had been led to desert the cause by Moses Kirkland in August, had returned and had been taken back into favor, and was again given a company. He now accompanied Colonel Richardson. There was another person in this expedition, whom, before this book closes, we shall find becoming the real leader in the struggle for the American cause, and who, with others whose names were scarcely yet known, was to redeem the State after it had been overrun and lost to those who were now in control of the revolutionary movements. This was Thomas Sumter, and this was the manner in which he was received into the ranks of the Revolutionary party. "We have consulted with Colonel Richardson touching Mr. Sumter's application to the Council," wrote William Henry Drayton and the Rev. Mr. Tennent to the Council of Safety. "The Colonel readily approved not only of the measure, but of the man, notwithstanding Kirkland recommended him as his successor in the company of Rangers which lie quitted and attempted to disband. The Colonel nevertheless from his seeming connection with Kirkland proposes to keep a sharp eye upon Mr. Sumter's conduct." Sumter thus entered the service under suspicion and upon probation. In this expedition he acted as Colonel Richardson's Adjutant General.