Ed Bearss Tour Stop 2, Q & A from Stop 1

Cowpens National Battlefield

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Video Tour Stop 2 Q& A from Stop 1:

Bearss: Does anybody else have a question from the last stop besides the one we cut off.

Question: I have a question. Didn’t many of Cornwallis’ men who came with Tarleton, did they weren’t they some of the ones that had surrendered at Camden? And they joined in with the forces with Tarleton? (Background: Repeat the Question).

Bearss: Yes, they’re in the 7th Fusiliers.

Bearss: The first question we have asked by this gentlemen over here, has to do with the attack on Charleston in 1776, the British having been frustrated in North Carolina. The British are going to be sending two forces: one coming from Boston, leaving General Howe’s command, which will evacuate Boston on the 17th day of March 1776 which is a big holiday even in Boston. They will be commanded by Sir Henry Clinton who will be His Majesty’s commander when they return to South Carolina in the winter of 1780. And they will sail down the area of the Cape Fear River. At the same time, a British Fleet commanded by Sir Peter Parker will leave Cork, Ireland with General Cornwallis, who we will hear a lot about today, and six regiments and the Highland Scots are going to arrive. But you cannot coordinate an operation with forces coming from Cork, Ireland and Boston Harbor with an uprising by the Highland Scots. The Highland Scots will rise in mid-Feburary 1776, and they will march towards Wilmington and Brunswick, hoping to meet with those expeditions that are not going to arrive in the area until in May. And they will fight the battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge, which will be the first great Patriot victory in the south, in which the Highland Scots are routed and scattered to the wind. So when Cornwallis and Clinton arrive off the Cape Fear, along with Sir Peter Parker’s squadron, they decided to pick off Charleston, the colony’s first city. And they will sail in early June to Charleston, and they have to take Charleston and get back north because the British will make New York the primary objective in the summer of 1776.

So, Howe, excuse me, Clinton and Cornwallis’ infantry land on Long Island, now the Isle of Palms. They planned to cross the bridge and seize the fort on Sullivan’s Island. The fort on Sullivan’s Island will be blasted into surrender by seven British warships: five frigates and two 70-gun ships to the line. And that’s when they say, Charlestonians proud that they are, will declare that Charleston palmetto bests British oak. To add to Sir Peter’s problems a shell explodes behind his backsides, an English admiral’s war soaked knee britches. And white stockings and silk rips easily. His britches are ripped off his backside, and he bleeds a lot through the gluteal regions. Repulsed, the expedition leaves, and that will be the first good news they will get in Philadelphia since they ratified and signed the Declaration of Independence. Two weeks the news arrives from Charleston that the British expedition is lost. And the British will not get interested in the South again until the winter of 1778. So, that is the significance of the attack and repulse of the British at Sullivan’s Island.

The other question, yes, a number of militia. It has to do with the militia at the Battle of Camden. A number of them can’t run very fast. The British regulars can run fast, trot faster forward than the militia can run in the opposite direction. And a number of them get captured. And they see with the loss of Charleston, the rout at Camden, we better join the winners. And they’ll take the Oath of Allegiance to the King, and they’ll be assigned to the 7th Fusiliers. And that means that people in 7th Fusiliers have kind of double loyalty here and probably don’t want to be recaptured by the Whigs, because you don’t treat people very nice who join the other side. So that will explain the other question brought up about troops. Also Pickens and the Gamecock figured “We’re done, we’re lost. The British are going to win it all,” and they take the Oath of Allegiance to the British crown and go home. But that’s going to change after the battle of Kings Mountain.


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