Black Mingo Creek, South Carolina

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Black Mingo Creek, South Carolina

BLACK MINGO CREEK, SOUTH CAROLINA. 29 September 1780. To overawe rebels around Williamsburg, South Carolina, and to serve as an advance outpost for the recently completed British base at Georgetown, Colonel John Coming Ball and his forty-six Loyalists took a position near Shepherd's Ferry, about twenty miles north northwest of Georgetown. (This spot is near where South Carolina Highway 41 later crossed Black Mingo Creek.) Learning of this movement, Colonel Francis Marion (the "Swamp Fox") led his partisans south from Port's Ferry, hoping to make a surprise attack. A Loyalist sentinel heard horses crossing Willtown Bridge, a mile above Shepherd's, at about midnight, and Ball deployed for action, firing a volley that halted the Patriot advance. Though he had lost the element of surprise, Marion attacked with the dismounted troops on the right (west) flank under Major Hugh Horry, a small body of supernumerary officers under Captain Thomas Waites in the center to assault Dollard's Tavern (the "red house"), and a small mounted detachment to move east of Dollard's. Marion followed with a small reserve.

Ball had formed in the field through which Horry advanced rather than fight from the house as Marion expected, and the British colonel calmly held his fire until the rebels were within thirty yards. When his men did open up, they killed Captain George Logan, badly wounded Captain Henry Mouzon and Lieutenant John Scott, and started a disorderly retreat among Horry's troops. Captain John James kept his men under control, however, rallied those of Mouzon, and started a cautious advance. When Waites skirted the tavern and turned against the Loyalist right flank, the defenders began to lose heart and soon retreated. Although only fifty men were engaged on each side in an action that lasted but fifteen minutes, two rebels were killed and eight wounded, the Loyalists losing three dead and thirteen wounded, captured, or both. Along with a number of much needed firearms, Marion's booty included the fine sorrel gelding of the enemy commander, a horse the Swamp Fox renamed Ball and rode for the remainder of the war.

SEE ALSO Marion, Francis; Port's Ferry, Pee Dee River, South Carolina.

                              revised by Michael Bellesiles