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Dorchester, South Carolina

DORCHESTER, SOUTH CAROLINA. 1 December 1781. After recuperating from the hard-fought Battle of Eutaw Springs of 8 September, General Nathanael Greene left the High Hills on 8 November. Major John Doyle (often confused with his brother, Lieutenant Colonel Welbore Doyle, of the Irish Volunteers), in temporary command of British forces while Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart recovered from a wound, had resumed operations, and a Loyalist uprising had been inspired by David Fanning's daring Hillsboro raid on 13 September. Doyle withdrew to Goose Creek Bridge as Greene approached. Greene then decided to try to cut off the post of Dorchester on the Ashley River, fifteen miles northwest of Charleston. This place was held by 850 men, and Greene moved against them with 200 Maryland and Virginia Continentals and 200 cavalry. The rest of the American army, under Colonel Otho Williams, marched to the Round O plantation, but when the British identified Greene in the column approaching Dorchester, they assumed that his entire army was following. There were cavalry skirmishes and a clash between the American advance guard and a reconnaissance force from Dorchester, but the enemy did not attempt to defend the post. Destroying their stores and throwing their guns into the river, they withdrew to within five miles of Charleston. Stewart returned to take command, and he recruited and armed African American troops in anticipation of an attack on Charleston. The Americans went into camp at Round O. Another indecisive skirmish occurred at Dorchester on 29 December 1781.

SEE ALSO Hillsboro Raid, North Carolina.

                            revised by Michael Bellesiles

Dorchester, South Carolina

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