Georgetown, South Carolina

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Georgetown, South Carolina

GEORGETOWN, SOUTH CAROLINA. 24 January 1781. Soon after Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lee joined the recently promoted General Francis Marion, the two commanders raided Georgetown, which at that time was held by two hundred British troops under Lieutenant Colonel George Campbell. On the night of 22-23 January, the infantry of Lee's Legion dropped down the Peedee and hid on an island near the town. The next night this group landed undetected on the undefended waterfront; Captain Carnes led one party that seized Campbell in his quarters near the parade ground, and Captain John Rudolph led another party into positions from which Rudolph could cut off the garrison as his men moved into the British defenses. Lee's cavalry and Marion's partisans charged through the light defenses on the land side to link up with the Legion infantry. Everything worked perfectly until the rebels discovered that they had nobody to fight. The British soldiers refused to leave their fortified garrison, which was on the water next to an armed sloop that could provide covering fire, and Lee lacked the necessary means (battering rams, scaling ladders, and artillery) to force them out into the open. Not wanting to take casualties in assaulting the enemy positions, Lee and Marion paroled Campbell and withdrew.

SEE ALSO Southern Campaigns of Nathanael Greene.

                        revised by Michael Bellesiles