Monck's Corner, South Carolina

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Monck's Corner, South Carolina

MONCK'S CORNER, SOUTH CAROLINA. 14 April 1780. During the Charleston expedition of 1780, Clinton sent Lieutenant Colonel James Webster, with Tarleton's cavalry, to threaten the American line of communication east of the Cooper River. Tarleton moved with his legion and Ferguson's corps toward Monck's Corner on the evening of 13 April. A captured slave revealed complete information about Huger's dispositions and served as guide. About 3 a.m. the British made contact, routed the Continental cavalry posted in front of Biggin's Bridge, and then scattered the militia posted to the rear near Biggin's Church. Tarleton's troops temporarily captured Lieutenant Colonel William Washington, but he escaped in the darkness. Lieutenant Colonel Webster arrived on the 15th with two regiments to consolidate Tarleton's gains, and the rebel line of communications to Charleston was seriously hindered. Tarleton commented that his surprise was made easier by Huger's faulty tactical dispositions: not only had he failed to send out patrols to detect and delay an enemy's approach, but he had used mounted troops to screen the bridgehead instead of employing foot troops on this mission.

Huger's command consisted of militia (many of them without arms) and from three hundred to five hundred Continental cavalry. The latter comprised remnants of the regiments of Baylor, Bland, Horry, and Moylan, plus what was left of Pulaski's legion (under Major Vernier, who was mortally wounded).

American losses were fifteen killed and eighteen wounded. Including the wounded, sixty-three men were captured along with ninety-eight dragoon horses and forty-two wagons loaded with food, clothing, cavalry equipment, and ammunition. The defeat prevented the Patriot cavalry from actively opposing the British for several weeks. Tarleton reported one officer and two of his men wounded and five horses killed and wounded.

SEE ALSO Charleston Expedition of Clinton in 1780; Vernier, Pierre-François.

                            revised by Carl P. Borick