Affiliate Link

Loyalist Comments on the Battle of Camden

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

Instead of halting and collecting a force at Hillsborough, in North Carolina, General Gates’ flight was rapidly continued three days into Virginia, one hundred and ninety miles from the field of action; it was effected upon a celebrated horse, the son of Colonel Baylor’s Fearnaught, own brother to his Grace of Kingston’s famous Careless, purchased of a general officer of the first distinction. All that Horatio Gates (after the defeat of his troops,) knew of the British army and its noble commander, was, their having in a short time become pre-eminently triumphant. Why, then, is it presumed to assert the loss of the British was much more considerable than the Rebels. Mr. Gates declares (concerning the great field-day) that no part of his army could be accounted for but himself, and an Aide-de-Camp, his attendant.

The following dish has been hashed and served up at Mr. Washington’s head-quarters: Imprimis—the killed, wounded, and prisoners taken of the Continentals amount to five hundred: but (as we have already predicted) no mention is made of a single militia-man, or of the missing of the rebel army. Four hundred baggage wagons, laden with every necessary for an army, with a most complete park, (including many of the artillery taken at Saratoga,) with six hundred stand of arms and accoutrements for as many recruits, are part of the trophies. Forty of the above-mentioned wagons had been taken from the British some time before the action, by the rebel Colonel Sumpter, with a detachment of two or three hundred Continentals, but Colonel Tarleton’s cavalry falling in with Mr. Sumpter, (who with his escort were amusing themselves in a wood on a nutting party,) the whole were retaken, after killing or securing most of the enemy’s detachment. We are assured from the rebel accounts, that the noble commander of the British troops had, from the latest advices, advanced a considerable way into the province of North Carolina, from which every happy event may be presaged.

Mr. Gates was, at the above disastrous crisis, in an indifferent state of health, his complaint a diarrhoea; his person was disguised in the retreat. It is said his officers have certainly sent a request to the rebel board of war at Philadelphia, desiring a court-martial may be held upon their commanding officer on the ever-memorable but calamitous 16th of August.1

1 Rivington’s Gazette, September 13