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Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill

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

April 25.—Yesterday morning the American forces under General Greene, encamped on Hobkirk’s Hill, about a mile from Camden, (S. C.,) where they remained unmolested until this forenoon, at which time Lord Rawdon,1 who has been in possession of Camden for some time past, attacked them unexpectedly, and after a furious fight, compelled them to retire from the field, leaving a large number of killed and wounded.

In the action Colonel Washington,2 with more address than usual, captured a party of the British, but was obliged to relinquish a great portion of them on the retreat. Much dissatisfaction is expressed by the general with the conduct of the officers, but we (the soldiers) are loaded with honor.3


1 Rawdon, Hastings, Francis, Marquis of Hastings, Earl of Rawdon, &c., the son of John, Baron Rawdon, and Earl of Moira, of the kingdom of Ireland, was born December 7, 1754. He was educated at Oxford, and entered the army in 1771, as an ensign in the fifteenth regiment of foot. Having been promoted to a lieutenancy, he embarked for America in 1775, and was present at the battle of Bunker’s Hill. After serving in other engagements, he was, in 1778, nominated Adjutant-General of the British army in America, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. At a later period he commanded a distinct corps in South Carolina. At the battle of Camden, August 16, 1780, he commanded one wing of the army under Lord Cornwallis. The surrender of that general and the decline of the British power in America, closed his active career. On his return to England he was created a peer with the title of Baron Rawdon, and held various offices, both civil and military. He died on the 28th of November, 1825.
2 Lieutenant-Colonel William Augustine Washington.
3The fortune of the day,” says Gordon, “was irretrievable, but Greene, with his usual firmness, instantly took measures to prevent Rawdon’s improving the success he had obtained. The retreat was conducted with such order and deliberation, that most of the American wounded, all their artillery, and all their baggage, were safely carried off, together with six royal commissioned officers, beside Washington’s prisoners. The action was continued with intervals, till about four in the afternoon, and till the Americans had retreated about four miles, when a detachment of the infantry and cavalry, under Washington, were ordered to advance and annoy the British. The York Volunteers, a handsome corps of horse, being a little advanced of the British infantry, Washington with great intrepidity instantly charged them, killed a number and dispersed the rest. The British army, without attempting any thing further, retired to Camden, and Greene encamped the Americans about five miles from their former position. The field of battle was occupied only by the dead. The loss of the Americans in killed, wounded, and missing, was two hundred and sixty-four. Among the first was Captain Beatty of the Maryland line, one of the best of officers, and an ornament to his profession. Many of the missing returned.”