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British Account of Eutaw Springs

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

The rebel army having been augmented by recruits from their continental battalions and militia, drawn from the disaffected parts of North and South Carolina, to upwards of four thousand men, General Greene was induced to act offensively. The reports he had of the weak state of our army rendered him confident of success.

Colonel Stewart was at the Eutaws, near Nelson’s ferry, when Greene’s army crossed tho Congaree, but the latter’s great superiority in cavalry and numbers of the militia being mounted, gave him every advantage of concealing his approach. Early on Saturday morning a scouting party from the several regiments in camp was sent out, and which it was supposed would be covered by a very considerable party of cavalry and infantry ordered out that morning, which fell in with the rebel army on its march, about seven o’clock. The firing that then ensued gave the first information of the enemy’s advancing.

Our line was immediately formed, and a little after eight o’clock the whole rebel army was opposed to it.

The action immediately commenced with a heavy discharge of field-pieces and musketry on both sides. The rebel cavalry came on with such impetuosity as to make a considerable impression; at one time they had got into our encampment, but being vigorously charged were soon repulsed and driven into the woods. After a severe conflict, which lasted above an hour, the enemy gave way in every quarter, and were obliged to relinquish the field, on which they left near three hundred of their dead; their wounded, amounting to three times that number, were chiefly carried off. Two brass six-pounders were taken, and some prisoners, among whom is Colonel Washington, slightly wounded. IIU corps of light horse is nearly annihilated. We learn that almost every officer in it is either killed or wounded. Colonel Campbell of the mountaineers, and Captain Devant, who conspicuously distinguished himself in leading the forlorn hope at the siege of Ninety-six, were killed; Colonel Henderson is dangerously wounded. The number of their officers of less note killed and wounded, is very considerable, especially of artillery.

The loss sustained by us is chiefly the prisoners taken in the scouting party. Two officers and sixty privates were killed; thirteen officers and two hundred and eighty privates wounded—fifty of the latter, being the worst cases and impracticable to remove, were left at the Eutaws; one three-pounder fell into the hands of the enemy, by the falling back of our line at the commencement of the action.

Our army remained two days on the field of battle, the numerous wounded incapacitating it from making a forward movement. General Greene requested a cessation of arms, which was refused by Colonel Stewart.

The army, on the eleventh, fell back to Monk’s Corner, from whence the wounded being sent to town, and the necessary refreshments and supplies received, it is now advancing in quest of the enemy, who, in consequence of so gallant and complete a repulse have retreated with precipitation.1

1 From a Charleston Paper; see Pennsylvania Packet, January 5, 1782.