Tarleton Brown.

Memoirs of Tarleton Brown : a captain of the revolutionary army online

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House," now belonging to Col. Hay, and there found
those of my father's family that the Tories and Indians
had left, whom we had not seen before for twelve
months. To describe the joy of that meeting is inex-
pressible : — we now beheld some of those, who were
endeared to us by the strongest ties of nature, whom
we never expected to see again this side of eternity's
ocean, thinking they had fallen victims to the awful
storm of war which had been and was then raging.
Here we could have remained with them, and gladly
toiled and labored for their comfort and happiness, but
such was our country's great demand for services, we
could only stay a few moments with them.

Bidding them farewell, with no hope of meeting them
again, we marched for the siege of Augusta. On our


way up we learned that Col. Brown's (a Tory) boats
were going up the Savannah River. We went in pur-
suit of them, and attacked them about opposite the
place of the late Stephen Smith, of Savannah River,
but they got on the Georgia side, and we could do
nothing with them. From this we marched to Augusta,
where we met Generals Pinckney and Twiggs, and
commenced the work of extermination. The first at-
tack we made was on the fort at Silver Bluff, (23) now
the property of Gov. Hammond, of South Carolina.
Brown's boats had now arrived, and stowed away
their goods in the fort. The British not being willing
to yield without a struggle, we stove a cannon ball
through the brick house in the fort, and they immedi-
ately marched out and surrendered, for fear we would
serve them the like trick.

The next fort we attacked was that commanded by
the wretched Grason, at the upper end of the town.
This we soon stormed and took — Capt. Alexander shoot-
ing Grason for his villainous conduct in the country.
Some made their escape from us by fleeing to Brown's
fort near the river. Before we laid siege to Brown's
fort, a fellow by the name of Rutherford (a villain
withal) took a company and slipped out in the night


down the river, opposite Beech Island, (24) and just at
the break of day, surprised our horse-guard. It being
in the bend of the river, the British and Tories got
round them, and having a superior force, our men took
to the river, but they killed several of our brave fel-
lows while they were swimming, some making their
escape — my brother, Bartlett Brown, was one among
that number. We heard of their trip after our guard
and pushed to cut them ofij but were too late by a few
moments only, for as we got within one hundred and
fifty yards of the lane, we saw them enter. A few mo-
ments sooner, and we would have fixed them snugly.

We now commenced the siege of Brown's fort. In
taking this fort we had great difiSculty. We raised a
platform fifteen or twenty feet high, and mounted a
cannon upon it, and from thence fired at them in the fort.
In this way we destroyed a good many of them, but
finding we were too hard for them in this way, and to
screen themselves from the thunder and lightning of
our platform, they dug caves in the sides of the walls
of the fort and crawled into them. We then continued
the entrenchment, and as we entrenched, we rolled up
cowhides and placed them on the embankment for port-
holes to shoot through. One morning I was standing


next to young Stafford, who was about to shoot through
one of our-port holes, and there came a ball from the fort
and killed him dead. Young Stafford was with me in
Gen. Marion's army, and he was, indeed, a brave and
patriotic fellow, and dying in freedom's cause, his mem-
ory should never fade from our recollection. Before
Brown would surrender, we entrenched so near his fort
that I could run a hoe-helve from the entrenchment into
the fort. On finding we were so near upon him, he
marched out and surrendered with all his force and
goods. Brown had been such a desperate fellow, there
existed great anxiety to kill him ; but as he came under
the capitulation, we had no chance to do so at this time,
but I determined to do so on his way down the river.
I took a few brave fellows, and slipped down the river
to carry into execution my determination, but he made
his escape, through the shades of the night, in a small

When we commenced the siege of Augusta, it was
the first of April, 1*181 ; when we closed, it was the
first of the ensuing August. Having labored so hard
and incessantly to dig Brown out of his fort, I con-
cluded when I had done so to take a peep into it, but it
was a sore peep to me, as I took the small-pox from it.


I now went home very sick, and as none of our family
had ever had it, I had to take the woods — so I retreated
back of the Big House to an old field, next to the swamp,
under a large oak tree. The weather being very hot, I
suffered intensely. While there I employed one Peggy
Ogleby to be my nurse. This slut was a Tory, and in-
formed her clan where I was. They said they would
come and kill the d — n rebel, but as I had an invisible
and Almighty Protector, they had not the power to
execute their malicious design. If I am not mistaken,
the period I lay under that oak was forty days. When
I recovered, I joined Major Cooper, at Beech Island,
and we continued scouting until the end of the war, in
December, 1182. I then returned home, but the British
and Tories had nearly destroyed everything we possess-
ed. My mother lived but a short time after the close
of the war, and the estate she left each child, was thirty-
nine pounds, ten shillings sterling.

Although the war had closed, the Tories were still
troublesome, plundering and occasionally killing the
inhabitants. The foremost scoundrels in this diabolical
work, were John Black, Zekiel Maulfers, Lark Loudon,
and two others, whose names I will not mention, as
they have relations in the country who could not help


what they did. These fellows murdered a good man
at Cherry Hill, Ga.; for which, John Black and the two
whose names are not mentioned, were killed and hung
at Savannah; — the other two, the worst of the clan,
made their escape to Carolina, where th^y murdered and
plundered until the citizens were afraid to travel the
roads, day or night. Finding the Whigs were upon the
look out for them, they stole Judge Haywood's match
horses, and five negroes, and horses from various per-
sons, and started for the Western country.

I heard of their crossing the ridge, and being unwill-
ing they should escape with impunity, I got three
other men, Richard Simmons, Gill Thomas, and Benja-
min Brown, and put out after them. We pursued them
into East Tennessee — over Watorger, we came upon
them and took them prisoners. It was now in the
month of January, and extremely cold ; the snow was
on the ground two feet deep, and withal, I had the
meazles very badly. What to do I hardly knew. I con-
cluded, however, to risk the consequences, and bidding
farewell to these cold and frozen regions, I began to
retrace my steps with my prisoners and their plunder.
We crossed the Watorger on the ice, and when we had
gotten on the Yellow Mountains it snowed again and


freezed on the top, so that a passage through it was
very diflScult. We had to force our way by changing
the foremost horse every hundred yards. Just as we
got to the turn in the mountain, night overtook us, so
we encamped for the night, building our fire out of the
chestnut limbs on the snow. Next morning we came
down to the foot of the mountains, to one Samuel Bright,
and got a little dry pumpkin for our breakfast, the peo-
ple having little or nothing else to eat. Having so
many prisoners, horses, and negroes, our funds now run
out, so we had to sell what we could spare to defray
expenses. We now came to Pad. Bryant's, where these
runaways had left one of Judge Haywood's horses,
which we got, and tarried all night. It was indeed a
dark and rainy night, and the prisoners thought to take
an advantage of us by it, so they framed an excuse to
go out. Being handcuffed and tied, I apprehended no
danger, but I took one of my company along with me.
They had, unperceived, loosed the rope under their
blankels. It was in an old field, on the slant of a hill,
and when we had gotten out, they started to run down
the hill. My gun being loaded with buck-shot, I fired
at one of them, and stuck one shot in his ancle, his foot
being up at the crack of the gun, the shot run up into


the calf of his leg, but it did not bring him to the
ground. Being young and active, I now threw down
my gun and pushed after him, and just as I was about
to take hold of him I struck a stump, which knocked
me over, but I soon recovered from jny fall, and put
out after him again ; and as before, just as I was about
to take him the second time, I ran upon the second
stump, which threw me clean over. I now gave up the
chase, as by this time he had gotten too far. Next
morning I had a curiosity to examine the ground T had
run over after these fellows, and I found but the single
two stumps in the way — they had just missed them,
and I run over both. We now went in pursuit of
these villains, when we soon came upon one, and in
taking him, Simmons, put an end to his existence ; the
other was taken the next day, and put in the 96th Dis-
trict prison. When we had gotten home, we sent for
him, and he was carried to Beaufort, where there were
seven indictments against him. He was tried, con-
demned and hung. On the delivery of Judge Hay-
wood's horses to him, he gave me twenty-five guineas,
not only for his horses, but also for putting a stop to
the outrages of these villains. The other persons
whose property we brought back, gave us five guineas


apiece, and the public gave us twenty-five pounds

Some time after the close of these things, I married
and settled myself between the Sand Hill and Cedar
branches, waters of the Lower Three Runs, Barnwell
district. On each of these streams I built mills, and
from the mills, between which I lived, T gave my place
the name of " Fork Mills." The mills are now owned
by Major William H. Peyton, my son-in-law. From this
place I moved to Boiling Springs, where I have lived
and enjoyed fine health for many years, and where I
expect to die, if I die at home. I have followed the
delightful business of farming ever since the close of
the war, and the Lord has been pleased to grant me
enough of the good things of this life to keep me free
from want down to the present moment.

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(1) Gen. Stephen Bull, of Beanfort,S. C, was Colouel of one
of the regiments first raised by South Carolina, and supported the
Georgians when struggling to escape the Royal Government.
His brother, "William Bull, was a physician by profession, and
was Royal Governor of South Carolina for many years. Though
he was firm in his allegiance to the King, he exercised his ofi&ce
with great dignity and propriety, and was in fact a great favorite
in his State.

(2) CoL. William Harden, was a native of Barnwell District,
S. C. He was first appointed captain of the Beaufort Artillery
by the council of safety, about the middle of March, 1776. He
was placed in coir.mand of Fort Littleton, opposite the town of
Beaufort, where he remained about fourteen months. He then
become Colonel of militia, in Beaufort and Barnwell Districts,
and continued in active service on the southern frontier of South
Carolina, and occasionally on the Georgia side of the river.

(3) Sir Henry Clinton was the grandson of Francis, sixth


Earl of Lincoln. After distinguishing himself in the battle of
Bunker Hill, in 1775, he was sent unsuccessfully against New
York and Charleston. He afterwards, in Sept., 1776, occupied
the city of New York. On the 6th October, 1777, he assaulted
and took forts Clinton and Montgomery. In 1778 he succeeded
Gen. Howe in the command at Philadelphia, whence Washington
compelled him to retire. In May. 1780, he took Charleston, for
which he received the thanks of the House of Commons. It was
he who negotiated with Arnold in his treason. He returned to
England in 1782, where he published a narrative of his conduct
in America, 1782, observations on Cornwallis' answer, 1783, and
observations on Stedman, 1784. He was made Governor of Gib-
raltar a few months before his death. He died Dec. 22d, 1795.

(4) Admiral Marriot Arbuthnot, was the son of the celebrated
Dr. Arbuthnot, the distinguished friend of Pope and Swift, He
was made a lieutenant of the navy in August, 1739, and in 1746
commanded the Jamaica sloop, with the rank of master and com-
mander. In April, 1747, the Jamaica, in company with the
Surprise, of twenty guns, took the Superbe, a French ship of
thirty-six guns and 136 men, designed for the South Sea, and
valued at £70,000. In June, 1747, he was made a post-captain.
On the breaking out of the Revolution, he was appointed com-
missioner of the navy yard at Halifax, in Nova Scotia, and soon
after he was raised to the rank of Admiral, and also made Gover.
nor of Nova Scotia. In 1779 he was appointed to the command
of the fleet in North America. On his arrival in New York, he
acted with great spirit and humanity, in rectifying the enormous
abuses of the Naval Hospital on Long Island. About the 1st
Dec, he convoyed Sir Henry Clinton and part of his army to
Charleston, and commanded the fleet at that -plnco upon its capit-


(5) Gen. Andeew Pickens, was born in Paxton Township,
Penn., on the 19th Sept. 1739, and was of French descent. In 1752
his father removed from Virginia, where he had resided for a few
years, and settled in Waxhaw, S. 0. Andrew served in the
French war, which terminated in 1763, and he then began to
develop those qualities for which he was afterwards so cele-
brated. At the commencement of the Eevolution, he raised a
military company, and was appointed the captain. He acted a
distinguished part throughout the struggle for independence, and
his zeal, skill, and courage were rewarded by his country, in his
being rapidly promoted to the respective commands of Major,
Colonel, and Brig.-Gen. In the year 1782, he commanded in
chief an expedition against the Cherochee Indians. He was with
Gen. Lincoln at the battle of Stono, and had his horse killed
under him, while covering the retreat ordered by that General.
At the battle of Cowpens, he commanded the militia forces, and
for his gallantry and bravery on that occasion, Congress voted
him a sword. He was possessed of great sagacity and decision,
collected courage and prudence with sleepless watchfulness. At
the close of the war he served in various civil capacities. He
died suddenly at Tumassee, Pendleton District, S. C, in the year
1817, apparently in full health, at the age of 78 years.

(6) Sisters' Ferry, — a village in South Carolina, twenty-five
miles from Coosawatchie, and one hundred and three miles from

(7) Benjamin Lincoln was born in Hingham, Mass., Jan. 23d,
1733. His advantages for education were limited, and until the
age of forty he was employed in the pursuits of agriculture. He
was appointed in Feb., 1776, a Brigadier, and soon after a Maj.-
Gen., in the Provincial army, and in Feb., 1777, a Maj.-Gen. on


the Continental establisliment. His services were conspicuous
towards the close of that year, in the Northern Campaign. He
was second in command in the army which, under Gen. Gates,
captured the British under Burg-oyne. On the day after the
battle of Stillwater, he received a dangerous wound while recon-
noitering. In the following year, he was appointed by Congress
to take command in the Southern department, at the solicitation
of the delegates from that portion of the Union. After a number
of inferior operations, on the 20th of June, 1779, he made an un-
successful attack on the British post at Stouo Ferry. He after-
wards retired to Charleston, and attempted its defence, but was
compelled on the 12th May, 1780, to capitulate. He was ex-
changed in November, and in the spring following, he joined the
army on the North River, At the siege of Yorktown, he com-
manded a central division, and shared largely in the dangers and
triumphs of the day. He was designated to conduct the sur-
rendering army to the field, where their arms were deposited, and
to see the conditions of the capitulation executed. In Oct., 1781,
he became Secretary of the War Department, and after the estab-
lishment of peace he returned to his native State, and in 1787
was appointed to command the troops engaged in suppressing the
insurrection in Massachusetts. In 1788 he was chosen Lieuten-
ant-Governor of Massachusetts, and he afterwards held the office
of collector of the ports of Boston and Charlestown. He died in
the house in which he was born, on the 9th day of May, 1810,
aged 78 years.

(8) Brier's Creek. — At this place Gen. Ashe, with 1500 North
Carolina militia and a few regular troops, was on the 3d day of
March, 1779, surprised by Col. Prevost, who, taking a circuitous
route, came upon his rear with 900 men. The militia were
thrown into confusion and fled at the first fire. The Americans


had 150 killed and as many taken prisoners. The whole artillery,
stores, baggage, and nearly all the arms were captured by the
enemy. A few Continentals, under Elbert, made a brave resis-
tance, but the survivors of this body, with their gallant leader,
were at last compelled to surrender.

(9) CoL. Le B.OY Hammond, was born in Eichmond Co., Ya.
He left Virginia about 1765, and became a merchant in Augusta,
Georgia. He afterwards removed to South Carolina, w^here he
continued the mercantile business for a while, and then became
an extensive cultivator of tobacco. He took an active pari in
the Revolution, and rendered conspicuous services to his country.
He was engaged in the battle of Stono, and at the siege of
Ninety-Six. He was distinguished for his bravery and gallantry.
He died in Edgefield District, S. C, leaving but one descendant.

(10) Col. Banaster Tarleton was born in Liverpool, in 1754,
and was the son of a merchant of eminence in that place. He
was intended for the counting hause, but having no relish there-
for, he entered the army as a cornet of dragoons, about the be-
ginning of the Revolution. He soon embarked for America as
a volunteer, and after his arrival. Sir William Erskine, of the
cavalry, noticing his spirit, vigor, and capacity, appointed him
his Brigade Major. In this situation he acted in 1777, and part
of 1778, with the main army in Pemasylvania. As Oen. Howe
seldom, if ever, brought his cavalry to serious action, Tarleton
had no opportunity of displaying his character. He had plenty
of time for frolic, and when he was not riding races on the com-
mon against Major Gwynne, he was making love to the ladies,
and indulging in every sort of excess. At one time he was fairly
<;aught " in flagrante delicto," with Major Crew's mistress. In
1778 he became Lieutenant- Colonel of the British Leorion, a


corps which had just been raised. In his campaign in the South
he distinguished himself for his activity, his bravery, and his
cruelty. After the war he returned to England. He sulDse-
quently became General Tarleton, and was _M.P. for Liverpool
and Governor of Berwick. He died at Leintwardine Co., Salop,
in the year 1833, aged 79 years.

(11) Lord Charles Cornwallis was born on the 31st Dec,
1738. His title, as eldest son of Earl Cornwallis, was Lord Vis-
count Broome. He was appointed, August 4th, 1759, Capt. in
Crawford's Eoyal Volunteers, and on May 1st, 1761, Lieut.-Ool.
of the 12th Regt. On the 25th of the same month he joined his
regiment in Germany, where he served with distinction. In July,

1765, he was made Lord of the Bed Chamber, and in August 2d,
Aid-de-Camp to the King, with the rank of Col., and in March,

1766, he was appointed Col. of the 33d Eegt. On the 14th
July, 1768, he was married to Miss Jemima Jones, a lady of
most excellent disposition, and large fortune, and niece of Lt.-
Gen. Daniel Jones, of the 2d Regt. In Dec, 1770, he was made
constable of the Tower, and in Sept. 29, 1775, was raised to the
rank of Maj.-Gen. In 1776 he embarked for America, with his
own and five other regiments. He distinguished himself at the
battle of Long Island, and at Fort Washington he supported the
second- column in their attack on that place, at the head of the
Grenadiers and the 33d Regt. Lady Cornwallis being in declin-
ing health, he was about to embark for England, after his return
to New York, but on hearing the result of the battle of Trenton,
his zeal for his King superseded all family considerations, how-
ever dear to his heart, and he instantly left New York and re-
joined the army. He distinguished himself greatly during the
war, and was promoted to the rank of Lieut.-Gen. He defeated
Gates at Camden, with a much inferior force, and reduced South


Carolina to subjection, but these advantages were tarnished by
the surrender of his army at Torktown, in 1781 — an event which
established the iridependence of America. He was, notwithstand-
ing, never blamed for want of courage, prudence, or sagacity, but
on the contrary, the gallant conduct and high military talents he
had at all times shown, recommended him to the Ministry, and
he accordingly became Governor-General of India, where he re-
gained his laurels in the defeat of Tippoo, whom he compelled to
sue for peace. He afterwards became Lord-Lieutenant of Ire-
land, and subsequently became again Governor of India. He
died Oct. 5th, 1805, leaving one son and one daughter surviving
him. His remains were interred at Glazepore, with every mark
of honor and respect. His wife died in 1779, while he was in

(12) The engagement at the Waxhaws occurred on the 29th
day of May, 1780. The Americans were composed of some
Virginia troops, under the command of Col. Buford. Confiding
in their distance from the enemy, they had been at no pains to
choose a proper position. Coruwallis, having been apprised of
their situation, detached Col. Tarleton, with 700 light cavalry
and a new corps of infantry called the Legion, mounted on horse-
back, to rout and disperse them, before they could be reinforced.
By pushing on with unexampled celerity, Tarleton came upon
the Americans suddenly and unexpe^^tedly, and after a short en-
counter, routed the party, and captured the artillery, baggage,
colors, and indeed everything. The carnage was terrible The
Americans, inferior in number, made but a feeble resistance, and
cried for quarter. This was refused, and the infuriated enemy
continued to cut down and massacre them without mercy, until
satiated and tired with slaughter. The Americans had 108 killed,
and 150 wounded, and 53 taken prisoners, while the loss of the


British was only 7 killed and 12 wounded. " Tarletou's Quarters"
became afterwards a by-word to express deliberate cruelty.

A particular account of Col. Buford's defeat is contained in
Garden's Anecdotes of the Revolution, 2d series, p. 135.

' (13) Daniel MacGirth was a native of Kershaw District,
South Carolina. He at first took sides with the Americans, and
rendered valuable services to his country. Having committed a
breach of subordination, which could not be overlooked in an
army, he was tried by a court martial, and sentenced to be pub-
licly whipped. He then vowed vengeance against the American
cause, and afterwards executed his threats most fearfully and vin-
dictively, causing much public and private suffering. "When the
Americans recovered the State he fled into Georgia, and thence
into Florida. When Florida was reconveyed to the Spaniards,
by the treaty of peace, he became subject to their laws or suspi-
cions, and was arrested and confined by them for five years, in
one of their damp dungeons in the castle of St. Augustine, where
his health was totally destroyed. He died in misery, but not in
want. The father of MacGirth was a captain in the South Car-
olina militia at the time of his son's defection, but continued
firmly and devotedly attached to the interests of his country.

(14) CoL. Thomas Browne, of Augusta, Geo., commanded a
body of Royalists and Indians, and committed many aggressions

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