Miscellaneous Tales

Samuel Clowney Captures Five Tories

Some time during the heat of the conflict in upper South Carolina, Samuel Clowney, an Irishman and a most determined Whig, was on a scout accompanied by a Negro man of remarkable fidelity to his master and withal a strong Whig.  As Clowney was approaching the margin of a stream he heard a party of horsemen approaching from the opposite direction.  It was dark.  He conjectured that they must be Tories and determined to try his hand with the whole party.  He gave the Negro an intimation of his intention and of the part he should act.  They remained quietly at the brink of the creek until the party was within the banks.  He then demanded who they were.  They answered, "Friends to the King!"  He ordered them to come out instantly and give up their arms or they would be cut to pieces. They obeyed.  He directed his men, as though he had a dozen or two, to gather up the arms and surround the prisoners.  He then ordered them forward march, under the direction of the guide, and conducted them in safety to his own party.  The prisoners were much chagrined when they found their captors to be only two in number, while they were five.

A Surprise for Whigs and Tories Near Kings Mountain

A day or two before the Battle of King's Mountain a party of Whigs consisting of some eight or ten men were lurking about the thickets along Brown's Creek near Broad River to gain intelligence of both friends and enemies.  Joseph Hughes, John Savage, William Sharp, William Giles and Charles Crade are said to have been in the party.  Late in the afternoon they took a pet Tory.  From him they ascertained that a party of Tories, some 250 in number, intended to encamp that night at a school house near Hollingsworth Mill on Brown's Creek.  The house was on a high hill which was covered with thick woods.  Hughes and party determined to try to give them an alarm. They accordingly arranged their plan of attack.

Some time after dark they approached the enemy's camp, spread themselves in open order around the hill at some distance from each other with the understanding that they should approach until hailed by the sentinels, lie down until they fired, then make a rush toward the camp, commence firing one at a time, raise a shout and rush into the camp.

Accordingly they moved forward with great caution.  The fires in the camp threw a glaring light toward the canopy of heaven and lit up the forest far and near.  All was joy and gladness in the camp. The jovial song and merry laugh told the listening ears of the approaching Whigs that good cheer abounded among the friends of King George around the fires.

But hark!  The sentinel hails and then fires and then a rush.  Bang, bang, go the guns, and then such screams and yells throughout the woods.  Mercy, mercy, cry the Tories, and away they go.  The poor scattered Whigs come one after another among the fires and pass around, but not a Tory can be found.  They hear a rushing, rumbling sound among the woods, but growing fainter and more faint at each successive moment.

They look cautiously around, see wagons standing hither and thither, horses hitched to them and at the surrounding trees, guns stacked, cooking utensils about the fires, clothing and hats and caps scattered in merry confusion, but not a man could they find.

They kept guard until the gray twilight streaked the eastern sky, momentarily expecting the returning party, but nobody came.  The sun rises and mounts high above the hills and still no report from the fugitives.  What is to be done with the beasts, arms, baggage and baggage wagons?  They cut a road from the camp around the hill some distance to a secluded spot.  Thither the wagons, &c. are transported and watched for several days.  Finally the one on guard sees a party of fifteen horse men rapidly approaching.  He notifies the others and they consult for a moment.  Their conclusion is that it is the advance guard of an army coming to retake the spoils, but they are resolved to test the matter.

They advance and hail their visitors while permitting their horses to drink at the creek.  But the horsemen responded only by a confused flight.  They fired upon the flying corps and a single horse stops, unable to proceed.  His rider surrenders in dismay.  From him they learned that his party was just from King's Mountain and escaping as best they could from their assailants.  Having gotten off from that scene of carnage, they were pushing on with no other object than personal safety.

Then they went out and collected as many friends as could be gathered and conveyed away their spoils where they and their friends could enjoy the benefit.

Whig Rendezvous at Love's Ford

Love's Ford of Broad River is some miles below the mouth of Pacolet.  Crossing at this place was somewhat difficult and not without danger to persons not acquainted with the place.  In addition to the difficulties in the stream itself, the country around was in a wild, unsettled state at the period of the Revolutionary War.  The low ground was covered with dense canebrakes, the hills, abundant round about, clad with reeds and wild pea vines to their very summits.  This vicinity afforded an excellent shelter for fugitives during the period of the Tory ascendancy in South Carolina.  At this time the ford was rarely passed except by armed bands and the more adventurous persons of the vicinity.  The Whigs resident in adjacent parts of the country were accustomed to frequent the locality for the double purpose of concealment and to embarrass the movements of the enemy through this section.

On the evening of the next day after the Battle at Cowpens a party of some fifty or sixty British troops, having succeeded in making good their retreat that far from the battle, were moving on toward Love's Ford.  Their object was to reach the camp of Lord Cornwallis.  Some distance from the river their leader turned off the road to the house of a Mr. Palmer to get directions.  Here he met Mr. Sharp.  The latter immediately presented his rifle and ordered him to surrender.  The officer obeyed.  Sharp learned his character, object, &c., as quick as possible.

Having secured the commander, he determined to lose no time in pursuing his party.  Accordingly, he went to his hiding place in the woods to rally his force.  This consisted of James Savage, Richard Hughes, and perhaps others.  About the time the men were gotten together a Mrs. Hall, a resident in the vicinity, came up in great haste.  She had seen the British on their way and ran to give notice to the Whigs.

Sharp and party pursued.  Half a mile from the ford they met a man running as for life.  He reported on crossing the river he had come upon a party of British soldiers, that they had stopped on top of a hill, apparently with a view of spending the night.  Their armor and uniforms glistened in the sun, and though they took no notice of him, yet he was greatly alarmed at his situation.  Sharp led on his men.  They presented themselves suddenly before the enemy and ordered them to surrender.  The summons was obeyed by some thirty or forty men.  The balance ran off, some down the river, others threw their guns into it and leaped in themselves.  Sharp led his prisoners to Morgan's camp and delivered them up prisoners of war. 

Major Samuel Otterson

The above instance has its counter part in the following, which is found in Mills's Statistics of South Carolina:

"Major Samuel Otterson being on his way to join Morgan at Cowpens, was followed by a few badly mounted volunteers.  Finding on his approach to the place that the battle was begun, he determined to halt his men near a cross road, which he knew the enemy would take on the return, and wait either to make prisoners in case of their defeat or to attempt the rescue of our men who might be prisoners in their hands.

"It was not long before a considerable body of the British horsemen, were discovered in full speed coming down the road.  They appeared evidently to have been defeated.  Major (then Captain) Otterson now proposed to his men to follow the enemy and attempt to make some prisoners, but found only one man willing to join him.  Having mounted him on the best horse in the company and having armed themselves in the best possible manner, they pushed on after the flying enemy. In the pursuit Capt. Otterson prudently determined to keep at some distance in the rear until dark.  He occasionally stopped at some of the houses along the road, ascertained the situation, number and distance of the enemy, and found his suspicions were verified that they had been defeated and that these horsemen were a part of Tarleton's cavalry.  Toward dusk Capt. Otterson and his companion pushed their horses nearer the enemy, and when it was dark dashed in among them with a shout, fired their arms and ordered them to surrender.  The darkness prevented the enemy from knowing the number of those by whom they were surprised and they surrendered at once.  They were required to dismount, come forward and deliver up their arms, which they did.  Being all secured and light struck, nothing could exceed the mortification of the British officer in command when he found that he had surrendered to two men.

"But this was not the end of this gallant affair.  These British troopers, thirty in number, were all conducted by their captors in safety into North Carolina and delivered to Morgan as prisoners of war. Several days had to elapse before this was done, during which time these men never closed their eyes in sleep.

"Major Otterson's residence was on Tyger River in the vicinity of Hamilton's Ford.  He distinguished himself on several occasions in time of the war and proved a highly respectable and useful citizen after its close.  Some thirty years ago he removed to Alabama."

Whig Scouts Surprised on Fairforest creek

A party of eight persons were set on a scout.  They stopped at the house of an old man named Leighton.  The house was near Fairforest Creek and not far from its mouth.  A lane passed through the plantation by his house.  Leighton was of doubtful politics, with an inclination to the strongest side.  At the time the scouts stopped a party of 100 Tories were lying on the other side of the creek.  In a short time they came over and formed on each side of the house, unperceived by the Whigs.  Two of their party came near and fired.  Two of the Whigs, William Sharp and William Giles, mounted their horses and charged through the Tories and made good their escape.  Two others, John Jolly and Charles Crane, ran off on foot through the field.  Crane succeeded, but Jolly was shot dead.  The remaining four staid in the house, made a gallant defense, killed and wounded a number of their assailants, but after night were compelled to capitulate.  They were put in jail at Ninety Six, where two of them, Richard Hughes Sr., and his son, John, died.  The other two, James Johnson and Allbritton, returned.   This affair occurred in the latter part of 1780.

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