McJunkin Incapacitated by Illness
Shortly after the battle at Musgrove’s Mill Major McJunkin had an attack of fever which disabled him from service until November, consequently he had no share in the stirring events which occurred in the region round about in September and October of that year. But the writer, after having enjoyed his guidance thus far, feels disposed to venture abroad for the season of his confinement and exhibit some of the transactions which took place on the arena where his guide had been accustomed to point out the doings of his contemporaries. In this the writer wishes rather to occupy the place of an inquirer than that of a teacher. He is conscious that his knowledge of the events to which he expects to allude is very imperfect, and if he has the good fortune to draw out information from persons better informed or discover where accurate information can be obtained, he will feel that his efforts have not been wholly in vain.
The writer has been told by Richard Thompson of Fairforest that he passed through the battleground at Musgrove’s a few days after it occurred. He was then a lad of twelve or fourteen, and going in company with his mother to visit his father, John Thompson, who was a prisoner with the British at Ninety Six. He stated that there were marks of battle for two miles along the road on the east side of the river and that he made this observation in regard to the shooting of the different parties: The marks of the balls shot by the Whigs on the trees were generally from three to five feet above the ground, while their antagonists had generally shot entirely above the heads of the Whigs.
On his arrival at Ninety Six he learned from his father and other prisoners of his acquaintance that the fugitives from the battle had reported that the Whigs amounted to 5,000; that the garrison was in such a state of consternation that they would probably have fled if the Whigs had showed themselves. He further remarked that the prisoners at that garrison were treated in a barbarous manner. They were crowded into the jail, notwithstanding the warmth of the season; food of an unpalatable and unhealthy kind alone was furnished and very inadequate in quantity. There was no attention to the cleanliness. Col. Thompson was handcuffed in addition to other hardships unbecoming his rank as an officer and his standing as a citizen. Mr. Thompson was released about the first of November, got home to his family and died Christmas of disease contracted during his imprisonment.
It has been previously stated that Col. Williams met Col. Sumpter a few days after the Battle of Hanging Rock, that a part of Sumpter’s force united with Williams and were led by him to Musgrove’s Mill and thence fell back toward North Carolina. Sumpter immediately went down the Catawba River in obedience to the requisition of Gen. Gates. The latter seems never to have entertained a doubt of gaining a complete victory over the British Army at Camden. And in order to cut off every facility for their retreat to ward Charleston he despatched a small force under Col. Marion to destroy the boats on the river below that place. At the same time he ordered Sumpter to perform a similar service near the village; also to prevent their supplies from reaching the British camp. These daring partisans did the duties assigned them with their accustomed intrepidity. Sumpter, in addition to the work of destruction and interception, attacked and defeated Col. Carey at the head of a strong body of Loyalists, captured foraging parties, &c., until he had in his possession forty wagons well loaded with military stores and 300 prisoners.