Tarleton Goes After Sumpter

Tarleton Goes After Sumpter

No sooner was the news of this disaster carried to Cornwallis than he ordered Tarleton from the pursuit of Marion to fall upon Sumpter. Soon after the action at Fishdam, Sumpter took up the line of march toward Ninety Six. At this time Capt. Joseph McJunkin, feeling sufficiently recruited to take the field once again, assembled as many of his command as possible and joined Sumpter at Padget’s Creek, between the Tyger and Enoree Rivers. At the same time a number of the militia from Georgia effected a junction with Sumpter. McJunkin was then appointed Major and received a commission as such. This was probably to fill a vacancy occasioned by the death of Lieut. Col. James Steen. Major William Farr subsequent to this is called Lieutenant Colonel in Major McJunkin’s written narrative. Hence the writer concludes that Farr succeeded Steen, and McJunkin ranked next to Farr in Brandon’s regiment. Steen was killed some time previous to this in Rowan County, N. C., in an attempt to arrest some Tories.

Sumpter’s march toward Ninety Six was arrested by the intelligence that Col. Tarleton was following him by forced marches with the manifest intention of falling upon him. He turned to the north, which placed the Enoree River in his front. He had barely passed this stream with his main body when Tarleton’s advance obstructed the passage of his rear guard. Sumpter, however, pushed on and was gaining ground on his pursuer. Tarleton, apprehensive that his flying foe would succeed in passing the Tyger without hindrance, which was only a few miles in advance, left his artillery and such of his infantry as he was unable to put on horseback, and pressed forward with double diligence. Sumpter having reached the margin of that stream, took a strong position with a view of allowing his troops to take refreshments. His main body occupied the hill on which Blackstock’s house was situated. The rear guard was left some distance behind on the road. The men composing it set about getting their dinner — fires were built and dough rolled around sticks and set before the fire to bake. Just at this stage of the preparations Tarleton’s force came in sight.