The Various Cedar Spring Fights
The writer cannot close this account of the battles at Cedar Spring without a few remarks. The reader who has followed him through the whole of his narrative has noticed that he has described three conflicts at or near that place. The first is contained in the account given of the Thomas family. This is stated upon the authority of Major McJunkin, and was probably the last in the order of time. The second occurred when Col. Clarke was retreating from Georgia with his regiment of refugee militia. This is here described in the language of Mills, the author of “Statistics of South Carolina”, and a writer in the Magnolia for 1842.
The third took place between the forces of Clarke and Shelby combined, perhaps two weeks subsequent to the first. The biography of Shelby cited above and local tradition is the authority upon which I have relied in the statement given. I have no reason to doubt that statements from local traditions in regard to these engagements are extremely liable to error and confusion. This is especially the case from the fact that few of the citizens in that section were present. The Whigs were from neighboring states and probably strangers to the neighborhood, and the three conflicts occurring in the same vicinity, in the same summer, the traditions would become blended and confused. This is actually the case. One man will tell you of the fight which commenced at the orchard and then go back to the spring and tell about that affair.
In the early part of November, 1780, the following was about the state of things in South Carolina:
Lord Cornwallis, with the flower of the British force at the South, had his headquarters at Winnsboro. On his right a strong garrison was maintained at Camden, another at Georgetown, while his left had the posts at Ninety Six and Augusta. Another chain of posts extended across the state, including Granby and Orangeburg, in the rear of his position. Charleston, with other places on the sea coast, was strongly garrisoned. In front of His Lordship’s most advanced posts strong bands of Tories were engaged in hunting the scattered Whigs, collecting provisions, plundering and burning houses. In these enterprises they were assisted by foraging parties from the garrisons above mentioned. To oppress these formidable demonstrations a remnant of the army recently led by Gen. Gates lay at Hillsboro, N.C. Some bodies of militia in different parts of the state were preparing to take the field. Gen. Marion, at the head of some two hundred followers, often darted on parties of the enemy and cut them off in the region of the Peedee.
Gen. Sumpter was also again at the head of a considerable force immediately in front of the position occupied by Cornwallis. Sumpter marched and counter-marched through the region lying between the Catawba and Enoree Rivers with a view of collecting his friends and checking the ferocity of his foes. Marion, however, at this time seems to have engrossed most of His Lordship’s notice.