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Battle of Black Mingo
Part of the American Revolutionary War
200px
South Carolina historical marker
DateSeptember 14, 1780
LocationGeorgetown County, South Carolina
33°37′N 79°26′W / 33.617°N 79.433°W / 33.617; -79.433Coordinates: 33°37′N 79°26′W / 33.617°N 79.433°W / 33.617; -79.433
Result American victory
Belligerents
 United States Patriot militia  British Loyalist militia
Commanders and leaders
Francis Marion John Coming Ball
Strength
2100? 1000?
Casualties and losses
2 killed, 5 wounded 6 killed,8 wounded


The Battle of Black Mingo was a skirmish during the American Revolution. It took place in September 1780[1] in the vicinity of Dollard's Tavern near Black Mingo Creek not far from Willtown, South Carolina. General Francis Marion attacked and scattered a contingent of Loyalist troops that had been left to secure the region by Colonel Banastre Tarleton after his destructive march through the area. The Loyalists, under Colonel John Coming Ball, were driven into the nearby swamp after suffering significant casualties.[2][3]

Background[edit | edit source]

A company of militia was placed under the command of Brigadier General Francis Marion in the wake of the Battle of Ramsour's Mill. Marion then engaged in a series of guerrilla actions to harry elements of the British force and its Loyalist supporters. Following their victory at Camden the British sent out contingents to secure the countryside and capture prominent Revolutionary leaders like Marion. These activities reduced company morale, and the hunt for Marion caused men to leave his company, until he only had about 60 left and was forced to retreat into hiding in the swamps of the border between North and South Carolina.

The British then traveled across South Carolina, plundering and destroying Revolutionary properties. This prompted Marion to move into South Carolina, where Revolutionaries angered by the British action signed up in large numbers. He was alerted to the presence of a large number of Loyalists near Black Mingo Creek, then 15 miles (24 km) away. While the reports indicated that the Loyalist numbers were larger than his own, the enthusiasm of his men prompted him to agree to an attack.

Battle[edit | edit source]

While Marion had wanted to surprise the Loyalists with an early morning attack, the surprise was spoiled when the lead horses in his column started crossing the wooden plank bridge across Black Mingo Creek. Alarm shots were heard in the Loyalist camp, and Marion's company rushed to engage them. While the surprise was not complete, the Loyalists were sufficiently disorganized that the larger force was routed and forced to retreat into the swamp.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Word of Marion's success spread, and he continued to recruit well after the battle. He also learned a lesson: he reportedly never again crossed a bridge intending surprise without first laying blankets down on it.

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. The date is reported as the 14th on the nearby South Carolina historical marker, but as the 28th by Chandler (2004)
  2. William Dobein James, "A Sketch of the Life of Brig. Gen. Francis Marion" (1821)
  3. J. W. Nelson Chandler, "Willtown, Black Mingo: The Rise and Fall of an Early Village in the South Carolina Lowcountry" in The South Carolina Historical Magazine Vol. 105, No. 2 (April 2004) pp. 107-134

References[edit | edit source]

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