Surveys by Year: 1780
Declaration of Independence

Though Lt. General Henry Clinton had sailed for Charleston, South Carolina in December 1779, he would not reach land again until May, when he actually landed near Savannah, Georgia first before sailing back north to near Charleston. While Clinton was still maneuvering at sea, Don Bernardo de Galvez continued his successful campaign in West Florida by capturing Fort Charlotte in the Battle of Mobile on March 13, 1780.

General Clinton began the Siege of Charleston on April 13. After a month, Maj. General Benjamin Lincoln surrendered on May 12. On June 5, Clinton left to return to New York and charged his second-in-command, Lt. General Charles Cornwallis to subjugate the South, without compromising British control of Savannah and Charleston. Cornwallis immediately set up a semicircle of garrisons across South Carolina.

Meanwhile, Maj. General Horatio Gates was chosen to replace General Lincoln as Southern Commander and immediately set out to confront General Cornwallis. On August 16, 1780 at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina, Cornwallis routed Gates. The militia had quickly fled the field, leaving the Continental regulars led by Baron de Kalb outnumbered. Gates himself fled north for miles.

In the North, treason had shaken the Patriot cause. Brig. General Benedict Arnold had lobbied for command of West Point, which guarded the Hudson River north of New York City. General George Washington named him to the post on August 3. Arnold began to weaken the post's defenses to make it easier to fall to the British. On September 22, Arnold's British contact Major John André was captured and Arnold's treacherous plan was revealed. Hee himself was able to escape to the British.

General Cornwallis now controlled most of South Carolina, although partisans Thomas Sumter and Francis Marion continued to harass his supply lines and outposts. Cornwallis' attempt to invade North Carolina was foiled when his left flanking force under Major Patrick Ferguson was wiped out at the Battle of King's Mountain, South Carolina. Cornwallis then retreated back south to Winnsboro, South Carolina, and quartered for the winter.

On October 17, Congress replaced General Gates. On December 3, Maj. General Nathanael Greene arrived at Deep River, North Carolina and took command from General Gates. He spent the next month, restoring discipline and reequipping his army, which was now reduced to a rabble. On December 21, 600 men under Brig. General Daniel Morgan were split from Greene's main army.

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