British Colonel Patrick Ferguson
Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey: October 1778
On October 4-5, 1778, Captain Patrick Ferguson led 300 men from the 70th regiment and the 3rd New Jersey Tory Regiment against a privateer base at Little Egg Harbor. Meanwhile, a naval force also approached. Pulaski's Legion of Continentals was sent to combat the British, but Ferguson was able to destroy ten vessels and moved twenty miles up the Mullica River destroying storehouses, shipyards and homes of prominant patriots.
When Ferguson return to the mouth of the river, he learned that Pulaski was camped not far away and security was lax. Some believe that Captain Gustav Juliet had deserted Pulaski and gave the British that information. Ferguson took 250 men, rowed ten miles in small boat under the cover of darkness and surprised Pulaski at Mincock Island. At about 4 A.M. on October 5, 1778, the British Tories entered three house and killed about fifty officers and men by bayonet. Pulaski's infantry commander Colonel de Boze was killed in the attack. Pulaski arrived with his dragoons and was able to drive Ferguson back to his boats with some of his men captured in the confusion. The Americans raised charges of a massacre. There is some dispute over the dates of the attack with some listing it on October 15, 1778.
Revolutionary War: 1778-1779
Ferguson had now won the respect and confidence of General Howe's successor, Lt. General Henry Clinton. In 1779, Clinton named Ferguson Commandant of Stony Point where he oversaw the building of fortifications. But in October 1779, he was ordered to dismantle and withdraw. On October 26, 1779, Ferguson was promoted to Major in the 71st Highlanders and put in command of the American Volunteers, which were made up of New York and New Jersey Tory units. He then joined General Clinton and Lt. General Charles Cornwallis when they sailed south.
Southern Campaign: 1780
In February 1780 as part of the approach force, he was put ashore in South Carolina in command of 300 cavalry including 150 American Volunteers and 150 men detatched from the 71st Highlanders. During the march to Charleston, South Carolina, Ferguson's Rangers were accidentally attacked by Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton's British Legion and Ferguson's good left arm was bayoneted. He would fully recover, but spent some time riding with his reins in his teeth.
Captain Ferguson rejoined General Clinton on March 25, 1780 outside of Charleston. He was then detached to cut off American lines of communication. On April 13, he joined up with Lt. Colonel Tarleton and his British Legion in an operation to secure a supply depot at Monck's Corner, South Carolina. On the 14th, they intercepted a letter from Brig. General Isaac Huger to Maj. General Benjamin Lincoln, which revealed the Continental deployments around Monck's Corner. They were reinforced with infantry under Lt. Colonel James Webster and in the early morning hours of April 14, 1780, they totally surprised and routed General Huger. Ferguson then operated on the north bank of the Cooper River and participated in the capture of Fort Moultrie on May 7, 1780.
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