Patriot Milita General Andrew Pickens
||Born: September 19, 1739; Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Died: August 11, 1817;
Early Life: 1739-1775
Andrew Pickens was born near Paxtang, Pennsylvania in Bucks County on September 19, 1739. His parents were French Huguenots, who had fled to Scotland, then Ireland before mmigrating to America from Ulster. His family traveled the Great Wagon Road and settled in the Waxhaws region of the Carolinas. Pickens served in the Cherokee War of 1760-61. In 1761, he served as an officer in a provincial regiment that accompanied British Colonel James Grant against Lower Cherokee settlements. In 1764, Pickens and his brother sold their farm in the Waxhaws and bought land in the Long Cane Creek settlements in Abbeville County in southwestern South Carolina near the Georgia border. There, he met Rebecca Calhoun. In 1765, they married and would have 12 children. In 1768, Pickens built a blockhouse as a defense against Indian attacks and a base for Indian trading. He was a successful farmer and was serving as a justice of the peace as the war began.
Revolutionary War: 1775-1778
In 1775, Pickens became a captain of Patriot militia. On November 19, 1775, he was at Ninety-Six, South Carolina with Major Andrew Williamson and 600 militia. A Tory force of 1,800 drove them into the fort there. After two days, a truce was negotiated. He then participated in Snow's Campaign in the winter of 1775. In Fall of 1776, as a major of the militia, Pickens joined Williamson's expedition against the Cherokee Indians who had allied themselves with the Loyalists. In 1778, Pickens joined Williamson's failed attempt to recapture Augusta, Georgia.
Kettle Creek, Georgia: February 14, 1779
After General Archibald Campbell captured Savannah, Georgia, Colonel Boyd raised a Tory force in Anson County, North Carolina. He then marched to join Lt. Colonel Hamilton in Georgia. Boyd's numbers grew to nearly 700 as he crossed South Carolina. Meanwhile, Lt. Colonel Hamilton had driven Patriot Colonel McGirth back into South Carolina. McGirth was then joined by Andrew Pickens, who now took command of the 350-man force. On February 10, 1779, Pickens crossed the Savannah River at Cowen's Ferry and then besieged Hamilton's force as Fort Carr.
Pickens now learned of Colonel Boyd's approach and decided to go after him. Pickens crossed the Savannah River back into South Carolina near Fr. Charlotte. Boyd now headed for the river crossing at Cherokee Ford, which was ten miles norther of Fr. Charlotte. He was slowed by some skirmishing around February 12, 1779, and eventually crossed the Savannah another five miles upstream. Pickens, meanwhile, circled around on the South Carolina side of the river and crossed into Georgia upstream from Boyd and followed him south. On February 13th, unaware of Pickens' pursuit, Boyd crossed the Broad river near its junction with the Savannah and then made camp that evening on the north side of Kettle Creek.
On the morning of February 14, 1779, Colonel Boyd was surprised by the rebel force. Pickens commanded the center, Colonel John Dooley the right and Elijah Clarke the left. The Tory pickets fired and then retreated into camp. Boyd rallied his men who fought on for over an hour before finally being defeated. Boyd would die that evening from wounds. All the captured Tories were convicted of treason and five were hanged. Pickens' victory destroyed Tory morale in South Carolina, while bolstering the numbers of Patriot militia.
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