Patriot Milita General Andrew Pickens
||Born: September 19, 1739; Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Died: August 11, 1817;
Revolutionary War: 1779-1781
On May 12, 1780, Lt. General Henry Clinton captured Charlestown (Charleston), South Carolina from Maj. General Benjamin Lincoln and then Lt. General Charles Cornwallis routed Maj. General Horatio Gates at the Battle of Camden on August 16, 1780. The successive Continental defeats convinced militia leaders such as Pickens and Thomas Sumter to discontinue their campaigning. Pickens surrendered a fort in the Ninety-Six District. He and three hundred of his men went home to sit out the war on parole.
Pickens' parole did not last however. After Tory raiders destroyed most of his property and frightened his family, he informed the British that they had violated the terms of parole and rejoined the war. Ironically, Sumter also resumed fighting under similar circumstances. Pickens was soon operating in the Ninety-Six District. During this period of the war, Pickens would join Francis Marion and Thomas Sumter as the most well-known partisan leaders in the Carolinas.
Cowpens, South Carolina: January 17, 1781
At the Battle of Cowpens, Brig. General Daniel Morgan gave Pickens command of the militia, which played a key role in the battle. On the evening of January 16th, Morgan personally instructed the militia to hold its ground while firing two rounds and then retreat. On the morning of January 17, Pickens and the militia carried out the plan perfectly, which led Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton and British to believe that the militia was fleeing. The British blinding charged ahead and were drawn into a double flanking and soundly defeated. .Following Cowpens, South Carolina Governor John Rutledge promoted Pickens to brigadier general. He would also be awarded a sword by Congress.
Augusta, Georgia: May 22-June 5, 1781
Pickens' militia was soon recalled to defend their own homes and so he missed the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781. In April, he raised a regiments of state regulars. In May 1781, Maj. General Nathanael Greene sent Pickens and Lt. Colonel Henry Lee to support Elijah Clarke in operations against Augusta, Georgia. The siege began on May 22nd and after maneuvering, securing outposts and the cutting off of reinforcements by the Patriots, Colonel Thomas Brown surrendered Augusta on June 5, 1781.
Ninety-Six, South Carolina: May 22-June 19, 1781
Following the surrender of Augusta, Pickens and Lt. Colonel Lee joined General Greene in his siege at Ninety-Six, South Carolina. Greene had begun his siege on May 22, 1781, the same day that Augusta had been besieged. On June 11th, Greene ordered Pickens and Lt. Colonel William Washington to aid Thomas Sumter in blocking a relief column led by Lord Rawdon. However, Sumter instead moved to Fort Granby, allowing Rawdon to make his way to Ninety-Six. On June 19th, Greene had to give up the siege and retreat after a failed assault.
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