Patriot Militia General Thomas Sumter
||Born: August 14, 1734; Virginia frontier
Died: June 1, 1832; South Mount Plantation near Stateburg, South Carolina
Battles: Fort Sullivan
The Southern Campaign: 1780-1781
On May 28, 1780, Thomas Sumter rode to the American headquarters at Salisbury, North Carolina and proposed raising a militia. His militia soon began attacking British supply lines. On June 15, 1780, he was named commander of the state militia and appointed Colonel. On July 30, 1780, he was repelled when he attacked a loyalist stronghold at Rocky Mount on the Catawba River. On August 6, 1780, he and Major William Richardson Davie defeated a British and Loyalist force at Hanging Rock. Sumter proved to be a rather stubborn and perhaps even a bit of an egotistical man. He regularly refused to participate in joint maneuvers with the Continental Army, and preferred to go off on his own. As a result, his militia were not present at the Battle of Camden on August 16, 1780, although they were attacking supply lines near the Wateree River on the 15th. On August 17, 1780, his force was scattered in a surprise attack by Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton at Fishing Creek on the Wateree River. Sumter managed to escape and fled to Charlotte, North Carolina.
Sumter soon began rebuilding a force and on October 6, 1780, he was promoted to Brigadier General. On November 9, 1780, he was attacked by Major James Wymess at Fish Dam Ford on the Broad River, but this time, he was victorious. As news of the victory spread, his numbers swelled to over 1,000 men. On November 20, 1780, he defeated Lt. Colonel Tarleton at Blackstock's Ford on the Tyger River, but during the battle he was seriously wounded and put out of action until February. When he returned to battle in February, Sumter lost more than he won. His attacks were repelled by the British at Fort Granby, Thomson's Plantation and Fort Watson. His lone success during February was at Manigault's Ferry. During the summer of 1781, he continued to harass the British supply lines around Charleston. He continued to be unwilling to coordinate his efforts with the Continental Army. His influence was severly sapped when he led a disasterous frontal attack on the British at Quinby Bridge. He disbanded what was left of his militia and retired to North Carolina.
After the Revolutionary War: 1781-1786
Following the war, he founded the town of Stateburg and held nearly 150,000 acres. He was elected to the state assembly in 1782 and was present in 1788, when the Proposed Constitutional Convention arrived. He served the state assembly in 1789, and then was elected to the First Congress in New York. He was reelected to the Second Congress, but was defeated in 1793. In 1796, he was elected back to Congress, which now met in Washington, D.C. In 1801, he was elected by the State Assembly to the Senate, to fill out the term of Charles Pickney. He was reelected to serve a full term. He was reelected again in 1810, but now being seventy-six years old and tiring of public life, he resigned and retired to South Mount Plantation, his home near Stateburg. Even out of public office, he took a strong stand in favor of States Rights, which was at the height of debate when he died on June 1, 1832 at South Mount.
3. Buchanan, John; The Road to Guilford Courthouse
Topic Last Updated: 2/26/2001
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