The Patriot Film Fact or Fiction: Events
Militia alone kept General Charles Cornwallis from advancing north:
Following the disasterous defeat at Camden, Colonel Harry Burwell informs Benjamin Martin that there is no Continental Army between General Charles Cornwallis and General George Washington in the North. They need to hold General Cornwallis in the South until the promised 10.000 French soldiers and fleet arrives in six months at the earliest. Colonel Burwell then gives Benjamin Martin a field commission of Colonel and the task of organizing the militia to Cornwallis' 8000 infantry and 600 cavalry in South Carolina.
Following the Battle of Camden in August 1780, the entire Continental Army retreated north to Charlotte, North Carolina. No contingent remained behind to officially act on behalf of the Continental Army.
What was left of Maj. General Horatio Gates' Continental force remained gathered in North Carolina from August until December 1780 when Maj. General Nathanael Greene arrived and took command. The South Carolina rebel government was also forced to flee to North Carolina. Thomas Sumter's militia was surprised and dispersed by Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton the day after the Battle of Camden. Sumter would not make an impact until November 1780.
Pockets of South Carolina militia did continue to mount resistance from August to October, independent of the Continental Army and even each other. The only well-known militia leader to successfully operate during those months in South Carolina was Francis Marion. In September, General Cornwallis sent forces after Marion, but he eluded them. In October, Cornwallis' western flanking force led by Major Patrick Ferguson was defeated at the Battle of King's Mountain. This was a major blow to Cornwallis' strategy. This along with the continuing trouble he was having with his supply lines forced him to retreat from Charlotte, North Carolina back to South Carolina where he remained largely in quarters until December when General Greene started operating with his force.
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