Battle of Camden

Battle of Camden
Part of the American Revolutionary War
DateAugust 16, 1780
LocationCamden, South Carolina
ResultDecisive British victory
Combatants
BritainUnited States
Commanders
Charles Cornwallis
Banastre Tarleton
Lord Rawdon
Horatio Gates
Johann de Kalb
Strength
2,179
(1,562 regulars, 617 militia)
3,052
(1,652 militia, 1,400 regulars)
Casualties
68 killed,
245 wounded,
11 Missing
1,000 killed or wounded,
1,000 captured


The Battle of Camden was an important battle in the Southern theatre of the American Revolutionary War. On August 16, 1780, British forces under Lieutenant General James Cornwallis routed the American forces of Major General Horatio Gates about six miles (10 km) north of Camden, South Carolina, strengthening the British hold on the Carolinas.

Battle

In January 1780, Clinton having taken over as commander in chief in North America took an army and captured Charleston. Clinton returned to New York and gave Cornwallis the task of capturing the rest of the Carolinas.

In July an American army under Horatio Gates had advanced from the north and was seriously threatening the British in South Carolina. The British were commanded at Camden by Lord Rawdon, who advanced out to meet Gates. On Gates' approach, Rawdon fell back to Camden. On 14 August, Cornwallis joined his troops in Camden with a determination to push Gates out of the Carolinas.

Cornwallis formed his army in two brigades, with Colonel Webster on the right with the Light Infantry, 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers and the 33rd Foot. On the Left was Lord Rawdon with the Irish Volunteers, Tarleton's Infantry and some provincial units. Two battalions of Frasers 71st Highlanders formed the reserve.

Gates advanced with his army with the regiments of the Continental Army on the right under Gist, Kalb's 2nd Maryland and a Delaware Regiment, his centre under the command of Caswell of North Carolina militia and his right under Stevens of the Virginia militia. Smallwood commanded the reserve of the 1st Maryland Regiment.

As the battle erupted, the British Grenadier regiments on the right fired a destructive counter-volley into the American militia and Gates' inexperienced militia fled the field. With Gates not far behind. The British wheeled round and outflanked the Americans. Johann de Kalb and the Continentals under his command stayed to fight. Johann de Kalb sustained eleven sword, bullet, and bayonet wounds. Finally, he collapsed. His loyal troops formed a circle around him and fought bravly. After a while American lines began to crumble. Utterly defeated, the remainder of the army abandoned the battlefield, pursued by Tarleton's cavalry for some 20 miles.

Gates was said to have fled with the first of the militia to be routed from the field. Casualties for the British had not been heavy. The Americans, however, lost over two thirds of their force in the battle, and all of the baggage had been captured along with the Continental artillery train. The battle accounted for the bloodiest defeat of either side during the conflict.

It should be noted that Cornwallis had de Kalb watched be his own personal docter. Even after all the effort de Kalb died three days later. Cornwallis had him buried at the battle field.

Aftermath

Gates lost control of the southern army due to his cowardnesses. General Nathanael Greene, standing next to George Washington as the ablest and most trusted officer of the Revolution, was given Gates command of the southern army and started recruiting additional troops.

British Regiments

23rd Foot, the Royal Welch Fusiliers

33rd Foot, now the Duke of Wellington's Regiment

Two battalions of Fraser's 71st Highlanders

Lord Rawdon's Irish Volunteers

Tarleton's Legion

Loyalist Militia

American Regiments

1st Maryland Regiment

2nd Maryland Regiment

Delaware Regiment

North Carolina Militia

Virginia Militia

British Order of Battle

Overall Command: Lord Charles Cornwallis

Right Brigade:

Commanding Officer: Colonel Webster
  • Light Infantry
  • 23rd Foot
  • 33rd Foot
  • 2 artillery guns
Left Brigade:

Commanding Officer: Lord Rawdon
  • Irish Volunteers
  • Tarleton's Legion
  • Loyalist Militia
  • 2 artillery guns
Reserve:

Commanding Officer: Fraser
  • Two battalions of 71st Highlanders

American Order of Battle

Overall Command: Horatio Gates

Right Flank:

Commanding Officer: Gist
  • 2nd Maryland Regiment
  • Delaware Regiment
  • 3 artillery guns
Centre Flank:

Commanding Officer: Caswell
  • North Carolina Militia
  • 2 artillery guns
Left Flank:

Commanding Officer: Stevens
  • Virginia Militia
Reserve:

Commanding Officer: Smallwood
  • 1st Maryland
  • 2 artillery guns

The Battle on Film

In the movie The Patriot (2000 film) Ben and Gabriel Martin are seen watching the battle in dismay. Ben comments at Gates stupidity at fighting "muzzel to muzzel with Redcoats". There are a couple of historic inaccuraccy's of course. Some include: too many Continentals compared to miltia. In real life the miltia retreated long before the most of Continentals did, but in the movie the Continentals and the militia retreated at the same time.

See also

References

External Links

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August 16 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events


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Subjects:     Archaeology - Architecture -
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Camden, South Carolina
Nickname: Steeplechase Capital of the World

Coordinates:
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Kershaw
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Motto
"Dieu et mon droit" [2]   (French)
"God and my right"
Anthem
"God Save the Queen" [3]
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Motto
"In God We Trust"   (since 1956)
"E Pluribus Unum"   ("From Many, One"; Latin, traditional)
Anthem
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Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis (31 December 1738 – 5 October 1805, in Ghazipur, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India) was a British military commander and colonial governor.
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Sir Banastre Tarleton, 1st Baronet, GCB (21 August 1754 – 25 January 1833) was a British soldier and politician. His reputation for ruthlessness earned him the nickname "Bloody Ban" and "Butcher" amongst American revolutionists.
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Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, (9 December 1754 - 28 November 1826) was a British politician and military officer who served as Governor-General of India from 1813 to 1823.
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Horatio Lloyd Gates (1726–1806) was an American general during the Revolutionary War. He is usually credited with the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga and blamed for the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Camden.
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Johann von Robaii, Baron de Kalb (born Johann Kalb) (June 19, 1721 – August 19, 1780) was a German soldier and volunteer who served as a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
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