Sgt. Maj. of the King’s American Regiment[1]

This is an excerpt of a informative diary of a Loyalist non-commissioned officer in the American Revolution who saw action in the middle and southern states.  Teasing out the where, who and seminal events adds exciting details to studies of the War[2].   To experiment with crowdsourced annotation of historical documents, I offer this as a start and solicit your input for correcting my footnotes and to add others.  Please contact me at cbbaxley@truvista.net with your suggestions.

Excerpt of Diary – the King’s American Regiment in South Carolina


Decr. 14th. 1780 – We Arrived Safe at the Wharf in Charles Town, After Some fatigue & Danger on the Bar –

Decr. 19th. 1780 I went into Town & Spent the Day very Agreably, with the Serjt. Majr. P.W.A. [Prince of Wales American Regiment] Volunteers, at the Kings Head, in Trade Street.[3]  I Returned to the Ship, which was then underway.  We landed on the morning of the 20th at Hoff Cars [?][4] Where Lt. Colo. [George] Campbell takes upon himself the command of the Regt. as Colo. [Edmund] Fanning[5] took Quarters in Charles Town.

Decr. 21st. 1780 – Marchd. from Hoffcess [?].  Nothing happened on our way to George Town, where we Arrived the evening of the 24th Decr 1780.[6]

25th. – Christmas Day, the Regt. marchd out in hopes of falling in with the Scoudralls [scoundrels], but they fled on our Approach, Colo. Campbell & Lt. Willson were Slightly wounded, One Rebel taken Prisoner.[7]

Decr. 30th. 1780 – This day compleats four years Service in the King’s Amern. Regt.


January 1st. 1781 – Captn. [John] Bluck[8] Marchd from George Town, with the Detachment under his Command, after being Reliev’d. by the K.A. Regt. –

7th Jany. – Sunday – Majr. Tenpenny [Robert Timpany][9] comes to George Town, who had been to the Rebels with a flag of truce.  George Town is a place, lying on the Santee, about 60 Miles Distant from Charles Town.[10]  Several refugees are in and about the Town, & some notorious rebels, are trading, trafficing & making their fortune.

8th January – Colo. Campbell goes Out with a Detachment of Horse & foot, towards Pedee River, the Same day I was taken with the Agues[11]

10th Jany. – Colo. Campbell return’d with some Horses & Cattle, Two Serjeants & one Corpl. of the Dragoons were taken Prisoner –

January 19th 1780 [sic, 1781] – Lt. Smith of the K.A. Regt. Marches to the Santee, with a party of Mounted Infantry, & returns the Same Evening – Colo. Gordons Sloop was taken by the Rebels, on her way to Charles Town.


Matthias Ross, Lt in the P.W.A. Volunteers Died in Charles Town.  Jonas Randal Private in the above Regt. died near Hanging Rock.

Jany. 23rd. 1781 – Ensn. [Elisha] Budd Return’d with the party under his Command. from a Successful Cruize, having retaken Colo. Gordons Sloop & Kill’d & wounded 20 Rebels, with no other Damage than, Colo. Gordon recg. a Ball, in his Shoulder –

January 25th 1781 – About four oClock in the morning Rebel Colo. [Henry] Lee, Surprized the Garrison of G. Town, in which Colo. Campbell, Ensn. Young & Adjt. Crookshank were made Prisoner, the latter was Dangerously wounded.[12]

February 4th. 1781 – An Officer of the Vols of Ireland was brought, by a Rebel flag, to George Town.

Feby. 10th. – Colo. Campbell & Major [James] Grant Went to Charles Town

14 Feby. – A Detachment of About 100 foot & forty Horse, under Command of Captn. Saunders, Marchd. to Black River, where Captn. Jas. De Peyster, Ensn. [Elisha] Budd & Twenty four men were taken Prisoners.  The Rest Return’d with About Twenty head of Cattle & 5 Officers & Two privates, of the Rebel Militia Prisoners.[13]

Feby. 16th 1781 – A Melencholy Accident happened to Serjt. Lockwood, by a Piece Bursting in his left hand, which Shattered it to that degree that he immediately underwent an amputation.

February 24th. – we Marchd. from Geo. Town, & Halted the Night at Hogans, on Santee

February 25th 1781 – Crossd. the ferry & Marchd. to, a Mr Warren, a Rebel Priest, for this Night we wanted for Nothing that his plantation Could afford.[14]

26th. – Marchd. to one Palmer, a Loyal, Subject, and when we left him, the next morning, He was Pleased with the Conduct of the Regiment

27th. Feby. – we Came to Monks Corner & were put under command of Colo. [John] Small of the 84th. Regiment.

March 2d. & 3rd. we Marchd to Nelsons ferry, Mr. Clairs Plantation.

March 4th. 1781. – Marchd to Laurens’s Mills –

5th. – another of the Same Plantations

6th. – Marchd to the Mount on Schotch [Scott’s] lake 5 Miles from [Gen. Thomas] Sumpters house[15], we serve under the command of Lt. Colo. [John Watson Tadwell-Watson] Watson.[16]

March 7th. – we Marchd. to Littles plantation –

March 8th. 1781 – 11 oClock we had a Sckirmish with Mr. Marion & his Gang of Robbers – but they were Soon Dispers’d,[17] After which we March’d Peacably to Cantys Plantation.

10th. March 81 – Marchd. to Little’s plantation took him & sent him prisoner to C. Town

11th. – Marchd to the Mount & Remain’d the day

12th March. – at 12 OClock, Marchd to one James, a Rebel Major on Parole.

14th. – A Captn. Rease, of the Loyal Militia

March 15th. 1781 – to Camden – The corps were in Camden as follows (63 Regt.) British & (K.A. Regt., V. of Ireland) Provincial (N.Y. Volunteers)

March 22d 1781 – A Detachmt. under Command of Lt. Colo. [Ellis Welbore] Doyle, marchd towards Pedee.[18]  This Day I was very ill with the Intermitting Fever – Camden is Chiefly Inhabited by Refugees

March 24th. 1781 – The Agreable Intelligence was Recd. at Camden of the Glorious Victory Gaintd, by the Troops under Command of His Excellency Lt. Genl. Earl Cornwallis, at Guilford Court House in No. Carolina, in Defeating the whole Rebel Army under the Rebel Genl. Greene, on the 15th. Instant, in Consequence of which, A feu de Joie was fired, by All the Artillery & Troops, in the Garrison –

March 25th. 1781 – A Detachment Marchd. from Camden, under Command of Captn. Atwood Supposed for Lt. Colo. Doyle, Same Day Colo. Campbell Arrives at Camden, & takes Command of the Regiment.[19]

27th. March – a Detachment of thirty Cavalry set off Nelsons ferry, as an escort to a Number of waggons.

28th. March. – the Cavalry, of the N.Y. Vols. under Command of Majr. [John] Coffin, March’d for Lt. Colo. Doyles Command –

Apl. 1st. 1181 – the whole Command, under Lt Colo. Doyle, Returns, with fourteen rebel Prisoners

 Apl. 14th 1781. – One Smith, for murdering a friend to Government, & a Soldier belonging to the 64th. Regt. for Desertion, were hanged on this Day –

Apl. 10th. – Corpl. Silas Germain Died at Camden Court House on this day –

Apl. 15th. – It was Reported, the Rebels were Moving Towards Camden.[20]

Apl. 19th. – The Rebels Appear, in front of the works at Log Town.[21]

21st. – Captn. Gray, N.Y. Vols. under Command of Majr. Coffin, Charg’d the Rebel Regt. & Kill’d four & took the Same Number Prisoners without the least Damage, the Same evening Majr. [Thomas] Frazer, with the South Carolina Regt. Arrives from Ninety Six –

Apl. 22d. 1781 – About 6 oClock evening, the Rebels Attackd. the Mill,[22] where only an Offr. & Eighteen men were Posted, with some Militia, the Lt. Infy. Compy. of the Voluns. of Ireland was sent down, who soon repulsed them –

Apl. 25th. 1781 Lord Rawdon, march’d with 900 men, from the Garrison, & Attackd. Mr. Green at Log Town,[23] who had About 5000, the fight was Obstinate for Some Minutes, when the Rebels were Charg’d, with Such Spirit, by our little Army, that, a total Rout ensued, which was followed by our Troops, for Near Two Miles, when Excessive heat & fatigue Obliged them to give up the Pursuit, the number Kill’d of the Rebels is not Known, tho from there own Accou[n]ts over 300, About 120 Prisrs. Were Taken – Our loss was inconsiderable.

Lt. Wightman of the Ks. A. Regt. was wounded & taken Prisoner.  One Serjt. & four kill’d, One Serjt. & five taken Prisoners – Lt. Burn, who commanded at the Mill on the evening of the 22d. Recd. a wound which Provd. fatal to him –

Order of Battle

 Ks.Am.Regt. / \ \ / Guns _ – 63rd. Regt. /~ ~ \

\ /

Detacht. 64th & Lt. Infantry N.Y.Infy. / \ Voluns. of Ireland / \ /

South Carolina Royalists


 The Right Honorable Francis Lord Rawdon

27th. Apl. The Rebels Seam to be Collecting at Rudgleys [Henry Rugeley’s] Mills, 8 Miles from Camden;[24] we remain’d in our battle Positions, the Troops were every Night on the field, lying on their Arms –

May 7th. 1781 – Lt. Colo. Watson, who had been Detachd. Sometime to cover the Frontiers of the Province, join’d the Garrison, with the 64th. & Provincial Light Infantry –

8th. May – Lord Rawdon marchd. About 1400 men to Camden, Crossd. the fery, in hopes of bringing Mr. Greene to Renew the Action; but as he had Posted himself in Such an Advantagious manner, his Lordship did not think it Practicable to Attack him, he however made Several Maneovres, in order to Draw him from his Advantagious Position, but to no Purpose, the 25th. being fresh in their Memory, they declin’d having any confrontation with his Lordship – The whole Return’d the Same Evening; Lt. Colo. Campbell, with the Ks. A. Regt. Remain’d in Camden.

May 10th. 1781 – The Town was Evacuated; the Ks.A.Regt. being Detachd. in front, with the Sick & Baggage, we continued our March, to Moore’s Plantation, without being molested.

May 11th. – the whole Army got as far as James Plantation who was a Majr. in the Rebel Service, he was Taken, in Charles Town & permitted to go to his Plantation, on Parole.

May 12th – the whole Army came to Nelsons Ferry 5

13th. – we Marchd. to the Utaw [Eutaw] Springs

14th. – Marchd. About fifteen Miles Towards Thompson and return’d to the Springs Again the same evening, this was thought to be done to favor the Evacuation of the Post at Nelsons ferry

May 16th. 1781 – Marchd. from the Utaw Springs, to Monks Corner.

May 19th – We Marchd. from Monks Corner, to Dorchester.   Here we Arrived About 12 oClock, on the 20th.  Dorchester is a very Pleasant place, lying on Ashley River leading to Charles Town, Distant from that last 16 Miles – those who lived there, were Chiefly followers of the Army –

May 25th 1781 – The Detacht. at the above Place was Reliev’d by us, March’d this day, under Capt. Willett, to Join His Lordship, at, or, near Abercorn[25]

26th May. – About 11 oClock P.M. Recd. Orders to March

27th. we Marchd. to the Suburbs of Charles Town; where we remain’d till the 28th. & 29th being much fatigued by the Many Marches we had Perform’d.

May 30th. 1781 – The Regt. Marchd. into Town; & to Eveley’s Wharf, where they immediately Embark’d On Board the Tartar Privateer & Other Small Sloops. –

31st May – I Came on Shore, with Two Sailors in Order to Carry Captn. Leverick, On Board. I with himself & Two Sailors were left on Shore & the fleet Sail’d; CharlesTown was then the Place of Residence for me.

June 4th. 1781 – His Majesty’s BirthDay was Observ’d as usual, firing from the Ships & Batteries Commenc’d at one oClock. Ringing of Bel1s & illuminations lasted till one OClock, in the Morning –

June 6th 1781 – The Infantry, that arriv’d from Cork, Landed

June 7th. 1781 – The Third Regt. Marched from the Barracks into the Country; & they made a Genteel and Soldier like Appearance.[26]

13th. – we Recd. Orders to Embark with Captn. [probably Frederick] DePeyster.

14th. we Embarkd. On Board of the Amazon of 16 10 Pounders. Captn. DePeyster, Captn. Purdy, 2 Serjts., 20 Privates, besides Merchants &c.

June 15th. 1781 – The Exchange of Prisoners takes place, for the Southern Provinces.  Due to Contrary winds, we was detain’d till the [next day.]

[1] Henry Nase, a New York Loyalist from Dutchess County, joined the King’s American Regiment and served in the War to its end, moved to Canada where he died as a prominent citizen in New Brunswick in 1836.  The Nase Diary was transcribed by Todd Briasted at the New Brunswick Museum, Archives Division, Nase Family Papers.

[2] Bracketed information added by editor, spelling, punctuation and capitalization corrected only for clarity.  The annotator thanks Todd Braisted and John Robertson for their many contributions.

[3] There is no known tavern in Charlestown called Kings Head; likewise, there was no Trade Street in colonial Charlestown, probably Tradd Street, per Dr. Nic Butler, research historian, Charleston County Library.

[4] “Hoff Cars” and “Hoffcess” probably refer to Hobcaw (Creek) off of the Wando River in modern Mt. Pleasant, SC about 4 miles upstream from the Charlestown wharfs.  It was the site of a major SC Navy shipyard and had a road leading to Georgetown.

[5] Col. Edmund Fanning was a loyalist from New York, where he raised and commanded the King’s American Regiment (sometimes called Fanning’s Corps), provincials who were trained, equipped, paid, and led to regular British Army standards.  He led a distinguished life of service to the Crown, retiring as a full general of the British Army and lieutenant governor of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

[6] From the Hobcaw Navy Yard to Georgetown, SC by 18th c. roads was about 55 miles, making the regiment cover about 13 1/2 miles per day on foot.  Taking the ferrys and causeways over the South and North Santee River and the Sampit River would have taken some extra time.

[7] For a description of this action, see Patrick O’Kelley, Nothing but Blood and Slaughter 2: 389-390.

[8] Lt. John Bluke of the 23rd Regiment (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) was commander of Georgetown from October 1780 to January 1, 1781.

[9] Often spelled “Tenpenny” in period records, Maj. Robert Timpany was a schoolmaster from Hackensack, NJ and served as an officer in the 4th Battalion of the New Jersey Volunteers, provincial troops.  About 80 men of the IV Battalion of the NJ Volunteers came to South Carolina with Gen. Henry Clinton in 1780.

[10] Georgetown is actually on the Winyah Bay at the confluence of the Sampit, Black, Waccamaw, and Great Pee Dee Rivers; the Santee River empties into the Atlantic Ocean about 15 miles south of Georgetown.  Nase was correct that Georgetown lies about 60 road miles from Charleston, SC.

[11] 18th c. description of malaria or some other illness involving fever and shivering.  For a description of this action, see Patrick O’Kelley, Nothing but Blood and Slaughter 3: 21-22.

[12] This raid was planned and executed by Gen. Francis Marion and Lt. Col. Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee.  It was a water and land attack, on a moonless night, which took the British by complete surprise.  Contrast details of this raid in Henry Lee’s The American Revolution in the South, p. 223-225 and Patrick O’Kelley, Nothing but Blood and Slaughter 3: 57-61.

[13] The British were holding elderly John Postell, Sr., I think hostage, to try to capture his three sons, John (Jr.), James and Jehu, who successfully raided British supply depots in January 1781.  It is believed that this happened at Hasty Point Plantation on the Pee Dee   River.  Capt. John Postell got word and got into the plantation house’s detached kitchen and threatened the British detachment, and captured Capt. James DePeyter, scion of a wealthy New York family, brother of Capt. Abraham DePeyster (Maj. Patrick Ferguson’s second-in-command at Kings Mountain) and Capt. Frederick DePeyster, also of the Kings American Regiment.  For a description of this action, see Patrick O’Kelley, Nothing but Blood and Slaughter 3: 85-86.

[14] “Mr. Warren, the Rebel Priest,” was undoubtedly Rev. Samuel Fenner Warren, whose plantation was near the site of Civil War era Battery Warren (named for his son Col. Samuel Warren).  This is only about 5 miles upstream from Tidyman’s Plantation. [C. Leon Harris]

[15] This is the old Mississippian period Indian Mound at Scotts Lake upon which the British built Ft.Watson.  It was about 5 miles west of Gen. Thomas Sumter’s house near Nelson’s Ferry.

[16] Lt. Col. John Watson Tadwell-Watson, temporally assigned to the Southern Department by Gen. Henry Clinton, commanded the Provincial Light Infantry and attached troops working with Lord Francis Rawdon in his furious counter-insurgency campaign against the South Carolina partisans led by Gen. Thomas Sumter and Francis Marion.

[17] Gen. Marion’s Bridges Campaign, skirmish at Mt. Hope Swamp on the River Road.

[18] This detachment was to raid Gen. Marion’s base at Snows Island while Marion was “entertained” by Col. Watson.

[19] Lt. Col. George Campbell, captured by Harry Lee and Gen. Francis Marion in their raid on Georgetown on January 24, 1781 and paroled to Charlestown, was evidently quickly exchanged and returned to command.

[20] Gen. Nathaniel Greene marched back to South Carolina as Lord Cornwallis army entered Wilmington, NC to rest, and be resupplied.

[21] Greene detached his light troops under Capt. Robert Kirkwood towards Camden; Log Town was a few farms just a mile north of the colonial village of Camden and the fortified British post there.  Capt. Kirkwood’s troops drove in the British guards and occupied Log Town until Gen. Greene arrived in Camden with his Army the next morning.

[22] This grist mill was one of the several located on either the Pine Tree Creek or Little Pine Tree Creek, within a mile or less of the British post at Camden.  The exact mill has not been ascertained.  It was valued and protected and engaged in grinding grain for the garrison, citizens and refugees at Camden.  Historic Camden, Vol. 1, Thomas J. Kirkland and Robert M. Kennedy, p. 130, Diagram No. 11.

[23] Greene was camped in battle order on Hobkirk Hill, straddling the Great Waxhaw Trail, about one mile north of Log Town.  This action was often called the 2ndBattle of Camden, or in modern times, the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill.

[24] Rugeley’s Mill was on Grannies Quarter Creek and the Great Waxhaw Trail (modern Flat Rock Road) about 13 miles north of Camden.

[25] Abercorn was a colonial village about 15 miles up the Savannah River from Savannah on the Georgia side.

[26] The 3rd Regiment, known as the Buffs, recently arrived in Charleston from Cork, Ireland.  The flank companies were immediately marched from Charlestown with Lord Rawdon to the relief of the besieged post at Ninety Six.