The Swamp Fox Rides Again:

Francis Marion’s War in South Carolina

Thursday, October 27, 2016 to Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Crossing Marion PeeDee Ranney

Tour guided by Charles B. Baxley

HQ: Georgetown, SC

This tour is sold out but we have a waiting list for cancellations.

Remember the stirring adventures of the “Swamp Fox” portrayed by Leslie Neilson in Walt Disney’s episodic series in the late 1950s?  Again in 2000, Mel Gibson starred as the composite Swamp Fox character in the movie “The Patriot.”  The authentic Swamp Fox story is even more exciting than either of its modern day adaptations.

Ride along the military career and partisan exploits of Brig. Gen. Francis Marion, a true American hero who challenged the might of the British army in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War with a few loyal men, along with a hearty supply of guts and guile.

On Thursday evening we’ll have a “meet and greet” with Charles B. Baxley who will provide an introductory talk on South Carolina in the American Revolution.

On Friday we will take a tour to Marion sites in and around historic district Georgetown, South Carolina. After lunch, we will take a boat trip with the tidal flow down the Great Pee Dee River to see the relics of the Southern rice culture and to retrace Gen. Marion’s and Lt. Col. Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee’s January 1781 bold raid on Georgetown.

On Saturday we will tour sites of Marion’s “Bridges Campaign;” see the “War of the Posts” site of Ft. Watson; tour the Eutaw Springs battlefield where Marion led his militia to stand and fight like Continental soldiers in a linear battle; visit Pond Bluff Plantation, the site of Marion’s post-bellum home; pay our respects at the General’s tomb; and visit colonial St. Stephens Parish Church, one of Marion’s favorite campsites.

On Sunday we visit the site of Marion’s fight with Lt. Col. John Watson at the Sampit River Bridge; the Tarleton v. White Battle at Lenud’s Ferry; the Tarleton, Ferguson and Webster fight against Gen. Isaac Huger at Moncks Corner and Biggin Bridge; Colleton’s Fair Lawn Barony near Moncks Corner, SC with its extant Revolutionary War redoubt and the site of the Colleton mansion – a British hospital controversially burned by Marion’s men; the Avenue of the Cedars battlefield and where Marion discharged his legendary militia regiment to return home after the British evacuated Charlestown; and Goatfield Plantation where legend records where Marion was born.  We follow Marion’s troops on the “Dog Days of Summer” Campaign from Biggin Church and Wadboo Bridge to fight at Quinby Bridge and Shubrick’s Plantation.

Learn about  Marion’s troops’ defeats at Wambaw Bridge and Tidyman’s Plantation; his successful Parker’s Ferry ambush; his several raids on Georgetown; and his victories at Blue Savannah, Thomas Sumter’s home on Great Savannah, Tearcoat Swamp, and Dollard’s Tavern at Black Mingo Creek.  We will discuss the controversies with the British over sniping sentries on the Bridges Campaign, the British detention of Capt. John Postell under a “flag” of truce, and the composition of his 1780-1782 partisan militia brigade. We will thematically cover Marion’s early life and military training in the French and Indian War; his career as a South Carolina State Troop and Continental Line commandant; and his post-war political career. We will discuss Marion the man, the myths, and the amazing realities of his service to his State and Country.

You will join other Marion scholars along the way to share their expertise.  The fall weather in South Carolina is splendid for “battlefielding.”  Charles Baxley’s expertise on Marion promises a thorough exploration of beautiful areas where America’s freedom was torn from the British by cunning and grit. It will be a collegial group guided by the Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution’s principles of fun, fellowship and scholarship.  We will see and know, ask, and learn about Gen. Francis Marion and his partisan warfare against the British, on-site where he and a hand full of men, dominated one-fourth of South Carolina, with little support from any government, and kept the dream of Liberty alive despite the extreme British oppressive measures and through erupting civil war.

Reserve your seat today as space is limited! The registration fee: $495.00. Register online with a credit card at by clicking the Register link or phone: 1-703-785-4373; or you may send a check to: America’s History, LLC, P. O. Box 1076, Goochland, VA 23063.

Included: Motor coach transportation, a boat ride on the Great Pee Dee River, three lunches, beverage and snack breaks, a map and materials package, all admissions and gratuities, and the dynamic passion of our tour leaders. The hotel will provide a complimentary breakfast each day.  Tour goes out rain or shine. Please see America’s History, LLC’s website’s policy page for information about cancellations.

Hotel: Tour participants are responsible for transportation to the headquarters hotel, and securing a room reservation, if necessary.  We have arranged with the Hampton Inn by Hilton-Georgetown Marina, 420 Marina Drive, Georgetown, SC 29440 for a group rate of $99 (single or double occupancy. Please call the hotel at 845-545-5000 and ask for the America’s History group rate. This rate will be guaranteed until September 27, so please make your reservations soon.

Our Tour Leader:  Charles B. Baxley is the publisher of and co-founder of Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution, an on-line journal.  His recent article on Gen. Nathanael Greene’s attack on Dorchester; his support of Cols. John Laurens’ and Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee’s attack on Johns Island, SC; and move to protect South Carolina’s General Assembly at Jacksonborough was published in the recent issue of Army History national magazine.  He has planned many symposia on the Revolution, is a founding member of the Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Roundtable, has conducted dozens of public and private tours and military staff rides, and is the co-editor of the Papers of Gen. Francis Marion.

This tour is co-sponsored by America’s History, LLC and Woodward Corporation d/b/a Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution.

Painting “Marion Crossing the Pee Dee” by William T. Ranney, c 1850.
Updated on September 19, 2016.


Battle of Waxhaws engraving bw

C. Leon Harris

Early in 1780 with almost the entire Virginia Continental Army surrounded at Charleston SC, Virginia hastily recruited some 350 soldiers to be sent as reinforcements.  These troops, called the Third Virginia Detachment and attached to Gen. Charles Scott’s Second Continental Brigade, assembled at Petersburg under Col. Abraham Buford.  On March 29 the detachment marched South, getting as far as Leneud’s Ferry on Santee River, where they learned that Charlestown had surrendered.  On May 14 Buford began retracing his steps, and at Waxhaws settlement near the North Carolina line on 29 May 1780 he was overtaken by the legion of Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton comprising about 270 dragoons and infantrymen riding double. After rejecting Tarleton’s demand that he surrender, Buford bungled the defense.

An American defeat, clearly.  An intentional massacre of surrendering Continentals?  What can we learn from a modern analysis of the survivors’ stories and wounds?  Click here for the rest of the story:  Harris – Massacre at Waxhaws?

Updated May 15, 2016

Button Gwinnett & Lachlan McIntosh – Dueling in Savannah

PageLines- scarlogo.pngButton%20Gwinnett-McIntosh%20Duel[1]

Wayne Lynch

For the first year after the Declaration of Independence, the feud between Gov. Button Gwinnett and Gen. Lachlan McIntosh dominated the political scene in the new state of Georgia.   While Gwinnett is most known for his role as a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a detailed look into the story demonstrates his almost overwhelming ambition for military command.  Because both Gwinnett and McIntosh were loyal Whigs, the story displays a true tragedy where none should have existed.

For the rest of the story …. Button Gwinnett & Lachlan M’Intosh 1.1!

Posted on April 14, 2016

Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Roundtable and Corps of Discovery

February 20, 2016 – Ebenezer, Ga. – Saturday the Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Roundtable will meet at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center.  This morning Round Table will be followed by an afternoon Corps of Discovery walking tour.  We will meet in the Retreat’s cafeteria from 10:00 am until about noon for presentations, break for a “Dutch Treat” lunch ($10) in the Retreat’s cafeteria, then enjoy a walking tour the amazing extant Revolutionary War earthworks at New Ebenezer, Ga., a fortified British camp from 1779 to 1782, with project archaeologist Dan Elliott.  We will see several alignments of the old Savannah to Augusta Road, the colonial era Jerusalem Lutheran Church, and other important archaeological discoveries in the many projects there Dan has led.  Bring your hiking shoes, and all weather gear as we go rain or shine.

The colonial village of “Old” Ebenezer, Georgia was settled in the mid-18th c. by Germanic Lutheran settlers from the Salzburg area of Austria.  Boy were they like fish out of water.  They soon relocated their community to the mouth of Ebenezer Creek on the Savannah River, called it “New” Ebenezer, and built their community the center piece of which is the extant 1769 Jerusalem Lutheran Church (founded in 1733).  The site is an archaeological treasure of a colonial frontier village and extant Revolutionary War earthworks.  The town flourished until the Revolution.  Due to its strategic location on the Savannah River and on the road to Augusta, the British extensively fortified the town in 1779 with 7 redoubts and interconnected defensive works.  Luckily, several of the earthwork redoubts survive in remarkable condition for over 235 years old, possibly the best example of surviving Revolutionary War earthworks in North America.   We will spend Saturday afternoon with archaeologist Dan Elliott who has done numerous projects at Ebenezer, located and documented the earthworks, village site, extensive cemetery, and other features.  Our tour will emphasize the Revolutionary War aspects of this important and well-preserved site.  Many of Dan’s extensive Ebenezer research reports are posted on The Lamar Institute’s website ( for your perusal.

Saturday, February 20, 2016 – Round Table and Corps of Discovery

10:00 am to noon – indoors Roundtable presentations at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center Cafeteria.  If you are interested in giving a 10-15 minute presentation on your Revolutionary War research, questions, or finds, please let Charles Baxley know.

11:55 am – break for lunch at New Ebenezer Retreat Center Cafeteria ($10 each – please let Charles Baxley know if you will join us for lunch as we need to give the cafeteria a head count a few days early).

1:00 pm to 3:00 pm – walking tour of the British fortifications, earthworks, the Old Augusta Road, cemetery, extant colonial era Jerusalem Lutheran Church, and colonial history of Ebenezer, Ga. with archaeologist Dan Elliott.

3:00 pm – carpool to site of British Redoubt #6 at Ebenezer Creek; tour old Augusta Road segment and earthworks on private property; also site of mass drownings of Freedmen following the XIV Corps of Sherman’s Army in December 1864.

6:30 pm – Saturday Evening – gather with your friends at a local restaurant (TBA) for informal “Dutch Treat” dinner and fellowship

Sunday, February 21, 2016 – Corps of Discovery

Ebenezer, Ga. – On Sunday join us for a car-pooled Corps of Discovery driving tour of the colonial road segments headed north from Ebenezer still drivable and a tour of the Briar Creek battlefield with project archaeologist Dan Battle.  On Sunday morning at 9:00 am – meet at the New Ebenezer Retreat Center’s parking lot for a car-pooled tour following the 18th c. Savannah to Augusta Road north – the route of British Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell’s invasion of the Georgia backcountry – with interpretative stops at important 18th c. sites along the way.  We will enjoy a “Dutch Treat” Sunday buffet lunch at R & Ds restaurant on US 301 near Sylvania, Ga. followed by our battlefield tour.   Some roads are sand and somewhat rough but very level.  We will go rain or shine.

9:00 am – gather at New Ebenezer Retreat Center parking lot and car pool for trip

Drive extant Old Augusta Road segments

Stop #1 – at site of the Two Sisters Ferry

Stop #2 – at site of the Tuckasee King Ferry (bathroom)

Stop #3 – at site of Hudson’s Ferry, main British post

11:30 am – Sunday buffet at R & D’s restaurant, US Hwy 301 near Sylvania

1:00 pm – arrive at Briar Creek battlefield for tour with archaeologist Dan Battle

Stop #4 – Briar Creek at Brannon Bridge monuments, American picket stations, British approach from Paris Mill (now Millhaven)

Stop #5 – Miller-Freeman (burnt) Bridge – fortified house, redan, British position, American position, pre-battle skirmishes at this bridge

Stop #6 – main battlefield – battle action

Stop #7 – colonial road north towards Augusta, new cut road to Savannah River and to American Army at Mathews (Cohens) Bluff, SC

4:00 pm – tour ends

The “Old” Augusta Road went from Savannah to Augusta, and evolved over time.  Its first iteration was likely animal paths followed by Native Americans, close to the high Savannah River bluffs and avoiding the numerous Carolina Bays and swamps along the way up the Savannah River to Augusta.  The second “improved” version of this road was made by the early European explorers, settlers, and traders, who moved its alignment back from the bluffs about 100 yards, looking for a dryer path for carts, wagons, horses, and driving domestic animals. Later the road moved further west, a more engineered alignment, as the focus on the river lessened in importance.  At Ebenezer, we will see four evolutions of this important road, starting with the earliest through a segment of the modern daily-use paved road.  On our Corps of Discovery trip to Briar Creek on Sunday, we will drive on several segments of the historic colonial road, visit the sites of well-known ferries across the river to South Carolina over which were conducted trade, settlement, internal politics and international relations, military conquest, and the route traveled by naturalist William Bartram and President George Washington (1791), and later by the 15,000 Union soldiers of the XIV Corps of Gen. William T. Sherman’s Army (1864) on its way to Savannah.

These events are sponsored by Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution and the Georgia American Revolution Preservation Alliance.  Both events are admission free and the public is invited though we will pass the hat to cover all expenses.  For more detailed information see:

Dr. Irene Boland

Irene BolandOn January 3, 2016 our community lost a faithful ally. Dr. Irene Boland of Winthrop University passed away.  Irene spoke at the 2006 Gen. Nathanael Greene Symposium on Eutaw Springs on the influence of geology and topography on the battle.  She was quite active in historical and geological research, blending her interests through projects like mapping for the Cowpens National Battlefield.  Much of her research focused on the impacts of geology, weather, and terrain on troop movements in the South during the Revolution.

Many of our readers may not know of her diverse interests and background: She completed American Society of Clinical Pathologists hospital laboratory training at Charlotte Memorial (now Carolinas Medical Center). She then worked as a technologist and taught medical technology students for a number of years, in both the special chemistry laboratory at Charlotte Memorial and then as supervisor of special chemistry at Mercy Hospital in Charlotte.  She then earned an M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in geology at the University of South Carolina. She is probably best known to our circle for her work as a geology professor at Winthrop University, her alma matter.

Irene will always be remembered for her passion, determination, and love of learning. She and historian Bert Dunkerly had just completed a book on the battle of Eutaw Springs, due out this fall by USC Press.  Bert and Irene divided the work: he focusing on troop movements, and her studying the springs, the terrain, and how the geography and geology influenced the campaign and battle.  The book will be a lasting tribute to her dedication and enthusiasm.

 January 7, 2016

The Memorial of David Fanning

Hershel Parker

In November 1782, David Fanning (1755-1825), the last colonel of the Loyalist Militia of North Carolina, boarded a ship in the British evacuation of Charlestown.  Still young, he was famous for bold military strategy and notorious for brutal marauding.  Appalled by his off-the-battlefield mayhem, the North Carolina Assembly in 1783 in its “Act of Pardon and Oblivion” excluded from pardon “Peter Mallette, David Fanning and Samuel Andrews, or any person or persons guilty of deliberate and wilful murder, robbery, rape, or house burning, or any of them.”[1]  Thirty or forty years later, when North Carolinians began documenting Fanning’s cruelties, old men told stories about him, sometimes in aghast confidentiality.  The educator Archibald D. Murphey (1777-1832), hearing that Fanning had an unpublished manuscript, enlisted the former congressman Archibald McBryde (1766-1837) to contact the old man in his Digby, Nova Scotia exile.  Fanning in his mid-30s had indeed written a narrative, a dossier of his military service as a Loyalist and particularly of his physical sufferings and financial sacrifices in the service of the Crown.  To use his term in letters to British Commissioners, his Narrative was an extended “Memorial” of service and losses for which he deserved reparations.[2]  Three decades later, he understandably was unwilling to share his narrative with children of rebels.  Nevertheless, on May 15, 1822 he held out a revealing possibility: “if any Gentleman wishes to know from me of any particular transaction or the Date, by pointing it out to me, I may give the Information of it.”[3]

For the rest of the story …. click here! SCAR Vol 10, No 4.1

[1] The North Carolina Assembly well-knew of Fanning’s atrocities.  See the details of his “Bloody Sunday” rampage in Randolph County detailed by the author in an article, “Fanning’s Bloody Sabbath as Traced by Alexander Gray”, found in the May 4, 2015 edition of the Journal of the American Revolution.

[2] Fanning, 97, 98, and elsewhere; in no way was his document a “confessions” or even a mere set of personal recollections. The Narrative of Colonel David Fanning, (New York: reprinted for Joseph Sabin, 1865), a reprint of the 1861 version, is found on-line at

[3] Fanning’s response to McBryde through an intermediary, dated Digby, May 15, 1822, is in “North Carolina.  Civil War 1781-’82—Colonel David Fanning,” North-Carolina University Magazine (1853), 2:72, and in E. W. Caruthers, Revolutionary Incidents: And Sketches of Character, Chiefly in the “Old North State” (Philadelphia: Hayes and Zell, 1854), 294.

updated August 2, 2015

Moses Kirkland and the Southern Strategy

Wayne Lynch

During the Revolutionary War, the British developed what came to be known as the Southern Strategy.   The idea was for British regiments to invade Georgia and South Carolina with a plan to defeat the Continental Army.  Once those states were free of opposition, the colonists who remained loyal to the Crown could rise up and regain control over the southern colonies.  At the heart of this plan lay an assumption that a majority of the residents would prefer British rule to independence.  Various politicians (especially the deposed Royal Governors of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia) and other interested individuals wrote letters and argued in favor of the strategy but no provincial was more active or energetic toward the development and execution of a Southern Strategy than Moses Kirkland.

Raised in South Carolina, Moses Kirkland was already a mature adult over the age of 45 when the war broke out.  He had traded with Indians, invested in saw mills and engaged in a number of land deals (some of which may have been fraudulent) along the way and became a man of “considerable fortune and held in high esteem.”[1]  Elected to represent the Ninety Six District in the Provincial Congress of South Carolina of January 1775, Kirkland spoke “warmly against” nonimportation and withdrew from the proceedings in protest when the vote went against him.[2]  Even with his opposition to the nonimportation association, Kirkland was not yet considered disloyal to the state and accepted a commission as Captain of Rangers in the 2d Regiment of South Carolina’s state troops authorized by the Assembly in June 1775.[3]


[1] Moses Kirkland was a planter on Turkey Creek in the Ninety Six District of South Carolina.  His claim for losses from the American Revolutionary War is found in British Georgia Loyalist Claims, Mary Bondurant Warren (Athens, Ga: Heritage Papers, 2014) 844-863.  This article is largely an analysis of the claim Kirkland filed with the British Government for compensation of his losses in North America in 1783.  Kirkland’s wealth may be gauged from the extent of his award of £4,000 from his claim of £12,160 for the loss of his property in South Carolina (Audit Office 12/109).  This property was seized and sold by the State of South Carolina and realized £1,972.  (Audit Office 13/36; Audit Office 12/92, South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. XVIII, No. 2, Jan. 1917, p. 69-71.) His original claims and supporting statements are filed in the British Public Records Office in Kew, Surrey, UK, and microfilm copies are in the David Library of the American Revolution, the Southern Revolutionary War Institute and other repositories. Kirkland was a partner in Cannon’s (later Ferguson’s) Saw and Grist Mills on the Edisto River. Ron McCall.  See also Ian Saberton, The Cornwallis Papers, (Naval & Military Press, East Sussex, 2010), 1:236 n3.

[2] Warren, Kirkland claim, 844.

[3] In his own account, Kirkland claimed to have refused the commission but this would seem to conflict with his participation in the events related to Fort Charlotte. Warren, Kirkland claim, 844.  William Moultrie, Memories of the American Revolution, (NY: David Longworth, 1802) 1:72 n reports that Kirkland accepted the commission but resigned it over those appointed over him.

For the rest of the story click here: Lynch-Moses Kirkland – SCAR10.2.3

June 14, 2015

Gen. Nathanael Greene’s Operations November 1781-February 1782

The Journal of the Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution

Vol. 12, No. 1.1                                                                                     January 23, 2015

 Gen. Nathanael Greene’s Moves to Force the British into the Charlestown area, to Capture Dorchester, Johns Island and to Protect the Jacksonborough Assembly

 November 1781 – February 1782

Charles B. Baxley © 2015     

Fall 1781 – South Carolina

The British Southern strategy was unraveling.  Lt. Gen. Charles, Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781.  The British army of occupation in North and South Carolina and Georgia could hold selected posts and travel en masse at will, but could not control the countryside where rebel militias and state troops patrolled.  Their southern strongholds were within 35 miles of their supply ports: Charlestown, Savannah and Wilmington, NC.  In South Carolina the British withdrew from their advanced bases at Camden, Ninety Six, Augusta, and Georgetown, and only held posts arcing around Charlestown in the aftermath of the bloody battle at Eutaw Springs in September.  Defending Charlestown, the British had major forward posts at Fair Lawn Barony (in modern Moncks Corner) at the head of navigation of the west branch of the Cooper River; at the colonial town of Dorchester at the head of navigation on the Ashley River; at the Wappataw Meeting House on the headwaters of the Wando River; and at Stono Ferry to control mainland access across the Stono River to Johns Island.  The parishes north of Charlestown were contested ground.  British cavalry rode at will to the south side of the Santee River and as far upstream as Pres. Henry Laurens’ plantation.  These mounted raiders were based at Wantoot Plantation, seven miles north of Moncks Corner.  They collected food, slaves, women, and children.  In western South Carolina Loyalist militia mounted a murderous raid of retribution inland to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For the rest of the story, click here: Greene Nov 81-Feb 82 1-23-2015

71st Fraser’s Highlanders in the Cheraws – Summer 1780

An account of their activities on detachment in Cheraw, SC in the summer of 1780, reported by Stephanie J. Briggs, with grateful acknowledgements to artist Don Troiani and other researchers.

At the start of the American Revolutionary War, the 71st Regiment of (Highland) Foot, commonly referred to as the “Fraser’s Highlanders,” was raised in Scotland in late 1775 early 1776 by Maj. Gen. Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, to serve in the army of King George, III.  The Regiment arrived in North America during June and July 1776, joining Lord Howe’s British Army in August.  The Highlanders, though bloodied, were undefeated in the South … enjoy the 13 page brochure on the 71st at the Cheraws below:

Southern States Total Solar Eclipse on 24 June 1778


Caroline's Logo (2)

Vol. 10 No. 3                                                                                                                       Fall 2014

On 24 June 1778, a combined American force of Col. Samuel Elbert’s Georgia Continentals, South Carolina Continentals commanded by Col. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, reinforced by South Carolina backcountry militiamen under Col. Andrew Williamson, and Georgia militiamen commanded by Gov. John Houston were gathering at the Satilla River preparing to make the third and final try to capture British East Florida.  On this day a total solar eclipse was experienced by much of central Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  Many towns were within the path of totality, including: Augusta, Ninety Six, Orangeburg, Camden, Charlotte, Cross Creek (later Fayetteville), Salem (later Winston-Salem), Hillsborough, New Bern, Edenton, Norfolk, Va., and Williamsburg, Va.

1778-eclipse Total Solar Eclipse, Zone of Totality, 24 June 1778, NASA

Has anyone read an eyewitness account of this extraordinary event in Georgia and the Carolinas and how residents anticipated or reacted to it?  It could not have gone unnoticed since at about 10:00 am the sky became as dark as night, even if cloudy.  Duration was up to 5 minutes.  The only first-person account I’ve seen is that of British Lt. Frederick Mackenzie who was in Rhode Island, outside the totality zone.  Source: (Mackenzie, Frederick, “Diary of Frederick Mackenzie”, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1930, p. 303).  No doubt, totality was much more dramatic in Georgia and the Carolinas.

Bill Anderson     September 06, 2014

After searching every major book, past and present about NC as well as the NC Historical Review, I then turned to the papers of Pinckney, Pettigrew, Carter, and several other 18th century folks.  Just as I was about to hit the internet, it struck me that the one place we might find a contemporary account is in the Records of the Moravians in NC (RMNC).  Not only does it mention the total eclipse on June 24th, it also mentions one other solar eclipse which from the description sounds like partial one from Adelaide Fries, RMNC, Volume III, pg. 1237 it reads as follows:  1778

“June 24.  Beginning shortly before 9 o’clock in the morning there was an almost total eclipse of the sun.  At the peak of the eclipse the sun was under a cloud, and for some minutes it was necessary to light the candles, stars peeped out here and there, and no one can remember to have the like before.  The reapers returned from the field about 9 o’clock, and did not go out again until afternoon.”

An earlier entry dated 9 January 1777 from RMNC Vol. III, pg. 1137:

“Jan 9.  Soon after nine o’clock this morning there was an eclipse of the sun, and as the sky was clear it could be seen on the horizon.  The sun was more than three-quarters covered.”

Shelia Bumgarner, Librarian, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, 310 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC   

Search the on-line Revolutionary War pension applications.

Hershel Parker, California

I have made note of references to solar eclipses in the pension applications, then used online sources to determine the dates.  Here are the ones I have recorded.  There may have been others. If you give me the year I can look them up, or they can be found by Googling.

9 Jan 1777  Partial solar eclipse

24 June 1778  Total solar eclipse

C. Leon Harris, Vt. and Mt. Pleasant, SC


Searching the pension files for “eclipse” found 15 pension applications with definite references to the total solar eclipse of 24 June 1778.  A few descriptions were colorful enough to quote in a document.  That was all I wanted.  Of course, the eclipse had no significance on the war.  Searching the pension records was a terrific idea.  Although I have searched them many times before, that thought did not occur to me for the eclipse.  That is a testimony to the great value of these online pension applications. Kudos to Will Graves and Leon Harris for this wonderful archive.  A librarian in Charlotte who specializes in history found one reference to the eclipse from a Moravian settlement, probably Bethabara, now near Winston-Salem.  She searched many standard historical archives that a librarian would know.  It’s surprising and remarkable that the pension records have more references to the eclipse than any other category of archive.

Bill Anderson, Charlotte, NC