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