American Revolutionary War | Battle of Camden –780: The Battle of Camden was a major victory for the British in the Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War (American War of Independence). On August 16, 1780, British forces under Lieutenant General Charles, Lord Cornwallis routed the American forces of Major General Horatio Gates about five miles north of Camden, South Carolina, strengthening the British hold on the Carolinas following the capture of Charleston.
American Revolutionary War | Battle of Camden in – 780
Gates ordered Stevens and de Kalb to attack, while Cornwallis issued the same order to Webster. The 800 strong 33rd Fusiliers advanced with bayonets towards the 2,500 soldiers in the Virginia and North Carolina militia. The militia, however, had never used bayonets before. The American left wing collapsed as the Virginians and then the North Carolinians fled. The Virginians fled so fast that they only suffered 3 wounded. The North Carolinians fled all the way back to Hillsborough, North Carolina.
The British casualties were 68 killed, 245 wounded and 11 missing.Hugh Rankin says, “of the known dead, 162 were Continentals, 12 were South Carolina militiamen, 3 were Virginia militiamen and 63 were North Carolina militiamen”. David Ramsay says, “290 American wounded prisoners were carried into Camden after this action. Of this number, 206 were Continentals, 82 were North Carolina militia and 2 were Virginia militia. The resistance made by each corps may in some degree be estimated from the number of wounded.
Battle of Camden in 780
The Americans lost the whole of their artillery – American Revolutionary War | Battle of Camden –780 8 field pieces, upwards of 200 wagons and the greatest part of their baggage.” A letter from Cornwallis to Lord George Germain, dated 21 August 1780, says that his army took “about one thousand Prisoners, many of whom wounded” on August 18.
These ratios would suggest that a significant number of the Americans wounded in the battle escaped capture.
Cornwallis had roughly 2,239 men are, including Loyalist militia and Volunteers of Ireland. It also had the infamous and highly experienced Tarleton’s Legion, who were formidable in a pursuit situation. Cornwallis formed his army in two brigades. Lord Rawdon was in command of the left, facing the Continental Infantry with the Irish Volunteers, Banastre Tarleton’s infantry and the Loyalist troops.
On the right was Lt. Col James Webster, facing the inexperienced militia with the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers and the 33rd Regiment of Foot. In reserve, Cornwallis had two battalions of the 71st Regiment of Foot and Tarleton’s cavalry force. He also placed four guns in the British cente.