The American Revolution in North Carolina

The British Legion

Engagements in SC and NC:

1780 - Tybee, SC

1780 - Moncks Corner, SC

1780 - Waxhaws, SC

1780 - Williamson's Plantation, SC

1780 - Rocky Mount, SC

1780 - Hanging Rock, SC

1780 - Battle of Camden, SC

1780 - Catawba Ford, SC

1780 - Charlotte, NC

1780 - Sugar Creek, SC

1780 - Fishdam Ford, SC

1780 - Blackstock's Plantation, SC

1781 - Cowpens, SC

1781 - Relief of Ninety-Six

1781 - Cowan's Ford, NC

1781 - Weitzell's Mill, NC

1781 - Guilford Courthouse, NC

1781 - Halifax, NC

1781 - Williams' Bridge, NC

1782 - Goose Creek, SC

1782 - Wambaw Bridge, Santee, SC

1782 - Tydiman's Plantation, SC


Organized in 1778 by Lord Cathcart with Loyalists from New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Many existing units were amalgamated into the British Legion: Ritzema's Royal American Reformees; the Caledonian Volunteers; the West Jersey Volunteers; and some members of the Roman Catholic Volunteers made up the infantry. Captain Kinloch's independent troop of dragoons from New York, the First and Second Troops of the Philadelphia Light Dragoons, Emmerick's Chasseurs, the Prince of Wales' American Volunteers, and the 16th Light Dragoons contributed drafts to the cavalry.

The British Legion operated in the New York area as two separate units (Tarleton's cavalry and Cathcart's infantry) until 1779 when they were sent to the South. Their commander, Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, acquired a reputation as somebody you wouldn't want to meet on the battlefield. "Bloody Tarleton" and "Tarleton's Quarters" refer to his actions at Waxhaws, Catawba, and elsewhere in the South.

While on the Southern campaign the British Legion added three more troops of cavalry in 1780 from Emmerich's Chasseurs, the Bucks County Light Dragoons, and the Prince of Wales' American Volunteers. Tarleton's troops banged heads with "the Old Wagoner" Brigadier General Dan Morgan several times, most notably at the Cowpens, where the British Legion was badly cut up by the Patriots under Morgan.

Tarleton re-raised the British Legion after this, but Lord Cornwallis suffered a vital loss of scouts and screening forces due to the loss at the Cowpens. The British Legion surrendered to the French at Gloucester during the Yorktown Campaign. The British Legion cavalry was placed on the regular British Establishment as of December 25th 1782, while the infantry became the 5th American Regiment of the American Establishment.



© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved