The American Revolution in South Carolina

Cloud's Creek

November 17, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Capt. Sterling Turner, and Capt. James Butler, Sr.
Loyalist Cdr:

Major William Cunningham






Old District: 

Ninety-Six District
Present County:

Saluda County

aka Carter’s House, aka Carter’s Old Field, aka Turner House Massacre, aka Big Lick, aka Lick Creek.

A small group of Patriot Militia, led by Capt. James Butler, Sr. and Capt. Sterling Turner, about thirty (30) in number, were overwhelmed and slaughtered by a force of 300 Loyalist militia led by Major William “Bloody Bill” Cunningham. Only two Patriot militiamen managed to escape.
After the negotiated truce at Tarrar's Spring, Capt. Sterling Turner and Capt. James Butler camped at Cloud's Creek. There had been a hard rain and all the men were soaked, and their guns would not fire. Capt. Turner went to the house of a Mr. Carter and asked for food and a dry place to put their guns in order, but Capt. Butler advised against stopping, as did one of Butler's men, but Capt. Turner ignored this advice.

Major William Cunningham found out that they were at Mr. Carter's home and he struck in broad daylight. The Patriots returned fire from inside the log home and sent out a messenger to ask for terms of surrender. Major Cunningham refused any terms that would include James Butler, Jr. (in the party of Patriots with his father), and Capt. Butler offered his own life in exchange for his son's. Then his son fired out of the house and killed a Loyalist, ending all discussions, and ending up with the son dead.

The Patriots now only hoped for mercy, but "Bloody Bill" was again to live up to his name. He put his own sword to Capt. Butler, Capt. Turner and all but two men. Benjamin Hughes was able to escape when Mr. Carter's cattle became frightened and stampeded. He hid under some drift wood that had caught against a pine log in a nearby creek, and was not found.

A Bledsoe came out of Mr. Carter's house hanging onto Benjamin Rabun. Major Cunningham asked their names, but neither would answer. Rabun's skull was split in two by the saber and he died with his arms around Bledsoe's neck. Bledsoe was not killed, but it is said that he was never in his right mind afterwards.

After this massacre, Major Cunningham and him men stopped at Towles Blacksmith shop to have their horses reshod. When Oliver Towles finished re-shoeing all of his men's horse, Major Cunningham's men killed him and his son and a slave boy, then set fire to all the buildings as they left.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Lower Ninety-Six District Regiment of Militia detachment of two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. James Butler, Sr., with 8 men
- Capt. Sterling Turner, with 22 men





Ninety-Six Brigade of Loyalist Miltia, Cunningham's Troop of Dragoons led by Major William Cunningham with 300 men in the following known units:
- Capt. William Hewms
- Capt. William Parker
- Capt. Richard Long
- Capt. John Hood

Williams's Regiment of Loyalist Militia led by Col. Hezekiah Williams with Capt. John Crawford

Loyalist Refugees led by Capt. James Lawrence 

© 2009 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved