The American Revolution in South Carolina

Hayes' Station

November 19, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Col. Joseph Hayes
Loyalist Cdr:

Major William Cunningham






Old District: 

Ninety-Six District
Present County:

Laurens County

aka Edgehill’s Station.

Major William “Bloody Bill” Cunningham and a large force of Loyalist militia attacked a group of Patriot militia that were resting in the home of their commander, Col. Joseph Hayes. The Patriots surrendered when the home was set on fire. Bloody Bill then lived up to his name by personally killing every prisoner in cold blood.
Joseph Hayes owned a tavern adjacent to Edgehill Station - a stop along the local stage coach line. He and about two dozen of his men were sitting down to a nice meal when a colleague, Capt. John Owens, rode up and informed the men that smoke was coming out of the nearby plantation house of the late Brigadier General James Williams's widow.

Col. Hayes and his men jumped up from their meal and followed Capt. Owens out of the tavern and up a small hill to gather at an old Cherokee War Block House - to see what was going on at the widow's home. They were instantly surrounded by Major William "Bloody Bill" Cunningham with about 300 Loyalists. Col. Hayes and his men ran into the small block house, but it was soon torched, so they threw down their arms and surrendered.

Each man was forced to back out of the small block house to have their hands tied behind them then affixed to a long rope, ostensibly to be marched to another location. However, as soon as the last man was attached to the long rope, Cunningham strarted hanging them, and then his men dismembered fourteen of them. Cunningham then rode off, leaving the body parts scattered.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
Little River District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. Joseph Hayes (killed), with the following known men:
- Major Jonathan Downs (POW)
- Major Daniel Williams (killed)
- Capt. Laughlin Leonard (killed)
- Capt. James Millwee (escaped) (unclear if there)
- Capt. William Millwee (escaped)
- Capt. John Owens (killed)
- Capt. Charles Saxon
- Capt. Lewis Saxon (POW)
- Capt. David Williams (escaped)
- Lt. Clement Hancock (killed)
- Lt. Christopher Hardy (killed)
- Lt. John Neel (killed)
- Lt. James Tinsley (escaped)
- Sgt. Yancy Saxon (killed)
- William Blakely (POW for one day)
- Andrew Burnsides (escaped)
- John Cook (killed)
- John Cummings (POW)
- William Dunlap (escaped)
- William Elliott (escaped)
- Thomas Entrekin (escaped_
- James Ferris (killed)
- Benjamin Goodman (killed)
- Robert Hanna (escaped)
- Grief Irby (killed)
- Joseph Irby, Sr. (killed)
- Joseph Irby, Jr. (killed)
- John Mangum (escaped)
- John Melvin (or Milven) (killed)
- Hugh Saxon (escaped)
- Golding Tinsley (saved by a friend)
- James Williams (killed)
- Joseph Williams (killed)

Major William Cunningham - Commanding Officer

Ninety-Six Brigade of Loyalist Militia, Cunningham's Troop of Dragoons with the following known companies:
- 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

Total Loyalist Forces - 299











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