The American Revolution in South Carolina

Long Canes

December 12, 1780

Patriot Cdr:

Col. Elijah Clarke (GA)
Loyalist Cdr:

Lt. Col. Isaac Allen






Old District: 

Ninety-Six District
Present County:

McCormick County

After Col. Elijah Clarke had brought many of the Patriot families of upper Georgia to the sanctuary of the Watauga settlements, he and his men (a number of whom were at Kings Mountain and Blackstocks) returned to Georgia. Sometime in December he was again in the field and with Col. Benjamin Few; Few having seniority over Clarke.

With their combined force of 500 Georgia and South Carolina Militia, (the South Carolinians under Lt. Col. James McCall and Maj. Samuel Hammond, who were with Col. Clarke), they advanced on the Long Canes Creek settlement just southwest of Ninety-Six. Many, if not most, of their men were mounted. Upon their arrival at Long Canes they sought to enlist recruits from the settlement which had a strong Patriot leaning.

Brigadier General Robert Cunningham, the Loyalist commander in the area, sent a request to Lt. Col. John Harris Cruger at Ninety-Six for support. Lt. Col. Cruger dispatched Lt. Col. Isaac Allen with 200 New Jersey Volunteers, 200 Loyalist militia, and 50 dragoons. It is not clear how many Brigadier General Cunningham himself had prior to the reinforcement; his original numbers may have been negligible at that point in time.

Initially, the Loyalists were forced to retreat in the face of an attack by Col. Elijah Clarke and Lt. Col. James McCall with about 100 Patriots. Col. Clarke, who was wounded, then called on Col. Benjamin Few to support him, but Col. Few refused or was unable to do so, nor did he tell Col. Clarke he had decided to withdraw. As a result Col. Clarke and Lt. Col. McCall were driven back by four times their number. Col. Few and Col. Clarke were subsequently pursued by Lt. Col. Isaac Allen.

Col. Clarke’s casualties in both the skirmish and the pursuit were about 21 killed and wounded (14 of these in the actual engagement), while the Loyalists lost three. Col. Clarke’s wound, which was at first thought mortal, kept him from further fighting till early March of 1781, when he joined Brigadier General Andrew Pickens in North Carolina. During the period of his recuperation, his men were commanded by Major John Cunningham (GA).

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. Elijah Clarke (GA) - Commanding Officer

Wilkes County Regiment of Militia (GA) detachment led by Col. Elijah Clarke, with unknown number of men

Richmond County Regiment of Militia (GA) detachment led by Col. Benjamin Few, with unknown number of men

Upper Ninety-Six District Regiment of Militia detachment led by Lt. Col. James McCall, with two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Joseph Calhoun
- Capt. Samuel Carr (wounded/died)

Little River District Regiment of Militia detachment of two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. William Harris
- Capt. John Ridgeway, Sr.

2nd Spartan Regiment of Militia detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. John Lindsay

Roebuck's Battalion of Spartan Regiment of Militia detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Dennis Tramell

Total Patriot Forces - 100

Lt. Col. Isaac Allen - Commanding Officer

NJ Volunteers, 3rd Battalion with the following known officers and/or units:
- Lt. Col. Isaac Allen's Company - Lt. Edward Steele
- Capt. Robert Drummond's Company - Lt. John Jenkins
- Capt. Joseph Lee's Company - Lt. John Hatton
- Capt. John Barbarie
- Capt. Peter Campbell
- Capt. Daniel Cozens
- Capt. Charles Harrison
- Capt. Thomas Hunloke
- Capt. Thatcher Bartholomew

DeLancey's Brigade - Capt. "Unknown," with one field piece

Ninety-Six District Brigade of Loyalist Militia led by Brigadier General Robert Cunningham, with Capt. James Dunlap

Total British/Loyalist Forces - 300




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