A man and a horse do not a cavalry make! A lack of swords was a serious problem for Revolutionary war era cavalry, and on June 18, 1781 the Patriots got the worst end of their encounter with 200 British mounted infantry in Gilbert, SC. After this running battle from Highway 1 down Peach Festival Road, Patriot Colonel Charles Myddelton’s troops were scattered and demoralized.
These were men under General Sumter who were sent to follow and harass Lord Rawdon\’s troops. Rawdon was on the march to the fort at Ninety Six; which was being besieged by Nathaniel Greene and 1600 Patriots.
The British regrouped at Vaudant’s Old Fields before continuing their march north. Here they buried 4 of the King’s men and 4 Patriots. They also hung 2 of their own from a nearby tree. Their corpses swung in the wind for three weeks until a farmer happened upon them, cut them down and buried them along with the others.
The graves of the these unknown soldiers can be found in a corn field on Cedar Grove Rd. Silent markers of stone sit upright like Cypress knees to mark the earthen beds of the fallen. Poor monuments to the conflict and the men who helped win our Liberty.
Greene\’s strategy of attrition was working. The British ultimately abandoned Ninety Six and consolidated their forces in Orangeburg.(1) Freedom Reigns!
(1) Parker\’s Guide to the Revolutionary War in South Carolina, John C. Parker Jr.