8 Sep 2017

The Battle of Eutaw Springs

The Battle of Eutaw Springs

In the summer of 1781, General Nathanael Greene felt his 2,200-man force of Continental regulars and Patriot militia was strong enough to launch an offensive in South Carolina. At four o’clock in the morning on September 8, Greene set his army in motion toward a British encampment at Eutaw Springs. The British commander, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart, had been warned of the American advance by deserters from Greene’s column. Unfortunately for the Redcoats, the American forces arrived on the very road Stewart planned to use as an escape route. Forced to fight, Stewart put up a stiff resistance, launching a counterattack before abandoning his camps.

Greene’s men always in need of supplies began plundering the British tents. As they did so, the distinct sound of the Brown Bess musket crackled over on Greene’s exposed left flank. British troops under the command of Major John Majoribanks had ensconced themselves in a three-story brick house and the adjacent garden of a nearby plantation and were now peppering the Americans with deadly accurate musket fire. Greene attempted an assault on Majoribanks’ stronghold losing the brave Major Denny Porterfield in the process but his troops were too disorganized to effectively dislodge the Redcoats. Instead, Greene was forced to retreat as Majoribanks launched a successful counterattack. The British remained in possession of Eutaw Springs.

The Battle of Eutaw Springs, which ended as a minor tactical defeat for the Americans, was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War in South Carolina. British forces began abandoning their gains in the Carolinas, withdrawing to the safety of their bases on the coast, and, more importantly, mirroring a British strategy that ended with the surrender of Yorktown the following month.

As we reflect on this important battle anniversary, please check out our resources on the Battle of Eutaw Springs.

General Nathanael Greene

Learn about the American commander at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, General Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island. A self-taught soldier, Greene rose through the ranks of the Continental Army to become one of George Washington’s most trusted and capable subordinates.

Eutaw Springs Map: Phase One

Examine our detailed map of the fighting that took place 236 years ago at Eutaw Springs. Follow the movements of both American and British forces at the last major Revolutionary War battle in South Carolina.

Overview: The Southern Campaign

It has often been said, with a great deal of accuracy, that the American Revolution was won in the South. Learn the story of the battles that secured the independence of the United States of America with our overview of the Southern Campaign.

Liberty Trail: The Southern Campaign

As part of our Campaign 1776 project, the Civil War Trust is working hard to preserve key sites from the Southern Campaign. Part of this effort involves the creation of an interpretive driving trail taking visitors to many of those sites.

Entire Revolutionary War Animated Map

Relive the dramatic story of America’s War for Independence with our Revolutionary War Animated Map. From the opening “shot heard round the world” at Lexington to the British surrender at Yorktown, experience some of the defining moments in American history.


American Battlefield Trust

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