August 16, 1780 ~ The Battle of Camden, SC
Following setbacks at Saratoga and Monmouth, the British decided to renew their “southern strategy.”
In May 1780 British forces successfully captured Charleston, South Carolina and spread out from there.
Horatio Gates, was sent south in July to counter the the British advance. He immediately moved towards British controlled Camden with his regulars and mostly militia troops from several states.
Alerted to Gates’ movements, General Lord Cornwallis reinforced the British garrison at Camden.
On August 16th, Gates’ forces collided with Banister Tarelton’s dragoons just north of the city.
When the battle commenced, 800 British regulars tore through 2,500 mostly inexperienced militia troops on the American left.
The Continental regulars launched a determined counter-attack, but a charge by Tarleton’s cavalry in the Continental rear sealed the British victory.
Tarleton would later say, “rout and slaughter ensued in every quarter.”
Following the battle, Gates was relieved of command and South Carolina was squarely under the control of British Forces; But the guerrilla tactics of Francis Marion and others was just beginning .