SC History Trail

Battle of Black Mingo Creek

Located on Black Mingo Creek in Williamsburg County, this site is a major stop on the Francis Marion Trail. Here, Brigadier General Francis Marion defeated a larger force of Loyalist militia during the Revolutionary War in the style of guerrilla warfare that made him famous as the "Swamp Fox of the Revolution".


Battle of Black Mingo Creek
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Site Description
On September 14, 1780, several months after British forces had conquered and occupied South Carolina, Brigadier General Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox of the Revolution," learned that a force of Loyalist Militia were encamped on the creek here near a public roadhouse called the Red House Tavern. The Loyalists were commanded by Captain J. Coming Ball. Although outnumbered, Marion hurriedly planned an attack on Ball's troops.

In a surprise midnight attack, Marion struck the unsuspecting Loyalists while they were sleeping, attacking from two sides with troops led by Colonel Peter Horry and Captain Thomas Waites. It was a brief, but bloody action that resulted in casualties of about 30 percent on both sides.

The Loyalists broke off the fight and retreated into Black Mingo Swamp. Marion captured Captain Ball's superb horse which he renamed "Old Ball" and rode for the rest of the war. Surprise actions like this one at Black Mingo Creek were typical of Francis Marion's guerrilla campaign in South Carolina which unnerved and reduced Loyalist support, and undermined the British Southern strategy to win the Revolution by conquering the Southern states. Today, a historical marker overlooking Black Mingo Creek interprets the action as a major site on the Francis Marion Trail.
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