Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Butler to Richard Caswell
Butler, John, d. 1786
June 1779
Volume 14, Pages 129-130

[From Executive Letter Book.]


Since my last of the 18th or 19th Inst. we have had an engagement with the Enemy. The Particulars as follows: Genl. Lincoln marched the main Body of his Army on the night between the 19th and 20th Inst. to attack a work which the Enemy had thrown up on this side and near to Stono Ferry. The army formed near half a mile before we came to the works, and marched full front with design that the right wing of our army should turn the left and our left the right of the Enemy's works without stopping till that point was gained. We marched on within 180 yards of the works, when the Enemy began to fire with field-pieces, small arms and one Howitzer; the men then stopped and returned the fire; it was found difficult to move them any farther; however, our right advanced within fifty yards of their left, and found several Boats and a Row Galley, loaded with men, endeavouring

-------------------- page 130 --------------------
to pass the River to John's Island. Our men fired on the Boats, killed a number, and forced the rest to leap into the River; several was drowned; in the meantime our left fell in with the Enemy's Picquet of Scotch. The Picquet was reinforced with several small parties, and stood as obstinate as mules 'till they were chiefly cut off. By this time a considerable reinforcement came from John's Island, our Cartridges almost out; the Genl. thought proper to order a retreat, which was performed with leisure and in good order. Our loss about thirty-five killed and ninety-six wounded. The night following the Enemy left that post in haste, burnt three of their vessels, and are now in John's Island, said to be embarking; where they mean to go is uncertain. Several Scotch Deserters have come in since the action. By their account and by every intelligence we get their loss is much greater than ours. I can, with pleasure, assure you that the officers and men under my command behaved better than could be expected of raw Troops.

I am your Mo. ob. Servt.,
Gov. Caswell.

P. S. The action continued one hour and ten minutes.