The Battle of Eutaw Springs
September 8, 1781 at Eutawville, South Carolina
After receiving reinforcements, Major General Nathanael Greene of the Continental Army once again ordered the attack on Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Stewart and the British soldiers at Eutaw Springs. The battle took place on the banks of the Santee River, as the Patriots approached in the early morning it had forced the British soldiers to abandon their morning breakfasts to defend themselves.
Greene commanded approximately 2,200 men compared to the less than 2,000 British soldiers commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Stewart. What the Patriots were unaware of was that the British had managed to secure a stone house, it allowed the British to regroup and a place where Patriot Lieutenant Colonel William Washington’s cavalry was unable to attack. After the Patriots took over the British camp, Washington must have thought because the British had retreated and disappeared he felt there would be no counter attack. As the Patriots began plundering through British supplies, Stewart prepared his men to attack the Patriots.
As a four-hour bloodbath ensued and an unsettled ending, both sides retreated from the battlefield. What was determined was more than 500 Americans were killed or wounded in the action. British losses were even greater and the greatest sustained by any army in a single battle during the entire Revolutionary War. By the end of the battle, 700 of their soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. Because of the high number of casualties the British sustained, Stewart subsequently ordered his men to withdraw to Charleston, South Carolina, to regroup.
The Battle of Eutaw Springs was one of the hardest fought and bloodiest battles of the Revolution and proved to be the last major engagement of the war to take place in the South. The Patriots’ partial victory cemented their near-complete control of the southern section of the country.