The Battle of Wofford's Iron Works / Cedar Springs (Second)

August 8, 1780 at Buffington, Spartanburg County, South Carolina

Facts about the Battle of Wofford's Iron Works

  • Armies - American Forces was commanded by Col. Elijah Clarke and consisted of about 600 Soldiers. British Forces was commanded by Capt. James Dunlap and consisted of about 114 Soldiers.
  • Casualties - American casualties were estimated to be 4 killed and 21 wounded. British casualties was approximately 20-30 killed/wounded.
  • Outcome - The result of thebattle was an American victory.


Colonel Charles McDowell was camped at Cherokee Ford with not more than a thousand men (according to Draper), and had sent out an advance force of an estimated 600 mounted men under Colonels Isaac Shelby, Elijah Clark, and William Graham to keep watch on and check the foraging parties of Ferguson, who is thought to have had 400-600 according to one account, and 1,500-1,800 men according to Draper.

On the evening of August 7, Shelby, Clark and Graham, expecting a direct attack, retreated from their bivouac two miles west of Cedar Spring to an area near Wofford's Iron Works a few miles north, on Lawson's Fork of the Pacelot.

Battle Begins

On August 8, in the morning, Ferguson's advance guard of 114 dragoons and mounted loyalists under Major James Dunlop attacked, but, outnumbered was beaten back with some loss. When Ferguson's came up with the main force however, Clark, Shelby and Graham's men were forced to make a hasty retreat.

Ferguson pursued them some four or five miles but after the backcountry men had posted themselves on some high ground called, he off his attack and withdrew. Much of the battle took on the form of a running engagement, and some versions speak of two separate but closely related skirmishes going on simultaneously.

The number of men involved and of casualties in the battle is not clear, there being different versions of each coming from both sides. However, it would seem on the surface fair to say that Dunlop and Ferguson outnumbered Shelby, Clark and Graham, and the losses for both sides were about the same except that the Americans took more prisoners. It is not stated that Ferguson even took any.

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