The Battle of Dorchester (First)

December 1, 1781 at Dorchester, South Carolina

Facts about the Battle of Dorchester (First)

  • Armies - American Forces was commanded by Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene and consisted of about 400 Soldiers. British Forces was commanded by Maj. John Doyle and consisted of about 850 Soldiers.
  • Casualties - American casualties were unknown. British casualties were unknown.
  • Outcome - The result of the battle was an American victory.

Battle Begins

After the Battle of Eutaw Springs, Major General Nathanael Greene and his American force departed from High Hills. Major John Doyle was left in temporary command of the British forces while Colonel Alexander Stewart was recovering from a wound.

On December 1, Doyle and his 850 British Regulars had withdrawn to Goose Creek Bridge. Greene and his 200 Maryland and Virginia Continentals and 200 cavalry moved his force there. Greene decided to try to cut off the post at Dorchester on the Ashley River. The Dorchester outpost was located about 15 miles southwest of Charleston.

The rest of the American force, commanded by Colonel Otho Williams, marched to Round O. When the British identified Greene in the column as they were approaching Dorchester, they assumed that Green'e entire force was following behind him.

There were several skirmishes with the opposing cavalry and a brief fight between the Greene's advance guard and a British reconnaissance force from Dorchester. The British decided not to defend the post. They destroyed their stores and threw their arms into the river.

Next, they withdrew their entire force to within 5 miles of Charleston. At Charleston, Colonel Alexander Stewart returned from recovering a wound he recieved at Eutaw Springs. The British command was worried about an American attack on Charleston that they enlist and armed the local negroes. The Americans decided not to attack and instead went into camp at Round O.

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