The Battle of Videau's Bridge

January 3, 1782 at Berkeley County , South Carolina

Facts about the Battle of Videau's Bridge

  • Armies - American Forces was commanded by Col. Richard Richardson, Jr. and consisted of over 400 Soldiers. British Forces was commanded by Maj. William Brereton and consisted of about 360 Soldiers.
  • Casualties - American casualties were estimated to be 9 killed, 6 wounded, and 15 missing. British casualties was approximately 4 killed, 14 wounded, and 1 captured.
  • Outcome - The result of the battle was a British victory.

Battle Begins

As 1782 was ushered in, the British found themselves penned up in Charlestown surrounded by a combination of militia and Continental soldiers. British Major General Alexander Leslie was the commandant of the city and had to slaughter 200 horses because he had nothing to feed them. To protect the river approaches to Charlestown, Leslie had several small outposts which were guarded by armed galleys.

One of these armed galleys was in the Wando River guarding the outpost on Daniel's Island, which was now under surveillance by Colonel Richard Richardson, Jr. and his Berkeley County Regiment (militia) that were based in nearby Cainhoy. The British used the armed galleys primarily to guard foraging parties looking for foodstuffs in the surrounding countryside, which totally irritated the Patriots.

Leslie received reports that Brigadier General Francis Marion's numerous and spread-out detachments might be vulnerable, so he ordered Major William Brereton was ordered to cross the Cooper River and invade St. Thomas's Parish. After landing on Daniel’s Island from a ship in the Wando River, the British crossed the island and Beresford Creek, then moved 14 miles up the Strawberry Road and halted at Brabant’s plantation about noon. At the same time, Gen. Marion ordered his men to block the enemy’s advance.

Patriot Colonel Richard Richardson, Jr. led his men north from Cainhoy. He knew that he was outnumbered so he requested reinforcements from Marion, who was low on men, but he did send a detachment of new and inexperienced cavalry from Colonel Hezekiah Maham's SC 3rd Regiment of State Dragoons, led by Major Samuel Cooper.

Major Brereton marched across Daniel's Island and crossed Beresford Creek, then rested his men at Brabant Plantation, the home of Rev. Robert Smith. Brereton placed troops on Videau's Bridge to guard the approaches leading to the plantation. Richardson had his men to circle around and come at the bridge from the north. He did some reconnoitering on his own, but soon came racing back with the NY Volunteers, the SC Royalists, and the Independent Troop of Black Dragoons hot on his tail. When he reached his own men, he wheeled around and ordered a charge.

Major Samuel Cooper charged with his cavalry and the British immediately retreated. At Videau's Bridge, the untrained men were fired upon by British infantry and 22 were killed. Major Coffin charged the confused Patriots with fresh cavalry causing the new recruits to flee. Some of Maham's veterans, led by Cooper, stayed and fought, but they too were slaughtered.

In the intense fight, Captain George Sinclair Capers had taken three sword thrusts in the body. Captain Archibald Campbell was killed when he attempted to escape after he had been captured. The British forces pursued the Patriots on a six mile running gun battle before they turned back to the main force. Brereton continued raiding cattle, foraging as far north as Quinby's Bridge before he returned to Haddrell's Point.

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