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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

August 16th, 1780 - The Battle of Camden

Conflict: American Revolution

Combatants: Americans vs. British

Location: South Carolina (USA)

Outcome: British victory

With the organized resistance defeated in the South by May of 1780, General George Washington dispatched General Horatio Gates with 900 Continental soldiers and 2100 supporting militia toward Camden, South Carolina. General Lord Charles Cornwallis with 2,239 British regulars intercepted the American force and attacked at dawn on August 16th. Most of the American militia balked and fled at the sight of regulars advancing with bayonets. Only the Delaware and Maryland Continental soldiers, led by General Baron de Kalb, managed to hold. Yet after one hour, De Kalb's troops were outflanked and defeated. De Kalb was killed in the combat. About 750 Americans were killed and many hundreds taken prisoner. The British suffered around 320 casualties.

Battle of Camden by Alonzo Chappel

Points of Interest:

  • Horatio Gates was disgraced by the defeat at Camden, one of the worst American losses in the war, and was replaced by Nathaniel Greene. Although he returned as a deputy of George Washington in Newburgh, New York in 1782, Gates never recovered his prestige.

  • On August 18th, cavalry of the reviled British Colonel Banastre Tarleton surprised a detachment of the retreating Americans at Fishing Creek and killed an additional 150 soldiers.

Horatio Gates by Charles Willson Peale

First Marquis of Cornwallis by an unknown artist

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