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After the crushing defeat at Waxhaws, the people of the South Carolina backcountry had a decision to make. Were they “Tories”—loyal to the crown; or would they become “Whigs” or “partisans” and fight the British invaders?
General Thomas Sumter gathered militia troops in South Carolina. Militia units consisted of “civilian” farmers and sometimes included Catawba Indians and slaves. The American militia and partisans couldn’t just line up and take on the British. The British forces were too well-trained and disciplined. The Americans had to whittle away at the enemy, strike their supply lines—fight dozens of little battles, rather than one big battle. This strategy became known as “guerrilla warfare.”
In June 1780, the British had established an "outpost" at Rocky Mount, in the Catawba Valley. Lieutenant Colonel George Turnbull sent troops into what are now York and Chester counties to round up and eliminate the rebels. Captain Christian Huck, a loyalist from Philadelphia, was the leader.
In the community of Brattonsville, Martha Bratton sent a message to warn her husband, Colonel William Bratton, that Captain Huck was on his way. The message was delivered by Watt, the family’s African-American slave.
On July 12, 1780, the Patriot militia, led by Colonel Bratton, defeated the British Legion. This battle became known as the "Battle at Williamson's Plantation" or "Huck's Defeat."
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