Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Meeting Notes: January 21, 2009

"Who Won the Battle of Camden?"  Dr. John Maass

The Americans, led by Horatio Gates and Baron DeKalb, were a mixture of Continentals and militia from Virginia and North Carolina. Gates was new to the command and not used to milita. The movement of the troops from North Carolina took longer than planned and with the slow movement of supplies from Virginia to North Carolina all led to Gates frustration. Also the fall of Charleston in May, 1780 had deprived the Americans of approximately four thousand troops.

Camden was a British garrison town manned by twenty-two hundred troops. These troops were made up of 3rd and 23rd Regiments and the 71st Light Infantry. These troops were led by Lord Cornwallis, Lord Rawdon and Lt. Col. James Webster. In addition were Provincials, the British Legion under Tarlton,The Volunteers of Ireland The Royal Regiment of North Carolina.

First Issue:

How Gates moved to Camden?
What was his route?
Did it matter in the end?

Gates had no intention of attacking a garrison. He took a position north of the water course and waited for Sumter and Marion. He wanted the British to attack his army.

Second Issue:

Move to Saunders Creek.
Did his army consist of 3,052 or 7,000 rank and file?

There were enough men for the 10:00 P.M. march; however he had very few Calvary. He also expected no contact. The two forces met at 2:00 P.M.

Third Issue:

Did Gates handle his army as should have?
Should Gates have retreated?

Fourth Issue:

Did he flee the battlefield?
Did he attempt to rally the troops?
Did have a plan if defeated?

Reputation: He left his troops with the hope of reorganizing them at Hillsbourgh, North Carolina.

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