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Stono Ferry Battlefield
View of Stono River near the ferry crossing.
Plan of the battle of Stono Ferry on June 20, 1779.
The death of Col. Owen Roberts.
View of the the battlefield today.
After a failed attempt to march on Charles Towne, British Major General Augustine Prevost retreated back to Savannah. He left a rear guard at Stono Ferry commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Maitland. Maitland was entrenched in a strong defensive position on the north bank of the Stono River in an area known as Church Flats. Three artillery redoubts were constructed, circled by an abatis. Maitland’s 900 troops included Highlanders from the 71st Regiment of Foot, Hessians from the Regiment von Trumbach, and Loyalist troops from North and South Carolina.
Lincoln, with 1,200 troops, deployed after a night march of eight miles. They arrived at the Rantowles Road (Highway 162) at dawn on June 20, 1779. The Americans advanced in two wings and the battle began well for the Patriots as they advanced steadily in the first hour. In the midst of the battle, the British were reinforced by reserve troops brought across a bridge from John’s Island. Seeing these fresh troops, Lincoln ordered a retreat.
American casualties were 34 killed, 113 wounded, and 155 missing. Among the dead was Hugh Jackson, brother of future President Andrew Jackson, who died after suffering severe heat exhaustion. Also killed was Colonel Owen Roberts, commander of the South Carolina 4th Continental Regiment. His death was immortalized in a painting by artist Henry Benbridge (1743—1812). This painting is part of the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
The British causalities were 26 killed, 93 wounded, and 1 missing. Most of the British dead and wounded were Highlanders and Hessians.