General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Robert Barnwell

 Robert Barnwell, Revolutionary war soldier, and one of South Carolina's great Statesmen, was born in Beaufort Sc on December 21, 1761. Barnwell joined the Sc militia in 1777, and  received the rank of Captain. Barnwell , first major battle was the Third  Florida Expedition  of 1778 under the command of Andrew Pickens.
 The expedition to Florida was fought more for political reasons than strategic reasons. Ga Politicians such as Button Gwinnett, wanted the fame of capturing the only British Fortification located in St. Augustine Florida. Ga militia and Sc militia tried to capture the British Fort on two previous separate  occasions, but failed to do so. The Third Expedition( July1, 1778) failed also when the British defeated the rear echelon  of the Sc militia, and also  the militia and Continental army didnt coordinate their attacks upon the British.
 in January 1779, Barnwell worked on the defenses at Port Royal Sound near  Hilton Head Sc.  In February  1779 Barnwell fought with Moultrie at Fort Lyttleton and helped prevet the British from seizing  Hilton Head Island. In April 1779, Barnwell was with Benjamin Lincoln  at the Battle of Brier creek GA. Here at Brier creek the British defeated the Americans killing over 200, and wounding over  175 patriots. The Sc militia fled at the start of he battle leaving only the Ga militia to fight the British.
On May 3, 1778, Barnwell fought in the battle of Coosawatchie sc located near the Sc/Ga border. Here the Americans tried to prevent the British from reaching Savannah GA, but were unable to hold them back 
    On June 20, 1779, while the battle of Stono Ferry was being fought in Charleston, Barnwell was with Moultrie on St. John's Island located in the Charleston Harbor. The Americans should have been able to defeat the British since it was only a lightly forced garrison, but were unable to do so. The British tricked the Americans into laying down their arms by promising them they could go back to their homes if they layed down their weapons and left. When the Americans layed their weapons down, the British commander ordered a bayonet charge. Barnwell received over 17 bayonet wounds,and was left ffor dead. A slave of his cousin found him and took him to his cousin's house for treatment.
    In May 1780, Barnwell was fighting again at the battle of Charleston Sc.  The battle of Charleston is considered the worst American defeat of the Revolutionary war. Barnwell was captured and placed on a British prison ship the Pack Horse for 13 months. In February 1782, Barnwell participated in his last  battle at Hutchinson Island, Sc where the patriots seized a storehouse of rice.
 In 1787, Barnwell enetered Sc politics. In 1789, Barnwell was a member of the Continnetal congress and playeda role in ratifying the U. S. Constitution.. Barnwell stayed in Sc politics until 1806. Barnwell died on October 24, 1814, and was buried at St. Helena Episcopal church in Beaufort Sc.

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