The Patriots Take Provisions and Prisoners in a Surprise Attack on a British Supply Depot
The meandering waterways and lush cypress swamps of Upper Wadboo Creek are much the same today as they were when a Patriot brigade swept through here in 1781 and surprised the British near Wadboo Bridge. The raid was part of Patriot commander Francis Marion’s ongoing campaign to find and destroy British outposts in the Lowcountry.
Marion dispatched 70 partisans under the commands of Captain John Postell Jr. and his brother Major James Postell to scour this area for the enemy. James Postell proceeded with one company north to Scott’s Lake, near today’s Santee National Wildlife Refuge, but found the post too well-fortified to attack. John Postell led the other company south to Moncks Corner, where they captured a British wagon train and 40 British Regulars. Next, John Postell’s men destroyed British stores near Wadboo Bridge, including 20 large casks of rum, and large quantities of pork, flour, rice, salt, and turpentine. Tarleton Brown, who rode with the Patriots, recalled, "Just about the break of day we charged upon the enemy, and our appearance was so sudden and unexpected that they had not time even to fire a single gun. We took thirty-three prisoners, found twenty odd hogsheads [casks] of old spirits, and a large supply of provisions. The former we destroyed but returned with the latter and our prisoners to the army on the Santee.”
Known as “The Swamp Fox” for his craftiness and ingenuity, Francis Marion trained his subordinates well. They were cunning and relentless in their mission to break the British Army’s supply chain. Whatever they could not take with them, they burned. Just hours after plundering the stores at Wadboo Bridge, James Postell set fire to British supplies at Manigault’s Ferry and John Postell successfully took the British depot northwest of Moncks Corner at Keithfield Plantation.
January 31–February 1, 1781