Huck’s Defeat is re-enacted at Historic Brattonsville near McConnells. It tells the story of key battles in the Revolutionary War. The battle wasn’t the the biggest win for Colonists, but it showed them they could win against superior forces by fighting their own way.
Things were not going well in South Carolina in the summer of 1780. Charleston had fallen to the British in May, and the British were on the prowl for Whig militias in what is now York County in South Carolina.
A particularly unpleasant British commander was Capt. Christian Huck, a Philadelphia lawyer who laid waste to the countryside in search of militia leaders – particularly John McClure, William Bratton and others under the command of Gen. Thomas Sumter, aka the Fighting Gamecock.
Huck terrorized the families of McClure and Bratton and even threatened the life of Bratton’s wife, Martha, who refused to give out any information about her husband.
Huck’s troops were camped on the nearby Williamson plantation when they were attacked early on the morning of July 12. Taken completely by surprise, the British forces were trapped and overwhelmed. Many surrendered, 35 – including Huck – were killed. The Patriots suffered one casualty.
The victory, though small, help invigorate the Patriots and led to larger victories at nearby Kings Mountain and Cowpens.
The exact location of the battle remained a mystery for a number of years until York County historian Michael Scoggins and University of South Carolina archaeologists used metal detectors to excavate a roughly 10-acre area that Scoggins’ research indicated was the site of the battle. Last year, they were able to pinpoint a location after nearly six years of work. During their excavation, researchers discovered dozens of musket balls and other military paraphernalia including buttons and horseshoes.
To celebrate this milestone battle, re-enactors perform annually at Historic Brattonsville in McConnells. Visitors can see living history and music performances as well as talks by historians.
A children’s encampment will let the kids play with historical toys and games as well as take part in military drills and learn about life in a Revolutionary War camp.