05MAR1781: Spring Emerges as Both the British and Patriots Make Their Moves

The last time I posted about Francis Marion in February 1781, Lord Cornwallis had left the state of South Carolina, however, this was not typical occupied and subdued territory. As spring emerges, both Marion and British Lt. Col. John Watson start their positioning.

Watson had been ordered to bring his troops, the British 3rd Regiment of Guards and Loyalist/Provincial troops numbering about 400 from Ft. Watson to Georgetown on the coast while Marion had 300-500 troops starting to move to the center of the state to join up with the “Gamecock”, Brig. Gen Thomas Sumter.

Typical of the yet to be called “Swamp Fox”, Marion had his sources of Intel and was aware of Watson’s movements to the southeast and was waiting in the Wiboo Swamp for an opportunity. The chosen site is a marshy passageway located on the main Santee Road between Nelson’s and Murry’s Ferry.

J.D. Lewis (from http://www.carolana.com/home.html ) paints the scene:

Lt. Col. John Watson’s advance force of Loyalist Militia dragoons under Lt. Col. Henry Richbourg first clash with some of Brig. Gen. Marion’s cavalry under Lt. Col. Peter Horry, after which both fall back.

When Brig. Gen. Marion tries to send forth Lt. Col. Horry once more, Lt. Col. Watson’s infantry and artillery hold the Patriots back.

The Loyalists of the SC Rangers under Maj. Samuel Harrison then come up to charge the Patriots, but are arrested in their movement momentarily by one of Lt. Col. Horry’s horsemen, Gavin James, apparently a mighty individual, who single-handedly slews three of them before retiring.

Brig. Gen. Marion then orders in his horsemen under Capt. Daniel Conyers and Capt. John McCauley who drive the SC Rangers back, killing Maj. Samuel Harrison.

Right after this action, Marion learns in a letter from Capt. John Saunders, British Commandant of Georgetown, that he had seized Capt. John Postell under a flag of truce. Since this is 1781 (and not 1864 or 1944 or 2003, etc), there is in place a gentleman’s war to wage war, and Marion explains this in a letter that is sent in return with a copy to the Commandant of Charlestown:

March 7 th , 1781
By my orders, Lt. Col. Ervin sent Capt. John Postell with a flag to exchange the men you agreed to, and am greatly
surprised to find you not only refused to make the exchange, but have violated my flag by taking Capt. Postell
prisoner, contrary to the laws of nations. I shall immediately acquaint the commandant of Charles Town, and, if
satisfaction is not given, I will take it in every instance that may fall in my power. I have ever used all the officers and
men taken by me with humanity; but your conduct in closely confining Capt. Clarke in a place where he cannot stand
up, nor have his length, and not giving him half rations, will oblige me to retaliate on the officers and men which are, or
may fall in my hands, which nothing will prevent but your releasing Capt. Postell immediately, and using my officers as
gentlemen and your prisoners as customary in all civilized nations.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Francis Marion, BG Militia

Lt. Col. John Watson himself weighs in on his view of the “laws of nations”:

“It is with less surprise that I find a letter sent by you in all the apparent forms of a flag of truce, attended by an
armed party who concealed themselves within a certain distance of a place that pointed itself out for the delivery
of it, than to see the contents of it exhibit a complaint from you against us for violating the law of nations. I believe,
sir, it would be as difficult for you to name an instance of breach of it in his Majesty’s troops, as it would for them
to discover one where the law of arms or nations has been properly attended to by any of your party… You say it
was agreed that an exchange of prisoners should take place at George Town, and that Capt. Postell went by a flag
for that purpose, in consequence of that agreement. But I conceive it was not agreed that a man on parole to us
should become our enemy. Capt. Postell was, I understand, taken at Charles Town, and admitted to the country on
parole, if so, his detention, with all its consequences, is justifiable.”

An eyewitness remembered Marion’s response:

“Marion made him no reply, but gave orders to his nightly patrols to shoot his sentinels and cut off his pickets.” – William Dobein James.

It is about to get real.

Marion then takes out a bridge in Watson’s path to Georgetown and so Watson starts chasing the “Swamp Fox”, but the fox gets away, again and again.

By 12-13MAR1781, Watson stops at Witherspoon’s Plantation in an attempt to get Brig. Gen. Francis Marion to attack him, but to no avail.  While he is camped here, patriot Col. Archibald McDonald climbs a tree and shoots Loyalist Lt. George Torriano in the knee from 300 yards with a rifle with open sights. Epic shot, and a great way to keep the British humble around patriot sharpshooters!

This daily skirmish between Marion and Watson would continue in March 1781 but as planting season is upon the land, Marion’s volunteer force will continue to dwindle from 300 to 500 men to now number under 75 men, but not before Watson writes in his journal the following:

“ They will not sleep and fight like gentlemen, but like savages are eternally firing and whooping around us by night, and by day waylaying and popping us from behind every tree!”

The psychological edge in warfare is a thing!

Lt. Col. Watson has yet to arrive in Georgetown, SC and the patriot militia is the only reason for this delay. March 1781 is proving to be a feisty month in the American Revolutionary War.


On US Empire’s M.O. List in Regime Change: Power Outages

History can always be used when investigating the scene of a crime. Investigators evaluate what happened and then piece the puzzle together be going back in time looking for evidence. It is hard to do on the criminal’s first crime, but when the same criminal continues their crime-spree, the investigators look for trends that help them accelerate and even be able to predict their next move.

The same can be said for the post-WWII US Empire. Within a few years it established their way of controlling the reach of the empire. It was decided that the US would not follow directly in the steps of the British Empire which tended to control other countries directly through an imperialistic form of control, but the US would use other more covert methods towards control.

Off the cuff, one thinks first of sanctions (like the US did to Japan before Pearl Harbor), and then on to propaganda to further agitate those opposed to the regime within the target country, and even using the UN to paint these countries as global lawbreakers.

Another method is going to the very heart of a country’s infrastructure that impacts everyday living to continue the agitation, the power grid.

As Moon of Alabama pointed out the other day:

The U.S. is well know for cyberattacks as well as for attacks on electricity networks. In 2012 it knocked Syria off the internet when it ‘bricked’ the central router in Syria while attempting to install malware. In 2015 it systematically bombed Syria’s power plants.

This is only the most recent concerning Syria. Do you remember what the US did to Iran’s centrifuges? This occurred about a decade ago that turned out to be a secret U.S-Israeli cyberwar strike on Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and elsewhere. The Stuxnet virus we introduced into Natanz put 1,000 centrifuges out of action, from a random worker’s USB drive as these devices were not on any network. The worm found the controlling software and inserted itself into it, seizing control of the centrifuges. Stuxnet carried out two separate attacks. First, it made the centrifuges spin dangerously fast, for about 15 minutes, before returning to normal speed. Then, about a month later, it slowed the centrifuges down for around 50 minutes. This was repeated for several months eventually causing these centrifuges to physically fail.

Unintended consequences followed as by 2010 this virus spread globally!

What does this have to do with Venezuela? Well, from the 2016 & 2017 sanctions the US placed on that country was followed up with more rhetoric during 2018. While the US is the biggest importer of the declining oil output from Venezuela, India and China come in at #2 and #2 and would be more than willing to pick up the slack for cheap oil.

The US was actually encouraged when it was announced that Venezuela would no longer sell its oil using USD in September of 2017. The decision is similar to that once made by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who dropped the dollar in favor of the euro a few years prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Countries that do this are well aware of the risks involved in shunning the US Empire.

This cycle will continue as it has in previous regime change attempts the US has engineered. I am sure the “greater good” propaganda will be flown as the citizens of Venezuela suffer, but a lot of it depends on how much truth emerges in these critical weeks before the US steps up the “need” for regime change.

This tidbit did not go unnoticed in the past few days as Moon of Alabama again points out:

When the first outage happened U.S. Senator Marco Rubio eagerly mocked the government of Venezuela. He also mentioned that some backup generators failed:

Marco Rubio @marcorubio – 22:18 utc – 7 Mar 2019
ALERT: Reports of a complete power outage all across #Venezuela at this moment.
18 of 23 states & the capital district are currently facing complete blackouts.
Main airport also without power & backup generators have failed.
#MaduroRegime is a complete disaster.

After the first outage the government of Venezuela said that it was caused by a cyberattack on the automated control system but gave no further details:

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said Maduro’s government planned to bring “proof” of US involvement in the blackout to a UN Human Rights envoy who is set to visit the country in the coming days.

Rodriguez pointed to the Rubio tweet:

‘How did Marco Rubio know that backup generators had failed? At that time, no one knew that,’ the Bolivarian government official asked.

The Venezuelan government should contact the Russian cybersecurity specialists at Kaspersky Lab who are well known for detecting U.S. produced malware like the one used for the Stuxnet attack on Iran’s uranium enrichment plant. Kaspersky is highly respected in the international cybersecurity scene. Should it confirm that a U.S. attack malware caused the problem the U.S. will find it difficult to deny.

Yes, since there is history, a M.O. (modus operandi – a method of procedure), it will be fairly easy to identify the US fingerprints on this. Maybe that is why, as late as today, the US now states that their “regime change” timeline is not defined.

While one thinks that an electrical outage is not a big deal, one should know that attacks on electricity networks greatly affect the civilian population with hospitals being are hard to run without electricity depending on emergency generators. This also cuts off the civilian population to the Internet, to know what is really going on in their country and in the world:

It should be noted that in the Korean War, the US bombed dams to unleash great swaths of destruction on the civilian population. The blow-back of this kind of manipulation is a civilian population that will accept a bad government over the one that is doing this. Even in our own Civil War (War Against Southern Independence), these atrocities embittered people for generations.

But Sherman’s and Sheridan’s legacy lives on in the US Empire’s tactics. Both the Obama and the Trump administration, rejected international attempts to ban cyberattacks that “indiscriminate or systemic harm to individuals and critical infrastructure”:

All members of the European Union signed the agreement. Australia and Turkey joined the United States in declining.

Israel, which along with the United States conducted the most sophisticated cyberattack in history, the Stuxnet attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, also declined to sign.

Bottom line:

Why Venezuela? Why now? Well, all the indicators show that the US petro-dollar is in trouble, countries have left or are starting to create ways to leave. From this site shows those smart countries who are aware of history and making preparations:

The list of the 23 countries which are creating new swap lines outside of the dollar include China, Russia, India, and surprisingly, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. This means that the Eurozone itself is abandoning the dollar, and preparing for transition to a new central banking system.

To facilitate the transfer of currencies and swap lines, there needs to be a bank of sufficient size and stature to aid in handling of this monumental task. One year ago, China, along with the BRICs nations of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, loaned money to a new financial institution they established and labeled the BRICs bank. This bank was created with the intention of bypassing the dollar, and allowing free trade to occur between nations without the need to trade for dollars first, as is currently the format under the petrodollar system.

Russia, China and Iran already have their own way to trade since 2012, and attempted regime change by the US Empire in Syria was a strategic effort towards reversing this trend. These actions only make the Empire look more desperate. As Ron Paul pointed out how we got to this point:

“In essence, we declared our insolvency in 1971. Everyone recognized some other monetary system had to be devised in order to bring stability to the markets. Amazingly, a new system was devised which allowed the U.S. to operate the printing presses for the world reserve currency with no restraints placed on it– not even a pretense of gold convertibility! Realizing the world was embarking on something new and mind-boggling, elite money managers, with especially strong support from U.S. authorities, struck an agreement with OPEC in the 1970s to price oil in U.S. dollars exclusively for all worldwide transactions. This gave the dollar a special place among world currencies and in essence backed the dollar with oil.

The empires demise will probably take decades, but the writing is on the wall. Few empires have been able to willingly let go of its dominate role in global affairs. The USSR is a great example of a peaceful move towards the release of central power, just waiting for those in the US to use history to see that this might be the best way forward.

Reality is a b*tch, but learning from history can allow people groups to emerge into a better spot, but it will take a brave generation to accomplish.

Is there a generation of Americans that are up to this challenge?

Time will tell. Hang on, the surf’s up dude, we are in wild times.


11FEB1781 – 01MAR1781: With Cornwallis Chasing Nathaniel Greene in NC …

One might think that South Carolina would be out of the limelight with Lord Cornwallis giving chase to the Continentals (Greene and Lee) in North Carolina, but this means all the more that the remaining rebel forces in this colony needs to keep the British hold there in doubt.

It was 11FEB1781 when Francis Marion received a letter that said Thomas Sumter, fellow militia leader in South Carolina, was back in action and that the “Gamecock” was the highest ranking officer in the state/colony. Thomas Sumter was not happy that Daniel Morgan had been given permission by the Continental Army to operate in the Catawba region of SC and made it look easy by what he pulled off at Cowpens, SC in JAN1781:

.. a huge patriot victory at Cowpens, South Carolina on January 17th where Daniel Morgan achieved a double pincer movement that utilized militia in the front lines to supply 2-3 volleys and then retreat which then brought Tarleton’s dragoons into a trap (remember that from the movie ‘The Patriot’?) and resulting of 85% loss in the dragoon’s 1050 man force (100 dead, 230 wounded and 600 captured). Also captured was two field cannon, 800 muskets and 100 horses.

What has to be remembered is that the united States (emphasizing the thirteen sovereign “states” and not necessarily the united or union component) under the Articles of Confederation which was to be formally ratified the next month (March 1781) did NOT give the federation’s government power over the state’s armed forces. Sumter was technically senior to Marion in the SC State militia even though Marion still held a commission in the Continental Army and Sumter had resigned his in 1778. At this point, recently promoted SC militia leader Andrew Pickens and Francis Marion would be reporting to Thomas Sumter who then reported to the SC governor, John Rutledge, who was in exile in North Carolina.

So with Cornwallis chasing Greene and Lee in NC, Sumter directed Marion to assist him in attacking smaller British outposts in SC.  Sumter had just laid siege to Fort Granby on the Congaree River on Feb 19th. Sumter desired Marion’s actions to distract Rawdon, the British officer in charge at Camden, SC.

Unknown to Sumter was that Rowden was on the move and had forced Marion to retreat 20 miles right after Marion had tried to recruit more men west of the Santee.  Marion’s recruiting was not going well because a rogue Whig militia leader named Snipes had been plundering the civilian areas telling people he was under orders from Marion! Marion countered by re-emphasizing his philosophy of no looting and no taking provisions from plantations without direct orders from himself. He also published a proclamation that said unidentified parties not associated with his militia would be identified by name and at that time all would be free to put them to death without prosecution. It had come to that.

Marion then moved back to Snow’s Island with Rowden in pursuit of him. The “Swamp Fox” was almost caught when Rowden was directed to go after Sumter who was threatening Ninety-Six. In Rowden’s reports he lists Marion’s strength at 300 and all mounted.

It wasn’t until Feb 26th that Marion received Sumter’s orders from a letter dated Feb 20th. In the mean time Sumter had given up a siege of Fort Granby which he attempted without artillery and also an aborted effort to storm a stockade at Belleville SC.  Marion responded that the British pressure was too great to his west at this time but would venture out at the next opportunity.  Marion was definitely not enthusiastic about Sumter, considered him a “showboater” and word of his recent attacks seemed like a fools errand.  Marion knew his men did not like being at large distances from home but Marion saw this as an order and moved somewhat slowly 100 miles west toward Sumter, to give the appearance that he was attempting to follow orders.

Thomas Sumter was impatient and therefore struck at Fort Watson on Feb 28th, but called off action after 18 of his men were killed. Sumter again penned a letter emphasizing that Marion needed to connect with him but then on March 1st, Sumter heard of a British unit heading his way so he retreated to the High Hills region above the Santee, grabbed his paralytic wife and their son and rode another 40 miles to Black River at Bradley’s Plantation. More than likely Sumter and Marion passed each other in the night and did not know it.

These actions, although small on paper, demonstrated that South Carolina could not be counted on by the British as a reconquered province. Marion and the other militia leaders would continue to harass the British in their rear .. no pun intended!

March1781 would be a HUGE month for the rebel cause against the British Empire in the American Colonies.

– SF1

05FEB1781 Brig. Gen. Marion Captures 30 British Redcoats, Including Officers

Brig. Gen. Francis Marion starts off February 1781 with an effort many miles south of their normal area of operations. With a group of mounted militiamen, he left the Pee Dee region to head to the Dorchester area which is much closer to CharlesTown itself.

In route they destroy or utilize large quantities of enemy stores and provisions and even proceeded damaged the Redcoat quarters at Wando Landing, about 15 miles from CharlesTown. Francis Marion and his men surprised the British troops and captured 30 prisoners, including officers, before continuing towards Dorchester.

Beyond this there is not much action the first half of February 1781, but spring is coming to South Carolina, and the actions is about to ramp up!


24JAN1781: “Lighthorse” Harry Lee and Marion’s Amphibious Assault on British at Georgetown, SC

22JAN1781 finds Lt. Col. “Lighthorse” Henry Lee arriving in Marion’s camp on Snows Island giving the militia a boost in spirits. The very next day, Lee has tow companies of his men depart down the Pee Dee River in flatboats guided by some of Marion’s men. Destination is Georgetown, a primary source of salt, rice and if lucky, some guns, horses and ammunition as well. These two leaders were about to bring their forces to bear on Georgetown in a coordinated amphibious assault (by land and sea).

By dawn on 24JAN1781 these flatboats reach the mouth of the Pee Dee River and Lee’s men hide on a small island in Winyah Bay (that leads to the Atlantic Ocean) to await the arrival of their companions coming via land. Brig. Gen. Francis Marion gathers his Militia at Kingstree on 24JAN1781,
then he and Lt. Col. Henry Lee ride hard, arriving near Georgetown at dark.

Delays in the land portion led to a premature attack from the sea the morning of the 25th. During the early morning hours, Lt. Col. Lee’s men in the flatboats slip undetected from their hiding place in Winyah Bay and
land on Georgetown’s undefended waterfront at Mitchell’s Landing. Continental office Capt. Carnes leads one party to seize Lt. Col. George Campbell in his headquarters near the parade ground.

With the Georgetown British garrison’s commander and four others  captured, and eventually paroled, the element of surprise was gone and the taking of Georgetown would not be that day. Had the Patriots really assaulted the redoubt, Lt. Col. Lee and Brig. Gen. Marion might then have taken the cannons there and used them on the houses. However, they do not want to risk unnecessary losses, and they quickly depart the small town. Both commanders erred appropriately toward preserving their men’s live than achieving a bloody victory.

The psychological impact was there as the British held back resources to protect Georgetown which as a supplier of salt in the region as well as a transportation crossroads.