Battle of Camden Facts

Battle of Camden Facts
The Battle of Camden was fought on August 16, 1780 near Camden, South Carolina during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was part of the Carolinas Campaign in the Southern Theater of the war and ended up being one of the biggest battlefield losses for the Patriots. The American forces, which consisted of combined Continentals and militia, were commanded by General Horatio Gates, one of the heroes of Saratoga. Although the Americans had nearly double the number of men of the British, at about 4,000 to 2,000, and had several cannons, they were severely routed. More than 900 Americans were killed or wounded, another 1,000 were taken captive, and they lost eight cannons to the British. Gates' plan was to capture Camden with his force, but was met by British General Charles Cornwallis' force just north of the town in a bottleneck between two marshy, wooded areas.
Interesting Battle of Camden Facts:
One of Gates' major tactical mistakes was placing his best troops, the Continentals, on his right flank. The crafty Cornwallis threw a curveball by putting his best troops opposite Patriot militia instead of the Continentals.
The highly experienced 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers made mincemeat of the Patriot militia, who quickly scattered.
On the other flank, the British troops held their own against the experience Continentals.
The British troops were augmented by a Loyalist militia known as the Volunteers of Ireland. Although formed in America, it was known as the Volunteers of Ireland because it was led by an Irish Protestant noble and comprised of many men from Ireland, mainly Protestants.
The two armies met along the Great Wagon Road the night before the battle. The Great Wagon Road was a major road along the Appalachian Mountains during the Colonial period.
The meal that the Patriots had on the night before the battle made many of them sick.
Another factor that led to the American loss in the battle was that Gates led his forces so far into Loyalist territory: they were overextended and had inadequate supply lines.
When the battle began, the Fusiliers charged with bayonets, which frightened some of the members of the North Carolina militia so much that they retreated all the way to Hillsborough, North Carolina.
Overcome and nearly surrounded, the Continentals finally gave up the battle and retreated. They were pursued for over twenty miles.
Just under 200 Americans were killed, which was bad, but when combined with the loss of eight cannons and 200 supply wagons, the losses were devastating.
Gates was blamed for the loss and suffered great dishonor and professional setback as a result. He lost command of the Southern Army and was forced to go before a board of inquiry of the Continental Congress but was not punished.
For Cornwallis and the British, the victory gave them momentum to march up the coast through North Carolina and into Virginia. Benedict Arnold joined Cornwallis along the way.

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