Despite the fact that his men suffered from dysentery on the night of August 15, General Horatio Gates chose to engage the British on the morning of August 16. Although the Continentals outnumbered the British two to one, the encounter was a disaster. Did You Know? After the Continental army suffered several defeats in late 1777, General Thomas Conway allegedly tried, unsuccessfully, to discredit George Washington and have him replaced with Horatio Gates. The rumored conspiracy would go down in history as the Conway Cabal. Gates seriously overestimated the number of soldiers he had available for combat; when he finally realized his mistake, it was too late to withdraw.
In theory, the Continental forces numbered around 4,000 to General Charles Cornwallisв some 2,200 Redcoats. However, in practice, only about 3,000 Patriots were well enough to take the field. When the British charged with their bayonets, the militia that made up the Patriot front line, who did not have bayonets, ran. The remaining Continental soldiers fought bravely, but utterly failed to make any headway in the face of the British assault.
CAMDEN, BATTLE OF CAMDEN, BATTLE OF, American Revolutionary battle taking place 16 August 1780. Following General Benjamin Lincoln\’s defeat and capture at Charleston, South Carolina, General Horatio Gates was given command of the American army in the southern department, consisting of 1,400 regulars and 2,052 unseasoned militia.
Marching southward from Hillsboro, North Carolina, Gates met an army of two thousand British veterans under Lord Charles Cornwallis near Camden, South Carolina, early in the morning of 16 August. At the first attack, the militia fled. The regulars, standing their ground, were surrounded and almost annihilated. The Americans lost 2,000 killed, wounded, and captured; 7 cannon; 2,000 muskets; and their transport. The British loss was only 324. Gates fled to Hillsboro and vainly attempted to rally his demoralized army. On 2 December he was replaced by Nathanael Greene.
Many Americans fled to the swamps and mountains and carried on guerrilla warfare. Hoffman, Ronald, Thad W. Tate, and Peter J. Albert, eds. An Uncivil War: The Southern Backcountry during the American Revolution. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1985. Lumpkin, Henry. From Savannah to Yorktown: The American Revolution in the South. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1981. Pancake, John S. This Destructive War: The British Campaign in the Carolinas, 1780Б1782. University: University of Alabama Press, 1985. Nelson Vance Russell / a. r. See also ; Revolution, American: Military History ;.