Musgrove Mill was not owned by our branch of Musgrove’s, who lived in New Jersey and Pennsylvania then. I have no evidence any of our other ancestors were with the Whigs/Colonists or the Loyalists/Tories at the Battle of Musgrove Mill, but some South Carolina men were there. I’m including this information because of our shared family name.
On August 18, 1780, 200 mounted Patriots under joint command of Colonels Isaac Shelby, James Williams and Elijah Clarke raided a Loyalist camp at Musgrove’s Mill, which controlled the local grain supply and guarded a ford of the Enoree River.
The Battle of Musgrove Mill, August 19, 1780, occurred near the present day border between Spartanburg, Laurens and Union Counties in South Carolina. During the course of the battle, 200 Patriot militiamen defeated a force of about 300 Loyalist militiamen and 200 provincial regulars.
Using frontier tactics, a band of about twenty men under Captain Shadrach Inman crossed the Enoree and engaged the enemy. Faking confusion, they retreated until the Loyalists were nearly on the Patriot line. The surprised Loyalists fired too early. The Patriots held their fire until the Loyalists got within killing range of their muskets.
The whole battle took about an hour with the Patriots shrieking Indian war cries. Sixty three Tories were killed and seventy were taken prisoner. The Patriots lost only four dead, including Captain Inman. With General Horatio Gate’s recent defeat at Camden, the victory at Musgrove Mill heartened the Patriots and served as further evidence the South Carolina backcountry could not be held by the Tories.
Shelby and men crossed back over the Appalachian Mountains and into the area of present day Elizabethton, Tennessee. By the next month, Colonels Shelby, John Sevier, and Charles McDowell and their 600 men had joined forces with Col. William Campbell and his 400 Virginia men in advance of the October 7, 1780, Battle of Kings Mountain near present day Blacksburg, South Carolina.
The Musgrove Mill battlefield has been preserved as the Musgrove Mill State Historic Site, the newest unit of the South Carolina park system. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- “Knox, James Knox, Sr. and Elizabeth Craig Knox and their Descendants,” compiled by Lorene K. Petersen and Jennie Bell Lyle, 1984 for much of the material in this Knox section.
- Wikipedia for the Battle of Musgrove Mill material.
Copyright 2013 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho