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Extract of a Letter to a Gentleman in London



The Province of South-Carolina is involved in all the horrours of a civil war. Colonel Robert Cunningham, a very considerable planter in the back settlements, being suspected of attachment to the King' s cause, was seized by a party sent in the disguise of Indian traders from Charlestown, by the Committee of Safety, and closely confined in the common jail of that Town. Mr˙ Patrick Cunningham, brother to the Colonel, having collected together the tenants and dependants of their family, seized some powder and shot belonging to the Committee, and, erecting the royal standard, declared for His Majesty and Great Britain, against all Rebels and their abetters. The Committee, in the mean time, ordered three detachments of their Army to march from different quarters, and to disperse the insurgents. A Colonel Williamson, with twelve hundred men, first arriving, took possession of a stockade fort, where he was instantly besieged by Cunningham, with his party. Williamson having remained confined for two days in the fort, destitute of provisions and water, was forced to sally with his men on the third day; but they were attacked by Cunningham, in the attempt, and totally dispersed. The Committee-men made so good use of their heels, that only twenty-five were killed in the flight, for fight there was none.



* Major Andrew Williamson, who had the command of the Militia at Ninety-Six, went in pursuit of the party [under Patrick Cunningham and John Bowman] that seized the powder, but was obliged to retreat before superior numbers. In a letter from him to the Council of Safety, he informed them that he had had an action with the insurgents, under Major Robertson, for three days and three nights, without refreshments, in his fortified camp at Ninety-Six, and was reduced at last to the necessity of making a treaty with them; and, at their own request, they agreed to a suspension of hostilities for twenty days, with liberty for each party to send despatches, unsealed, to their superiors, informing them of their situation. At this time, Colonels Richardson and Thompson were marching to form a junction to relieve Williamson. Of this the insurgents were informed, which induced them to agree to a suspension of hostilities. They had, by some means or other, kept up an intercourse with Lord William Campbell, who encouraged them to oppose us, by promises of great rewards; they were also instigated by Pearis, who had much influence in Ninety-Six District. The Congress was determined to send an army among them, but first sent out by authority this Declaration. — Motrftrie.