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Affidavit of Moses Cotter



SOUTH-CAROLINA, Ninety-Six District;

Personally appeared before me, Jason Mayson, one of His Majesty' s Justices of the Peace for the District aforesaid,


Moses Cotter, of the Congarees, wagoner, who, being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, makes oath and says, that on Tuesday morning last, at about nine o' clock, he left the Congarees, with his wagon, containing the ammunition that was delivered him in Charlestown by the honourable the Council of Safety, to carry to Keowee, under an escort of Colonel Thompson' s Rangers, consisting of Lieutenant-Colonel Charleton and Mr˙ Uriah Goodwin, a Cadet, two Sergeants, and eighteen privates, and continued on their journey there, without the least molestation or interruption, until about noon this day, when the deponent perceiving some men on horseback, ahead of the wagon, come towards him; a few minutes after, two of Patrick Cunningham' s men coming up to the deponent, and asking him what he had in his wagon, the deponent answered, rum. Then up came a large body of armed men, in number, I suppose, at least one hundred and fifty, headed by Patrick Cunningham and Jacob Bowman. Cunningham ordered his men to halt, and then came up to the deponent and said, "I order you to stop your wagon, in His Majesty' s name, as I understand you have ammunition for the Indians to kill us, and I am come on purpose to take it in His Majesty' s name." He then ordered the deponent to take off his wagon cloth, which he refused; upon which, Cunningham mounted the wagon himself, loosed the strings of the cloth, and took up a keg of the powder; "there," said he, "is what we are in search of." I immediately took the keg from him, and laid it in the wagon. Cunningham said, "it is in vain for you to attempt to hinder us from taking this ammunition, as you have no arms." Then he handed out every keg to his men, who were alongside the wagon, and prepared with bags to receive it; after they finished with the powder, he, with Messrs˙ Griffin and Owen, and several others, took out the lead, which they unfolded, cut into small pieces with their tomahawks, and distributed among the men. When the Rangers were at some little distance behind the wagon, and were riding up pretty fast, Cunningham' s party said, "there comes the liberty caps; damn their liberty caps, we will soon blow them to hell," and such like scurrilous language. Cunningham' s men, as soon as Lieutenant Charleton came up with his guard, retreated behind trees on the road side, and called out to him to stop, and not to advance one step further, otherwise they would blow out his brains; at the same time, a gun was fired by one of their men, but did no damage. Lieutenant Charleton, with his men, were soon surrounded by the opposite party, with their rifles presented, who said, "don' t move a step; deliver up your arms, otherwise we will immediately fire upon you." Lieutenant Charleton continued moving on, when Cunningham' s men marched up to him, with their rifles presented at him, and repeated, "deliver up your arms, without moving one step further, or you are a dead man." They then took his arms, together with his men' s; afterwards they tied Lieutenant Charleton, Mr˙ Goodwin, and William Witherford, a private, by their arms.

Lieutenant Charleton seemed very much displeased at their behaviour, and said he would rather have been shot than used in such a manner, had he expected it; that he did not value his own life; thought he had acted prudent by not ordering his men to fire on them, as it would be throwing away their lives without answering any good purpose, especially as their party were so numerous; that he was sorry to see them behave in such a base manner, and that he would very willingly turn out his party against twice the number of theirs, and give them battle. Cunningham and Bowman, some little time after, asked Lieutenant Charleton whether, if they were to unloose him, he would be upon his honour not to go off; to which he replied, "I scorn to run, and all your force cannot make me." They then marched off with the ammunition and the prisoners, as they called them, and left the deponent, desiring him to return to the Congarees; but as soon as they were out of


sight, he took a horse from out the wagon and came to Ninety-Six, to inform me of what had happened, and where he arrived this night, about eight o' clock. This unfortunate accident, of taking the ammunition, happened eighteen miles below Ninety-Six.


Sworn before me, this 3d of November, 1775.




* The Cherokee Indians, being deprived of their trade through the Southern Provinces, were in very bad humour, and we were very apprehensive of an Indian war; it was therefore proper they should be supplied with powder and ball for the hunting season, to enable them to procure skins for their support. The Council of Safety, therefore, to keep them in good temper, sent one thousand weight of powder, and lead in proportion, to be forwarded to them under an escort of Rangers; but Patrick Cunningham and Jacob Bowman, of Ninety-Six, at the head of a party of, Tories, intercepted and took away the ammunition. — Moultrie.