SOUTH CAROLINA BEGINS THE SECOND WAR OF THE REVOLUTION, 1780
THE SITUATION in South Carolina after the fall of Charlestown could hardly have been gloomier for the Americans. The British had not only taken the capital but had virtually conquered the State. An appreciable proportion of the population viewed this situation with pleasure. The great majority of those feeling regret accepted it as inevitable. To the annihilation of their army was added the destruction of their civil government save for a peripatetic governor in headlong flight.
Clinton ordered three expeditions to the interior, one to hold Augusta, one Ninety Six, and one Camden. Lord Cornwallis dispatched Tarleton after Colonel Buford* who was retreating with Virginia Continentals whom he had intended for the relief of Charlestown. On May 29 Tarleton overtook Buford six miles south of the North Carolina line and eight miles east of the present town of Lancaster, and, when surrender was refused, attacked with such suddenness and fury as utterly to ruin his foe. After the Americans had surrendered, thrown down their arms, and begged for quarter, the British continued their slaughter. Only about 30 of the 350 Americans escaped capture, severe wounding, or death. The compassion stirred in the inhabitants who nursed the wounded and the cry of anguished rage that greeted the savagery throughout the State turned Tarleton's victory into a British disaster, for it planted in the hearts of thousands who had accepted renewed British rule the determination to expel a power which could be guilty of such cruelty.
James says that " Tarleton burnt the home of General Sumter near Stateburgh, and roused the spirit of the lion." The era now opening was for South Carolina her second war of Revolution. She had entered upon the first in resistance to unconstitutional taxation, made more irksome by other well-recognized grievances. She was driven into the second by Clinton's breach of his plighted faith of May 12, 1780, soon to be noticed, and the barbarity with which the arrogant conquerors expressed their contempt for beaten rebels. The folly with which British politicians precipitated the first Revolution was now paralleled by the stupid cruelty____________________