On this day in 1780, American Brigadier General Daniel Morgan detaches a force of approximately 275 troops commanded by Colonel William Washington to destroy a force of 250 British Loyalists under the command of Colonel Thomas Waters, who had been terrorizing Patriots in the vicinity of Fairforest Creek, on Bush River, South Carolina.
Hammonds Store was a blacksmith’s shop and trading post in what became Laurens County, northeast of Mountville, in the district of Fort Ninety-Six. Colonel Washington, a cousin of General George Washington, surprised the Loyalists and Redcoats camping at the store. American forces killed or wounded 150 British Loyalists and captured 40 prisoners during the four-day siege without incurring any losses of their own. The Patriots consisted of 75 dragoons (cavalry on horseback) under Washington’s direct command and 200 members of the South Carolina militia under Lieutenant Colonels Joseph Hayes and James McCall.
The area around Hammonds Store had seen its first European settler less than 30 years before. The ensuing Cherokee War of 1760-1761 had rendered the western Carolinas an area of ungovernable violence throughout the 1760s, with factional allegiances continuing to color settlers’ politics during the revolution. In an area where murder, rape and plunder had been par for the course for 20 years, the violence at Hammonds Store seemed comparatively mild.
After their resounding victory, the Patriots burned the store. The exact location of the store has since been lost to time.