From:                              Louise Pettus []

Sent:                               Saturday, November 05, 2011 9:12 PM

To:                                   Bill Anderson; Lindsay Pettus

Subject:                          Cornwallis in York County


                                                                        CORNWALLIS WAS HERE


            When one thinks of Lord Cornwallis, commander of British forces in the Southern Colonies during the American Revolution, one thinks of Yorktown, because that is the way the history books have conditioned us to think. What historians ordinarily fail to tell us is that Cornwallis on two occasions camped in York County.

            After the defeat of the British at King's Mountain on October 7, 1780, Cornwallis evacuated Charlotte and retreated to Winnsboro. When he reached Nation Ford on the Catawba River, he found the river swollen. Unable to cross, he camped at Thomas Spratt's on the Nation Ford Road. The British treated the Spratt family civilly although they killed nineteen cows, consumed a large quantity of corn, and burned all the fences for firewood. While they were there, a British deserter was hanged on a cherry tree and left swinging in the wind when the army left. After about a week the river was still swollen; so Cornwallis proceeded to Lands Ford, where he was able to cross.

            In January 1781, Cornwallis was again in York County. From the 16th through the 19th of that month he camped on the plantation of William Hilhouse on the western side of Turkey Creek. While Cornwallis remained there to grind corn, the British under Banastre Tarleton were defeated at the Battle of Cowpens on January 17. When Tarleton reported the loss to Cornwallis, the general was furious and swore that he would retake the rebels whatever the cost. When so speaking, he was learning so heavily on his sword that it broke in two. Cornwallis immediately broke camp and entered upon his second invasion of North Carolina. Poor Hilhouse later wrote that the British stripped him of all his possessions except the land, which they could not destroy.


Source: Tales of York County, by Samuel Brooks Mendenhall.  Privately Printed, 1989. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 89-062730. Printed in the U. S. A. by Reynolds & Reynolds Printing, Inc., 

Rock Hill, S. C.


20) Hillhouse Plantation was located on Turkey Creek in southern York County, SC on Orr Road (the old Quinn Road) and just south of modern SC 322. It is unmarked and on private property. In January 1781 Lord Cornwallis left his winter camp at Winnsboro to move north to support Tarleton's detachment headed towards Cowpens. He crossed modern Chester County and camped at Hillhouse Plantation on January 16-19, 1781. Lord Cornwallis was waiting on news from Tarleton on Gen. Daniel Morgan's detachment (and there he got news of Tarleton's defeat at Cowpens on January 17, 1781) and for Gens. Alexander Leslie and Charles O'Hara to catch-up with him with reinforcements. (appended to Hillhouse's pension application)