For more than a century, historians have largely been guessing as to the exactly location of the Battle of Huck’s Defeat during the Revolutionary War.
But Thursday, the Cultural & Heritage Museums of York County say they now know the exact location of the 1780 battle in York County.
Huck’s Defeat, or the Battle of Williamson’s Plantation as it is also known, was an important battle fought in the South Carolina backcountry during the American Revolution. It was the first defeat of British regular army troops by the backcountry patriot militia after the British captured Charleston in May of 1780. Huck’s Defeat set the stage for the larger and more significant patriot victories that followed in South Carolina at Kings Mountain and Cowpens.
Huck’s Defeat takes its name from Captain Christian Huck, the British cavalry commander who was defeated and killed on July 12, 1780 by patriot militiamen under the command of Colonel William Bratton and other local officers.
The battle took place around the home of James Williamson, an early settler who lived on the South Fork of Fishing Creek near the present day town of McConnells. The sites of James Williamson’s eighteenth century plantation and the Huck’s Defeat battlefield are both now part of the 775 acres that comprise Historic Brattonsville.
Descendants of the Bratton and the Williamson families remembered that the battle took place about a quarter of a mile southeast of the Colonel William Bratton House.
Beginning in 2006, the Culture & Heritage Museums undertook a series of detailed archaeological studies to locate the site of the battle and the Williamson plantation. Using early accounts of the battle and nineteenth century maps as guides, historian Michael Scoggins and archeologists from the South Carolina Institute of Archeology and Anthropology discovered dozens of rifle and musket balls as well as buttons, buckles, horseshoes, household utensils and even the pommel of an eighteenth century officer’s sword.
Research for pinpointing the location of the battlefield and the plantation was supported by two grants from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program in 2009 and 2011.
The National Park Service also commissioned the Culture & Heritage Museums to nominate the battlefield for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and to create an interpretive plan that will open the battlefield and the Williamson plantation site to the general public.