Prelude to Battle: Fisher’s Crossing

Traffic Jam, circa 1780! Major General De Kalb (in blue) and one of his subordinates (in hunting shirt) argue over who has the right of way as two roads converge in Catawba Town. Arguing with your superior officer is not conducive to career advancement. (click or double click all pictures to enlarge).

The next battle in our South Carolina 1780 Campaign is a medium sized affair with 8SPs for De Kalb’s Continental army and 7SPs for Colonel Webster’s British army. An SP, or „strength point“, represents one unit of infantry or cavalry.  The battle will be fought at a place called Fisher’s Crossing in the northeastern part of the state of South Carolina.

De Kalb had crossed the Catawba River, bearing south back towards Winnsboro, the site of his defeat  two months ago. However, when he receives reports that Webster is marching fast towards him, he retires back across to the north bank of the Catawba River.  He has selected a good defensive position with the Catawba River to his front and a low ridge on which he can deploy his army. The ridge also provides „dead ground“ that De Kalb can use to hide most of his army from the British line of sight from their likely position across the river at Fisher’s Crossing.
The table runs north (bottom of the picture) to south (top of the picture) divided by the Catawba River in the middle of the table. The Americans are posted along the north bank of the river and the British are approaching along the two roads at the top of the picture that converge at a Y-intersection known by the locals as Fisher’s Crossing.
The rest of the story will be told view the picture captions.
A view of the battle field. Catawba Town is seen at the bottom of the picture with the road heading south across the Catawba River at a place called Fisher’s Crossing. The little town of Fisher’s Crossing lies at the Y-shaped intersection at the top of the picture. (Click or double click on all pictures to enlarge the view).

Fisher’s Crossing – it seems rather quiet for now…

The Catawba River. De Kalb’s Continental army will be posted on the left, attacked by Webster’s British, advancing from the right to the left.
The bridge over the Catawba, looking back towards Fisher’s Crossing.

Catawba Town, where De Kalb has set up his headquarters.

One of the approach roads into Catawba Town

The town center where everything happens in this part of the world. The building with the dormers is The Swan tavern.
American dragoons move into Fisher’s Crossing on a scouting mission.
American dragoons are waiting to see if the he British are coming.

Indeed, they are coming – a squadron of the 16th Light Dragoons skirmishes with elements of the 1st Continental Dragoons in the middle of the town.
A supporting squadron of Baylor’s 3rd Continental Dragoons moves forward, led by Colonel William Washington (on the rearing horse).
The Continental army moves through Catawba Town on its way to the front lines. That is General Baron De Kalb on the left ordering one of his subordinates to give way so that the Maryland Brigade can pass through.

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