SC Turn 7: Cornwallis vs. Gates at Cheraw

Turn 7 Map Moves. Click to enlarge.

The Main Event: Cornwallis versus Gates at Cheraw
Well, we finally have the match that all of the civilized world has been waiting for: a battle between Horatio Gates and Lord Cornwallis at the town of Cheraw, along the Pee Dee River. Hopefully, Cornwallis won’t make the same mistake that Webster did by attacking an American army in a defensive position on the other side of a river. I doubt that this will happen.
Gates Makes a Tactical Blunder
On the other hand, it looks as if Gates could be in a serious pickle because not only does he have to engage Cornwallis in battle, but also, Tarleton is probably going to capture the Rebel supply base at Hillsboro, North Carolina, which is only three dots behind Gates. Thus, should Gates lose this battle, he would lose an additional SP for retreating, be out of supply with Tarleton in Winnsboro, and  have nowhere to retreat, possibly haveing his whole army captured by Cornwallis.
The Undercard in the Match
But wait, there’s more!
DeKalb marched west from Catawba Town with 6SPs headed directly towards the British fort at Ninety Six. He has been reinforced by 2SPs from Sumter’s force that was based in Augusta, Georgia. Also, the Rebel garrison at Fort Charlotte, just west of Ninety Six, has marched to join DeKalb’s army, So with all three forces converging on Ninety Six, DeKalb will have an army of 9SPs surrounding Cruger’s garrison of 3SPs. I will have to check my siege rules, but I think that a 3:1 advantage for the besiegers results in an automatic capitulation by the garrison. An American victory at Ninety Six would open up the whole string of British forts along the Santee River (Forts Granby, Motte and Watson) to DeKalb’s army. Perhaps he could even make a move on the main British supply base at Camden, while Cornwallis is cavorting around in North Carolina, or even take the ultimate prize of Charleston.
Cornwallis is not Stupid
Lord Cornwallis left a small garrison of 3SPs at Camden while he took 8SPs with him to chase down Gates‘ army at Cheraw. In case things turned out badly for him, he ordered Rawdon to march from Charleston with a force of 4SPs and head for Camden. Rawdon will only make it as far as Nelson’s Ferry on this turn, but by Turn 8 he will arrive in Camden and thus increase the force at Camden to 7SPs. Leaving Charleston garrisoned with 1SP carries some risk, so Stewart is transporting a force of 4SPs from Savannah, Georgia to replace the same number of SPs that are marching to Camden with Rawdon. This leaves only 2SPs in Savannah, under the command of Archibald Campbell, but there are no direct routes for any of the Rebel forces to close in on Savannah, at this moment.

Where Are the Partisans?

Once again, there was no Partisan Uprising in South Carolina, so we are still awaiting the activation of Thomas Pinckney’s forces. Sumter sent two of his three SPs from Augusta to Ninety Six to assist DeKalb in taking that important fort.

Meanwhile, we still have Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox roaming around in the Tidewater region with 3SPs. After his failure to bluff the Georgetown garrison into surrendering, he fell back to Kingston. While he did not capture Georgetown, the mere threat of his doing so resulting in his tying down of 4SPs that could certainly come in handy for the British army elsewhere. You will note on the campaign map that one of the roads is a dotted line rather than a solid line. Only irregular partisans can travel over these roads whereas the regulars have to use the main roads.

Time Table for the Turn 7 Battles
I expect to lay out the terrain for the battle at Cheraw within the next couple of days with the aim of solo gaming it over next weekend. Ninety Six will follow the main event at Cheraw. This could end up being the most significant turn of the campaign for either side, based on the outcome of the battles.

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