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American Revolution: Siege of Fort Motte (1781)

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  • Col. Isaac Motte (1738 - 1795)
    Isaac Motte was born Dec. 8, 1738 in Charleston, South Carolina and died May 8, 1795 in Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America. He is buried in Saint Philips Episcopal Church Cemetery, Ch...
  • Maj. Gen. Henry Lee, "Light Horse Harry", Governor of Virginia (1756 - 1818)
    . Gen. Henry Lee III "Light Horse Harry" (1756–1818), Governor of Virginia. Lee III married:#Matilda Lee (1766–1790), daughter of Hon. Philip Ludwell Lee, Sr., Esq. (1727–1775) and Elizabeth Steptoe (1...
  • Brig. Gen. Francis Marion, "The Swamp Fox" (1732 - 1795)
    Francis "The Swamp Fox" Marion was born in St. John's Parish, Berkeley County, South Carolina in 1732, and died on 27 Feb 1795 at his brother's plantation on Belle Island (Belle Island Plantation Cemet...
  • Rebecca Motte (1737 - 1815)
    A Patriot of the American Revolution for SOUTH CAROLINA. DAR Ancestor #: A082263 She allowed her house to be burned to expel British soldiers. See story below. Rebecca Brewton was born in June 15, 1737...

The Siege of Fort Motte was a military operation during the American Revolutionary War. A force of Patriot (American Revolution)|Patriots led by General Francis Marion|Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion and Lt. Colonel Henry Lee III|"Light Horse" Harry Lee set out to capture the Kingdom of Great Britain|British post at Fort Motte, strategically located at the confluence of the Congaree River|Congaree and Wateree Rivers. The fort was not much more than a mansion owned by the Motte family, but was garrisoned by roughly 175 British soldiers under Lt. Daniel McPherson.

Marion and Lee learned that Lord Rawdon was retreating towards Fort Motte in the aftermath of the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill. The Americans forces invested the place on May 8 and wished to capture the fort before Rawdon arrived. Two days later, Marion called for the British to surrender and McPherson refused. The next day, Colonel Lee informed Mrs. Motte that he intended to burn the mansion down to force the British out. On May 12, 1781, the American forces had entrenched themselves close enough to the mansion they were able to hit the roof with flaming arrows. Mrs Motte, a Patriot, not only accepted Lee's plan, but offered up her own set of bow and arrows. Marion's artillery fire added to the desperation of the British and, by one o'clock that afternoon, Lt. McPherson surrendered the garrison to the Patriots.


Date May 8–12, 1781 Location Fort Motte, South Carolina Result American victory