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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Kingstree in Williamsburg County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Lower Bridge: Take the Low Ground!

 
 
Lower Bridge: Take the Low Ground! Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anna Inbody, March 18, 2012
1. Lower Bridge: Take the Low Ground! Marker
Inscription. Over three weeks in March 1781, Brig. Gen. Francis Marion conducted a series of engagements between the Santee River and Georgetown, battering a larger force of British regulars and Loyalist militiamen under the command of Col. John Watson. This series of skirmishes is known as Watson’s Chase or the Bridges Campaign.

After clashes at Wiboo Swamp and Mount Hope Swamp, Marion continued moving east along the Santee towards Murray’s Ferry, thinking Watson would follow. But Watson turned north and made for the Lower Bridge over the Black River, with Kingstree just beyond. Marion and his men moved quickly to get to the Lower Bridge first. When Watson arrived at the high bluffs of the south bank (across the river), he found the bridge partially destroyed and Marion’s men arrayed against him on the low, swampy ground of the north bank (on this side of the river).

In most battles, the high ground is the best tactical position. But in this case, when Watson sent his artillery forward, the artillerymen could not lower their guns far enough to hit their opponents below. As Marion’s expert riflemen picked off his artillerymen, Watson withdrew to the Witherspoon plantation nearby. Baffled at the defeat, Watson reportedly said to his unwilling Whig hostess: “I have never seen such shooting before in my life.”
 
Erected
Overview image. Click for full size.
By Anna Inbody, March 18, 2012
2. Overview
2012 by Francis Marion Trail Commission of Francis Marion University.
 
Location. 33° 35.255′ N, 79° 49.043′ W. Marker is near Kingstree, South Carolina, in Williamsburg County. Marker is on Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. (State Highway 377) half a mile north of Thorntree Road (State Highway S45-143). Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Kingstree SC 29556, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battle Of Lower Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Burrows's Service Station / Cooper's Country Store (approx. half a mile away); McClary Cemetery (approx. 3.9 miles away); Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (approx. 5.3 miles away); Thurgood Marshall, J.D. (approx. 5.3 miles away); Old Muster Ground and Courthouse (approx. 5.3 miles away); Williamsburg County Confederate Monument (approx. 5.3 miles away); Williamsburgh (approx. 5.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Kingstree.
 
Categories. War, US Revolutionary
 
Drawing on the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anna Inbody, March 18, 2012
3. Drawing on the Marker
Thwarted by British cannons in previous engagements, Marion used the terrain at Lower Bridge so that McCottry’s Rifles, a group of expert marksmen from the Williamsburg area, could eliminate Watson’s artillerymen.
Map on the marker image. Click for full size.
By Anna Inbody, March 18, 2012
4. Map on the marker
The location of the Lower Bridge across the Black River ~ with one of several Witherspoon properties in the area ~ from Mills‘ Atlas (1825)
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anna Inbody of Columbia, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 492 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Anna Inbody of Columbia, South Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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