The Battle of Hanging Rock was part of a campaign by militia General Thomas Sumter to harass or destroy British outposts in the South Carolina back-country that had been established after the fall of Charleston in May 1780. Future President Andrew Jackson (aged 13) and his brother Robert partook in the battle.
Sumter decided on a plan of attack of assaulting the camp in three mounted detachments. Early in the morning, the initial assault was made where Winn’s and Davie’s men completely routed Bryan’s corps. Capt. After presenting a volley, McCulloch’s company of the British Legion was also routed by Sumter’s riflemen. The Prince of Wales Regt. also came under heavy fire and suffered very severe losses. Part of the Prince of Wales Regt then came up and having cleverly deployed themselves in some woods, checked the rebel assault with a surprise crossfire. This allowed the British to draw up in a hollow square in the center of the cleared ground and further protect themselves with a three-pound cannon left by some of Rugeley’s Camden militia.
In the heat of the battle, Major Carden lost his nerve and surrendered his command to one of his junior officers. This was a major turning point for the Americans. At one point, Capt. Rousselet of the Legion infantry led a charge and forced many Sumter’s men back. Lack of ammunition made it impossible for Sumter to completely knock out the British. The battle raged for 3 hours without pause, causing many men to faint from the heat and thirst.
At the end, the British had lost 192 soldiers; the Americans lost 12 killed and 41 wounded. A group of Americans came across a storage of rum in the British camp and became so drunk they could not be brought back into the battle; thus, the intoxicated Americans left the field of battle and marched back to the base camp at Waxhaw.
The battle site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The American Battlefield Trust and its partners have acquired and preserved 139 acres (0.56 km2) of the battlefield.