Thomas Sumter


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Thomas SumterSumter, Thomas, military officer; born in Virginia in 1734; was a volunteer in the French and Indian War, and was present at Braddock's defeat in 1755. In March, 1776, he became lieutenant-colonel of a South Carolina regiment of riflemen, and was stationed in the interior of the State to overawe the Indians and Tories. After the fall of Charleston in 1780, Sumter hid in the swamps of the Santee; and when his State was ravaged by the British, he retreated to North Carolina, where he raised a larger force than he could arm, and with these he fought and defeated a British force at Hanging Rock, and totally routed a British force on the Catawba (July 12, 1780), but was afterwards (August 18) surprised and defeated at Fishing Creek by Tarleton. He soon raised another corps and repulsed Colonel Wemyss near the Broad River (November 12), and at Blackstocks defeated Tarleton, who attempted to surprise him. So vigilant and brave was Sumter that the British called him the "South Carolina Game-cock." Raising three regiments, with Marion and Perkins he dreadfully harassed the British and Tories in South Carolina. He received the thanks of Congress, January 13, 1781. Cornwallis, writing to Tarleton, said of him, "He certainly has been our greatest plague in this country." He captured the British post at Orangeburg (May, 1781), and soon afterwards those at Dorchester and Monk's Corner. General Sumter was a warm friend of the national Constitution, and was member of Congress under it in 1789-93, and again in 1797-1801. He was United States Senator in 1801-10, when he was appointed United States minister to Brazil. He died at South Mount, near Camden, South Carolina, June 1, 1832.



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