Waxhaws: Blood in the Backcountry

By W. Richardson and S. Folks

On May 29, 1780, Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion caught up with Colonel Abraham Buford’s army at a place called “The Waxhaws” in the Catawba River valley, located four miles south of the North Carolina border. Over in fifteen minutes and with 113 Americans dead on the field, this massacre became the first major battle of the Southern Campaign.

The Battle of Waxhaws was a turning point in the American Revolutionary War, but not for reasons the British might have hoped. Their intent was to make the backcountry colonists feel the “heel of the boot.” But instead of disheartening the opposition, “Buford’s Massacre” rallied patriot support. Many patriots who had previously surrendered rejoined the fight, determined to repay the harshness of “Tarleton’s quarter” with a vengeance of their own. 

View classroom media resources on SCETV's Knowitall.org and download lesson plans from SCETV’s LearningWhy.org.

Funding and support for the production is provided by The National Park Service, The Self Family Foundation, The George Washington Endowment Fund of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, The South Carolina State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and a contribution from Dr. Charles B. Hanna.

Return to the SCETV Southern Campaign page.