Who was General Isaac Huger?
Isaac Huger was a prominent military officer during the American Revolutionary War. He served as a lieutenant colonel and colonel of the South Carolina Continental Line before becoming a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. Huger fought in many of the significant battles with the Southern Army. He opposed the invasion of Georgia by General Archibald Campbell, led the Georgia Militia and South Carolina Militia in the unsuccessful attack on Savannah, and was involved in the battles of Stono Ferry and Hobkirk’s Hill, where he was severely wounded. Huger later joined the army under the command of Major General Nathanael Greene and led Virginians at the battle of Guilford Court House. He retired from the military following the battle. Huger died on October 17, 1797.
Isaac Huger Quick Facts
- Isaac Huger was born on March 19, 1743, at Limerick Plantation in South Carolina, to a wealthy Huguenot merchant and planter, Daniel Huger, and Mary Cordes.
- He received his education in Europe and started his military career as an officer in Colonel Thomas Middleton’s Provincial South Carolina Regiment during the expedition against the Cherokees in 1761.
- Huger served as a representative for the parishes of St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s in the First Provincial Congress and was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in the South Carolina militia and the First South Carolina Regiment in 1775, afterward, he was named colonel of the Fifth South Carolina Regiment.
History of Isaac Huger
Isaac Huger was an important officer during the American Revolutionary War. Huger was born in 1743 in South Carolina and received his early education in Europe. He returned home and started his military career during the Cherokee War of 1760. After the American Revolutionary War started out in April 1775, he was elected to the South Carolina Provincial Congress, and because of his prior military experience, was appointed as lieutenant colonel of the 1st South Carolina Continental Infantry in June 1775, and later as colonel of the 5th Regiment in September 1776.
Capture of Savannah
Huger was initially posted with General Robert Howe at Savannah and tasked with defending the city from the British. However, the British attack on Savannah saw Howe’s encampment at Fairlawn Plantation overrun by British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell on December 29, 1778. Huger put up a strong resistance, assisted by Colonel Samuel Elbert, but was outflanked and defeated. Afterward, Huger was promoted to brigadier general on January 9, 1779, and assigned to a new army assembled under General Benjamin Lincoln.
Huger helped pursue the retreating forces of General Augustin Prevost out of Georgia and fought valiantly during the attack at Stono Ferry on June 20, 1779. During this maneuver, Huger led the left wing of the American forces but was severely injured.
Siege of Savannah
After recovering, he accompanied Lincoln throughout the Siege of Savannah and commanded the Georgia and South Carolina militia during the assault of October 9, 1779.
Battle of Monck’s Corner
During the British Siege of Charleston in the spring of 1780, Huger was stationed outside the city at Monck’s Corner. As General Henry Clinton extended his siege lines, Monck’s Corner became the only route for men and supplies into the city. On April 14, 1780, Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton attacked Huger and Colonel William Washington in their camp. Tarleton surprised them and scattered both Huger’s cavalry and infantry in a single charge. The defeat at the Battle of Monck’s Corner started Tarleton’s infamous career in the South and sealed Charleston’s fate.
Battle of Waxhaws and Buford’s Massacre
Huger ordered forces under Colonel Abraham Buford to retreat to Hillsborough, North Carolina while gathering all available supplies en route. However, Tarleton pursued and defeated Buford’s troops at the Battle of Waxhaws on May 29, 1780.
Hobkirk’s Hill and Guilford Court House
Despite the disaster at Monck’s Corner, Huger continued to serve in the new army that was assembled by General Nathanael Greene. Huger led the 4th and 5th Virginia Continentals at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781. He was wounded in the battle but recovered in time to command the American right wing at the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill on April 15, 1781. Huger and the 5th Virginia Continentals were able to stop an attack by Lieutenant Colonel Francis Rawdon, which saved the American Army.
Later Years and Death
Following the war, Huger was elected to the South Carolina General Assembly and became Vice President of the South Carolina Society of the Cincinnati. He died in Charleston on October 17, 1797.
Significance of Isaac Huger
Isaac Huger is important to United States history for the role he played in the American Revolutionary War as a commander of militia and Continental forces at several key battles, including Guilford Court House.
The Five Huger Brothers
Huger was one of five brothers to serve as soldiers or politicians in support of the Patriot Cause. Including Isaac, they were:
- Daniel Huger
- Isaac Huger
- John Huger
- Benjamin Huger
- Francis Huger
Daniel Huger (1742–1799)
Daniel Huger was the eldest of the Huger brothers and served in the South Carolina Assembly from 1773 to 1775. Huger was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1786 to 1788 and served as a representative to Congress from 1789 to 1793.
John Huger (1744–1804)
John Huger was the third eldest of the Huger brothers and served as a junior officer, along with his brother Isaac, in the Cherokee expedition of 1761. In 1776 and 1777, he served as a militia captain in the early days of the Revolution. Later, under the new state constitution, Huger became South Carolina’s first Secretary of State.
Benjamin Huger (1746–1779)
Benjamin Huger was a militia officer and the fourth eldest of the Huger brothers. He was a member of the assembly and the Provincial Congress of 1775. He served as lieutenant of the Fourth South Carolina Artillery on June 17, 1775, and was promoted to major of his brother Isaac’s Fifth South Carolina Rifles on September 16, 1776. Unfortunately, Huger was accidentally killed by friendly fire at Charleston on May 11, 1779.
Francis Huger (1751–1811)
Francis Huger, the youngest of the Huger brothers, was a militia officer from South Carolina. He became a captain in the Second South Carolina Continentals on June 17, 1775, when the unit was organized under Colonel William Moultrie. Huger served under Moultrie in the famous defense of Charleston on June 28, 1776. In 1777, he was named lieutenant colonel and quartermaster general of the Southern Department but resigned in 1778.