What Was the "Ring Fight?"

Know the answer to that one, and you'll be one up on most South Carolinians, both native and newcomer!

In Summer 1779, at the mid-point of the American Revolution, then-Col. Andrew Pickens and his colonial militiamen were returning to their Up Country homes from the defeat at Stono Ferry. In the Tamassee Creek valley of what is now Oconee County, they were surrounded by hostile Cherokees, who were allied with the British.

Pickens, the quick-thinking "Fighting Elder," averted anihilation by setting a nearby cane brake aflame. The sections of each cane stalk, filling with steam, exploded with a noise like musket fire. Believing reinforcements had arrived and were falling upon them from outside their "ring" of attack, the hostiles fled.

The "Ring Fight" is noted by a monument near Tamassee, in the mountains Native Americans once called the "Great Blue Hills of God."

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