sumter, thomas

Sumter, Thomas (1734-1832) General: Sumter served in the Virginia militia and was a captain of the South Carolina Rangers before the Revolutionary War broke out. In 1775 and 1776, he was both a representative to the First and Second South Carolina Provincial Congresses and captain of the South Carolina Rangers. During the war, he was a Brigadier General of the South Carolina militia, and was the most prominent person to refuse to submit to British occupation in 1780. Those who has opened guerilla resistance elected him general. Although he suffered losses as well as victories in his early battles, he was skilled in keeping men on the battle field. Governor John Rutledge appointed him Brigadier General in command of all state militia. His troops were crushed by Banastre Tarleton at Fishing Creek in 1780, but fought back strongly at Blackstocks three months later. Sumter had difficulties subordinating himself to Continental Army commanders, and eventually shared military leadership with two other partisan leaders, Francis Marion and Andrew Pickens. Called "Gamecock," Sumter was known as a pugnacious individual. He became famous for "Sumter's Law," which raised ten-month regulars and paid them with slaves and other booty.