In 1970, the Virginia Independence Bicentennial Commission published "The Cornwallis Papers, Abstracts of Americana", compiled by George H. Reese. It provides an excellent resume of the waning years of General Lord Cornwallis' military campaigns in the Southern Colonies just before his fateful move to Yorktown, Virginia, where he surrendered his army. However, in the winter of 1780-81, his forces were spread out in North and South Carolina, attempting to trap and destroy the American units under Generals Gates, Greene, Marion and Morgan. The British had inflicted a near fatal blow in August 1780, when they caused the American army in Charleston to surrender. In the same month, they had defeated the American forces under General Gates at the Battle of Camden, and General Washington replaced Gates with Greene. Lord Cornwallis moved his headquarters to the town of Winnsboro, South Carolina, in October 1780, from which he sent a constant stream of orders to his subordinates, Lt. Cols. Rawdon and Tarleton, who were operating independently against units of the American army.
From January 8 to January 13, 1781, Lord Cornwallis and his staff's headquarters were located at McAllister's Plantation, in the Winnsboro area of South Carolina. Winnsboro is now the seat of Fairfield County, but in 1781, it was located in the Camden District, one of the original nine districts of South Carolina. It is not known whether the British were the guests of the McAllister family which owned the plantation, or had just moved in, as was the custom in those days. Shortly after Lord Cornwallis moved on to Harding's Plantation, on January 15, 1781, General Daniel Morgan almost wiped out Tarleton's force at The Cowpens, in a battle of tactical perfection. In fact, General Morgan used the "double envelopment" maneuver, similar to that employed by Hannibal against the Roman Army at Cannae, in 216 BC.
The disaster at The Cowpens infuriated Cornwallis, who tried for the remainder of 1781 to find and defeat Generals Greene and Morgan. He moved into North Carolina, then into Virginia, fighting the colonists. The American Army lost some battles, but won the war at Yorktown on October 19, 1781.
Years ago, one of the original members of the Clan McAlister of America mentioned that family research in the Carolinas should be approached with caution, since so many of them were loyalists. As a general rule, Scottish settlers in the eastern Carolinas did include a number of families who remained loyal to King George III, but most of the western families, or "up country" people, joined the revolution against the British. But my question now relates to the family which owned McAllister's Plantation, near Winnsboro, South Carolina. Does any CMA member "claim" them, as we say in North Carolina, or does anyone know who they were? It would be fascinating if there was in existence a diary, or a contemporary newspaper account of Cornwallis' visit in January 1781.