Regimental Standard of the Third Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons
also known as
The Eutaw Standard of Colonel William Washington’s Third Legionary Corps
The standard of pink damask, originally crimson. Judging by Davis’ photograph, the flag measures about 18 inches square, fringe included. There is a sleeve for a staff or, more properly termed, a “lance.” In Davis’ photograph, there appears to be a reinforcement of heavy cross-stitching or netting.
According to family tradition, Miss Jane Elliot, daughter of Colonel Elliot of sandy Hill Plantation near Charleston, cut the flag material from the back of a dining room chair when her fiancée, Colonel William Washington told her his regiment was without a standard. That was in the Spring of 1780.
Lieutenant colonel William Washington, who warned Miss Elliot that the British were coming, was the third cousin of George. He was initially Captain of the Third Virginia Regiment of 1776 and was wounded at Brooklyn and Trenton. He joined the dragoons in 1778 and assumed command of the Third Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons (of 1777) after Colonel George Baylor was seriously wounded at Old Tappan, New Jersey, September 27, 1778.
The regiment lost heavily in the southern campaign of 1780-81. After the battle of Camden, August 1780, the remaining men of the 1st, 3rd and 4th light dragoon detachments were combined under Colonel Washington and served at Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, Hobkirk Hill (the second Battle of Camden) and Eutaw Springs. The combined unit was designated the 3rd Legionary Corps in 1781, according to Berg. This Corps fought the final pitched battle of the war in September 1781 at Eutaw Springs, South Carolina, where Colonel Washington was wounded and taken prisoner. Lee wrote that "...Baylor's regiment of horse, with Kirkwood's infantry of Delaware, composed the reserve led by Lieutenant Colonel Washington."
The battle was marked by headlong charges by the North and South Carolina militia, state troops and Continentals. The British were driven back about a mile from their camp. The Americans stopped to force some Britishers out of a brick house and to plunder their camp. This gave the British a chance to reform and drive the Americans back. After the battle the British retired within their lines at Charleston.
At Eutaw Springs, some of the Americans were soo poor in clothing, they went into battle naked, according to General Nathaniel Greene's report. Greene was awarded a Gold Medal for his victory at Eutaw Springs. Colonel Washington was voted a silver medal by Congress for his leadership of the dragoons at Cowpens. And his regimental standard is linked to romance: he married Miss Elliot in 1782 and settled in Charleston.
Standards and Colors of the American Revolution
Edward W. Richardson
The University of Pennsylvania Press & The Pennsylvania Society Sons of the Revolution and its Color Guard
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