SUMTER, THOMAS (1736-1832), American soldier, was born in Hanover county, Virginia, on the 14th of July 1736. He served in the Virginia militia during the French and Indian War and was present at Braddock's defeat (1755). Some time after 1762 he removed to South Carolina. He is best known for his service during the War of Independence, but he saw little active service until after the fall of Charleston in May 1780. In July 1780 he became a brigadier-general of state troops. During the remainder of the war he carried on a partisan campaign, and earned the sobriquet of the " Gamecock." He failed in an attack upon Rocky Mount (Chester county) on the 1st of August 1780, but on the 6th defeated 500 Loyalists and regulars at Hanging Rock (Lancaster county), and on the 15th intercepted and defeated a convoy with stores between Charleston and Camden. His own regiment, however, was almost annihilated by Lieut.-Colonel Banastre Tarleton (1754-1833) at Fishing Creek (Chester county) on the 18th. A new force was soon recruited, with which he defeated Major James Wemys at Fishdam (Union county) on the night of the Sth-pth of November, and repulsed Tarleton's attack at Blackstock (Union county) on the 20th, when he was wounded. In January 1781 Congress formally thanked him for his services. He was a member of the state convention which ratified the Federal constitution for South Carolina in 1788, he himself opposing that instrument; of the national House of Representatives in 1780-1793 and again in 1797-1801, and of the United States Senate from 1801 to 1810. At the time of his death at South Mount, South Carolina, on the 1st of June 1832, he was the last surviving general officer of the War of Independence.
See Edward McCrady, The History of South Carolina in the Revolution (2 vols., New York, 1901-1902).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)