American forces under General Horatio Gates faced a larger force of British soldiers under the leadership of General Charles Cornwallis at this location on August 16, 1780. Many of Gates' troops had not yet been trained, leading to a rout of Gates' force and a major defeat of the Continental Army. The British victory affirmed their control of the Carolinas.
British forces under Lord Cornwallis were expanding their control of the South, but American forces hoped to counter this trend under the leadership of General Horatio Gates, considered by many Americans as a hero following his victory at Saratoga. Gates marched his men towards Camden and although his 3,000 men outnumbered the British, they had not been properly trained and many had not participated in a major battle. When Lord Cornwallis learned of the movements by Gates, he countered Gates by moving reinforcements to the area. Even though the Continentals still outnumbered the British by at least 1,000 men, half of Gates's army consisted of local militia members.
The battle started in the early morning hours of August 16th in an open field. The British opened fire and many of the militia at the front of the line fled within minutes of the battle's opening. Panic spread and nearly entire left flank of the Continental line disappeared, including Gates himself. General Kalb attempted to restore order for the remaining American troops, but the appearance of British cavalry behind the Continental line only accelerated the panic. General Kalb was killed while trying to reassemble his men and launch a counter attack against the British. The battle lasted only an hour and in that hour the American troops suffered tremendous casualties as an estimated 900 men were killed or captured during the battle.