The Loyalist defeat at King's Mountain two month earlier had revived the Patriot effort for the war in the South.
The Army had a new Southern Department commander in the Quaker Nathaniel Greene.
Greene was determined to fight, but not at the expense of loosing more men. He made the decision that he would wear the British down, then engage them.
Greene soon put a trust ally to work in the new Southern Army. He appointed Brig. Gen. Daniel Morgan (the Old Wagoner) in charge of the Army in South Carolina. Morgan was a steady veteran, serving with the British Army in the 7 years war (in which he had received lashes), fought in the campaign of Quebec, and he was one of the victors of Saratoga. It was he and his Virginia riflemen which started the formalities of Saratoga.
Now Morgan was in control of a Continental force of about 830 men. Most were Contentious, but there were some militia, some riflemen, some French volunteers, and Cavalry commanded by Lt. Col. William Washington, 2nd cousin to George Washington.
Coming to meet this assortment of American troops was the most hated man in the colonies. He was referred to as "Benny", or "the Butcher", but to most he was known as Bloody Tarlton.