Isaac Huger

Black and white sketch of Isaac Huger

Brig.-Gen. Isaac Huger. 1789-1880. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection. The New York Public Library Digital Collections

(1743-1797)  Huger was born at Limerick Plantation on the Cooper River, the son of Daniel Huger and Mary Cordes. The wealth of his family afforded Huger an education in Europe. Huger began his military career by serving as an officer in Colonel Thomas Middleton’s Provincial South Carolina Regiment during the expedition against the Cherokees in the spring of 1761. On March 23, 1762, Huger married Elizabeth Chalmers. The couple had eight children.

While serving as a representative for the parishes of St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s in the First Provincial Congress, Huger was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the South Carolina militia and later commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the First South Carolina Regiment on June 17, 1775. He was promoted to colonel on September 16, 1776, and appointed commander of the Fifth South Carolina Regiment. On January 9, 1779, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Continental army.

Huger fought and was wounded at the Battle of Stono Ferry on June 20, 1779, and commanded the South Carolina and Georgia militia during the siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779. During the siege of Charleston in the spring of 1780, he was placed in command of the light horse and militia outside the city. A surprise attack by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton’s forces routed and dispersed Huger’s troops at Moncks Corner on the morning of April 14, 1780. Illness kept Huger from capture with the surrender of Charleston, and he later rejoined the southern army under Major General Horatio Gates in North Carolina.

Huger was present when Major General Nathanael Greene took command of the Southern Department in Charlotte later in December. Greene detached his light forces to the western parts of South Carolina and moved his regulars to a camp in the Cheraws, with Huger as his second in command. After the brilliant American victory at Cowpens, Huger was entrusted by Greene to lead the command posted in the Cheraws to rejoin the detached light forces in North Carolina. At the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781, he commanded a brigade of Virginia Continental regiments and was slightly wounded in action. Commanding the same brigade at the Battle of Hobkirk Hill on April 25, Huger initially stood his ground after the unanticipated withdrawal of the right wing of the American line. With the retreat of the British from the interior to Charleston, Huger was reunited with his family and returned to his home, ending his military service.

Huger represented St. George’s Dorchester Parish in the Jacksonborough Assembly in January 1782 and served in the legislature until his election as sheriff of Charleston District in 1785. Familial ties led to his appointment as the first federal marshal for South Carolina in 1789, a position which he held for five years. He died in Charleston on October 6, 1797.