According to records, Captains Sterling Turner and James Butler Sr., with a detachment of two companies of the Lower Ninety-Six District Regiment of Militia totaling 30 men, had camped at Cloud’s Creek for the night after raiding loyalist forces in the back country of South Carolina.
It rained that night and their guns would not fire. The next day, November 7, 1781, the men went to a nearby cabin to dry their guns. Major Cunningham and his 300-man loyalist militia surrounded them. Captain Butler offered his life in exchange for that of his son, James Butler Jr., but after a shot killed one of Cunningham’s men, they were attacked and overpowered. They were then rounded up and slaughtered. Cunningham killed many of them himself using his own sword. Of the 30 Patriot militiamen involved, only two escaped. Captain Butler’s son, James Butler Jr., was among those killed.
At the time of the massacre, Captain Butler’s wife and some of his children were ill with smallpox. His 16-year old daughter Nancy Butler was required to go to the site where her father, brother, and many of their friends had been so cruelly killed to identify them and assist in their burials.