William Washington was a distant cousin of George Washington. He was an officer of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Lord Cornwallis even respected Washington, saying after the surrender at Yorktown, “there could be no more formidable antagonist in a charge, at the head of his cavalry, than Colonel William Washington”.
Born on February 28, 1752, he grew up with three brothers and two sisters on the family’s 1,200 acre-Virginia plantation, which had been located in Stafford County. When the Revolution started, he was elected as a Captain of the Stafford County Minutemen on September 12, 1775, which then became part of the Third Virginia Regiment in 1776. By the end of summer, the regiment joined the main army in New York. They were part of the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. Captain Washington led a successful charge against Hessian soldiers.
By 1779, William Washington would become a lieutenant colonel, overseeing the Third Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons. Washington was instrumental throughout the war. In January 17, 1781, he led the charge that routed the British cavalry at the Battle of Cowpens.
On September 8, 1871, Colonel Washington was wounded and captured, and would spend the rest of the war as a prisoner of war in Charleston, SC. There, he would marry Jane Reily Elliott and obtain Sandy Hill Plantation. He became a low country planter. He was also elected as a representative to the South Carolina state assembly from 1787 to 1791, and later as a senator from 1792 to 1794 and 1802 to 1804.
As hostilities heated between the newly formed United States and France in 1798, President John Adams appointed Washington as Brigadier General under General George Washington.
William Washington died on March 16, 1810 after a prolonged illness.
Historical Marker Inscription
3/4 mile on Live Oak Plantation at Sandy Hill Plantation, seven miles N.W., this Virginian made his home in the country through which he had led his American Cavalry. There in 1791 he entertained his kinsman, George Washington, President of the United States.
Savannah Highway (U.S. 17) near Waldon Road, Johns Island, South Carolina.
32° 47’ 42.972” N, 80° 8’ 10.790” W