Martha Bratton - Explosions, Death Threats and Huck's Defeat

Martha Bratton - Explosions, Death Threats and Huck's Defeat

As with most of the women I write about, Martha Bratton’s story is extremely hard to confirm through primary sources.

That being said, the battle which has commonly been called Huck’s Defeat assuredly took place around her property.

Therefore, I will retell the story here as it has emerged through history, though this is the rare occasion that I must note…this tale is a legend and I cannot confirm its authenticity.

One more thing, in 15 months of writing Founder of the Day, I think this is the first time I use the term Lobsterbacks. I’m not entirely sure why I feel the need to point that out but there you go.

The Explosion

Martha and William Bratton lived on the South Carolina frontier.

William joined the Revolution and went off to war, serving as a Colonel in the Militia. About this time, the Patriots of South Carolina were asked to take gunpowder and hide it from the British. Before he left to fight, William stored his share of powder in a shed.

While her husband was away, Martha was informed that the British were coming to search for the hidden gunpowder.

So…Martha blew up the shed.

Sure, this alerted the Redcoats to the fact that she had the gunpowder, but what could they do now?

Point – Martha.

The Death Threat

Later in the war, the British returned looking for Patriots.

They entered the Bratton home and demanded to know where William was. Martha, who really couldn’t have known where her husband was, said as much.

One of the officers grabbed a reaping hook and held it to her throat, threatening to decapitate her. Boldly, Martha said that, even if she knew where the men were, she would rather die than betray her country.

Fortunately, a superior British officer would have none of this situation and knocked the man down with the butt of his sword, defusing the situation.

Huck’s Defeat

William and his cohorts heard that the Redcoats were harassing their families and returned to get rid of them.

They surprised the British in what would become known as Huck’s Defeat (named after the enemy’s leader). The engagement was brief and the Lobsterbacks fled the scene.

Allegedly, with bullets flying around her house, Martha decided to put her young son in the chimney so as not to be hit by a ricochet. Strange, but smart.

The Revolutionary War soon came to a conclusion and the Bratton family lived in freedom, happily, for several decades afterward.


For more Founding Mothers, check out one of these articles:

Elizabeth Lewis Stands Confidently Against the British

Margaret Cochran Corbin and the Battle of Fort Washington

Deborah Sampson Drags Herself to War

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Want to read a book based off the legend of Martha Bratton?

'Fearless Martha’ is fictionalized account of her life. It takes what is thought to be true and expands on it to create a story that reflects on how daily life was for average women during the Revolutionary War.

If you’d like a precious copy for your very own you can through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same).

Fearless Martha
By Sheila Ingle
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