In the late summer of 1780, General Charles Cornwallis, the British southern commander, gained a strong upper hand following the battle of Camden, which left the patriots in tatters. As Cornwallis marched towards the Waxhaws, a yearlong battle of attrition began. After a small engagement near Waxhaw, Jackson and his remaining brother, Robert, hid in the house of their relative, Thomas Crawford. British dragoons discovered the two–thus beginning a nearly fatal chapter of Jackson's life. Upon discovering the two Jackson boys, the British detachment began to destroy the house, tearing apart furniture and breaking windows. The prisoners cowered in the living room until the British commander ordered Andrew to clean the mud from the soldiers' boots. Jackson refused, replying, "Sir, I am a prisoner of war and claim to be treated as such." In an angry response, the soldier raised his sword and swung at the boy's head.
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General Charles Cornwallis, Crawford. British dragoons, prisoner transfer–the patriots, British southern commander, strong upper hand