The conflict that led to war began in Virginia in late 1758, when settlers attacked and killed several Cherokee warriors returning from battles against the French. The Cherokees retaliated in North Carolina in spring 1759, and the conflict spread southward.
During the 1770s Bull’s political views grew increasingly out of step as South Carolina and other colonies moved toward radical opposition to the crown. Lord William Campbell, the last royal governor, arrived at Charleston on June 18, 1775, and took office, but his term lasted only three months. On September 15 he was forced to flee the city for refuge on a British warship in Charleston harbor. The revolution was under way, and Bull’s position was an impossible one. He resigned from the Royal Council and retired to his Ashley Hall plantation. In 1777 he refused to take the oath of allegiance to the revolutionary government and was banished from the state.