Hillsboro Raid, North Carolina

views updated

Hillsboro Raid, North Carolina

HILLSBORO RAID, NORTH CAROLINA. 12 September 1781. On 6 September 1781, Loyalist Colonel David Fanning issued a call for volunteers. Within a short time he had 950 men under his command. He then undertook a long-cherished scheme of capturing rebel Governor Thomas Burke of North Carolina. Reaching Hillsboro the morning of 12 September, having marched all day and all night, he got possession of that place after a skirmish in which he lost only one man (wounded) but killed fifteen Patriots, wounded twenty, and captured more than two hundred. Among his prisoners were Burke, members of the governor's council, several Continental officers, and seventy-one Continental soldiers. He also liberated a number of Loyalist and British soldiers. Leaving Hillsboro at noon, the Loyalist raiders had covered eighteen miles when they were attacked at Cane Creek (Lindley's Mill) by four hundred Continental soldiers under the command of General John Butler. Colonel Hector McNeil, in command of the advance guard, was lax and thus surprised by the Patriots. He and seven other Loyalists were killed.

To secure his retreat, Fanning then launched an attack. In a four-hour fight, the rebels were finally routed with a loss of twenty-five killed, ninety wounded, and ten captured, but Fanning was badly wounded, twenty of his men were killed, and ninety were wounded. Leaving Fanning and the other wounded behind, Lieutenant Colonels Archibald McDugald and Archibald McKay and Major John Ranes succeeded in eluding pursuit with the rest of the expedition until it linked up four days later with the relief column led by Colonel James Henry Craig from Wilmington.

Fanning's coup was a brilliant success. It shook Patriot confidence throughout the South.

SEE ALSO Craig, James Henry; Fanning, David.

                              revised by Michael Bellesiles

About this article

Hillsboro Raid, North Carolina

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article