The American Revolution in North Carolina

Beatti's Bridge

August 4, 1781


Patriot Cdr:

Col. Thomas Wade
Loyalist Cdr:

Col. Hector McNeill
Killed:

1
Killed:

12
Wounded:

4
Wounded:

15
Captured:

?
Captured:

0
Original County: 

Richmond County/
Bladen County
Present County:

Scotland County/
Hoke County

aka Beatty's Bridge, aka Drowning Creek.


The day after the massacre at Piney Bottom Creek, Col. Thomas Wade called out his Militia again. He had those who showed up to swear that they would not return home until they had avenged the death of the boy who was hacked to death the day before.

The gathering Militia units of Montgomery and Richmond counties joined Col. Wade because the "flying army" of Col. McNeill and Col. Ray had driven off the cattle of Patriots in Cumberland County. That group of Loyalists then tried to force local Patriots to give up their arms.

Not waiting for more to arrive, when Col. Wade had assembled over one hundred men he led them out to find his Loyalist target. Most of his men were captains with few, if any, men under their commands. All who got the call came as quickly as they could mount their steeds.

On a Saturday night, the opposing groups met at Beatti's Bridge over Drowning Creek. They fired at each other until after midnight, when the Loyalists decided they had had enough and withdrew. Col. Wade had four men wounded, while Col. McNeill had twelve men killed and fifteen wounded.

Thomas Fortner asserted in his pension application that he was captured at this skirmish and taken to Wilmington, where he was held for seven months. He was paroled the night before the British had planned to execute him on the next day. He quickly returned home and volunteered again.


In his 1832 pension application affadavit, David Falkner (S3346) asserted:

"That he was drafted for 6 months, and was enrolled in a company commanded by Captain John DeJarnett - which company was attached to a Regiment of about 360 men under the command of the said Thomas Wade - Applicant states that the said Regiment marched from Colonel Wade's, and crossed the Pee Dee River at Haley's Ferry about 20 miles above the Cheraw hills - that the said Regiment marched on to Beatti's Bridge on Drowning Creek - here while this said Regiment was crossing the Bridge they were fired upon by a company of British and Tories - and after exchanging several fires with the enemy, applicant states that he with about 64 others were taken prisoner.

"Applicant states that himself and his fellow prisoners on the same evening were marched off to Wilmington, where they were all put on board a prison ship of the British, and kept there for about a month - at the expiration of this month applicant with his fellow prisoners were taken from the said ship and confined in the Prevost at Wilmington, where they were kept about 2 months, until on the approach of General Rutherford with a considerable force, the British Army took shipping and sailed arouond from Wilmington to Charleston being seasick he fell through the hatchway of the vessel and wounded his knee.

"On his arrival at Charleston he was placed in the Hospital at that place where he remained until he had so far recovered as to be able to go about - while in the Hospital applicant had been visited by two Scotch merchants of Charleston by the name of John Reed and John King with the view of getting applicant when he should get well to wait upon them - applicant states that when his knee got well he went and lived with the said Reed and King and continued to live with them about their store and house for no other compensation than his victuals and clothes until a few days before the British finally evacuated Charleston when he was exchanged at the Quarter House and got a pass from some American officer and went home."

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. Thomas Wade - Commanding Officer

Anson County Regiment of Militia led by Col. Thomas Wade, Lt. Col. George Lee Davidson, Lt. Col. Noah Rushing, Major John Jackson, and Major John P. Rushing, with fifteen (15) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Patrick Boggan
- Capt. William Brackin
- Capt. William Cole (Randolph County Regiment)
- Capt. John DeJarnett
- Capt. James Farr
- Capt. James Fletcher
- Capt. Duke Glenn
- Capt. Joseph Howell
- Capt. William Hunter, Sr.
- Capt. Jonathan Jackson (wounded)
- Capt. Jesse McClendon
- Capt. James Ruffin
- Capt. Stephen Tomkins
- Capt. Theodorick Webb
- Capt. George Wilson (killed)

Richmond County Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. Thomas Crawford, Lt. Col. Edward Williams (killed), and Major John Jones, with five (5) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Stephen Cole
- Capt. Thomas Jennings
- Capt. Zack McDonald
- Capt. John Speed
- Capt. William Wall

Montgomery County Regiment of Militia detachment led by Lt. Col. Thomas Childs (wounded) with two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Joseph Parsons
- Capt. Samuel Pond

Bladen County Regiment of Militia detachment led by Col. Thomas Robeson, Jr., with two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Hawthorne
- Capt. William G. McDaniel

Mecklenburg County Regiment of Militia detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. James Reese

Col. Hector McNeill - Commanding Officer

Unknown number of Loyalists

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