The American Revolution in North Carolina

Chatham County

November 1781


Patriot Cdr:

Capt. Thomas Kennedy &
Capt. John Lopp
Loyalist Cdr:

Col. David Fanning
Killed:

0
Killed:

0
Wounded:

0
Wounded:

0
Captured:

10
Captured:

0
Original County: 

Chatham County
Present County:

Chatham County

Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford and his army marched into Wilmington as the British occupying force was leaving. His men treated the town as a captured enemy installation and took whatever they wanted. When his Militia was disbanded the different units headed home in small groups. Waiting along their route was Col. David Fanning and his Loyalists.

In the last week of November, Capt. Thomas Kennedy paused in Chatham County to loot some Loyalist homes. He took a number of horses and a quantity of household furniture. Col. David Fanning learned of this plundering and pursued the Patriots for five miles until they were caught. Capt. Kennedy and nine men were captured, along with all of their plunder.

Capt. Kennedy was intimidated by Col. Fanning's reputation and told him that another Patriot company was not far behind him. That company was Capt. John Lopp with sixty men who were also on their way home. Capt. Kennedy agreed that in exchange for the lives of his men he would not interfere if Col. Fanning attacked Capt. Lopp.

Col. Fanning locked Capt. Kennedy and his nine men in a house with two guards, and then moved out to ambush Capt. Lopp.

Fanning later wrote, "I mounted my men and placed them in Concealment along the Road." The plan was that when Capt. Lopp's men rode through the kill zone then Col. Fanning's men would fire and charge them.

When Capt. Lopp and his men came down the road, Col. Fanning fired three volleys into their ranks, and they fled into the woods. Since it was dark, the Loyalists could not tell what damage they had caused and were unable to pursue the Patriots.

Capt. Kennedy and his men remained quiet during the ambush and Col. Fanning paroled them on the spot.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

NC State Legion detachment of two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Thomas Kennedy - 9 men
- Capt. John Lopp - 60 men

Known prisoners/paroled:
- Capt. Thomas Kennedy
- Isaac Thompson

Col. David Fanning

Unknown number of Loyalists

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