The American Revolution in North Carolina

Chatham County

April 23-24, 1782


Patriot Cdr:

William Dowdy
Loyalist Cdr:

Col. David Fanning
Killed:

1
Killed:

0
Wounded:

0
Wounded:

0
Captured:

unk
Captured:

0
Original County: 

Chatham County
Present County:

Chatham County

For seven years, David Fanning had been at war, fighting or hiding the entire duration. By 1782, the end of British influence was near. He later wrote "I concluded within myself that it was Better for me to try and settle myself being weary of the disagreeable mode of Living I had Bourne with for some Considerable time."

He was engaged to marry the sixteen-year-old Sarah Carr, the sister of one of his officers, Capt. William Carr. Capt. William Carr and Capt. William Hooker both decided to get married the same day as their commanding officer. Col. Fanning designed a uniform for the special occasion that was "Linen frocks died Black, with Red Cuffs do Ellbows and shoulder cape also, and Belted with Scarlet, which was a total Disguise to the Rebels which the red was all fringed with Large white fringe."

The happy occasion, however, included considerable tragedy. As Carr and Hooker rode to get their fiancées, a Patriot militia patrol rode up and attacked them. Carr was able to escape, but they killed Hooker on the spot.

Col. David Fanning had been riding to the wedding location in Chatham County when he learned about his man's death. He learned where the Patriots were located and he rode there with five men. They surrounded William Dowdy's house and he yelled for the Patriots to come outside.

All came out except for William Dowdy, who knew that he was about to be shot. He jumped from the house and ran into the nearby woods. Fanning's men fired and wounded him in the shoulder. Col. Fanning rode up to Dowdy and then fired both of his pistols into his chest, killing him instantly.

He paroled the rest of the Patriots and rode away. David Fanning and William Carr went on with their weddings that day and then "Kept two Days merriment." Afterwards, the Loyalists went back into hiding.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
William Dowdy Col. David Fanning, with 5 Loyalists


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