The American Revolution in North Carolina

Cox's Mill

July 30, 1781


Patriot Cdr:

Unknown
Loyalist Cdr:

Capt. John Rains
Killed:

Unk
Killed:

Unk
Wounded:

Unk
Wounded:

Unk
Captured:

Unk
Captured:

Unk
Original County: 

Randolph County
Present County:

Randolph County

While Col. David Fanning was attacking the House in the Horseshoe, unnamed Patriot forces unsuccessfully attacked his base camp at Cox's Mill that was being guarded by Capt. John Rains of the Randolph County Loyalist Militia. When the Patriots learned that Fanning was on his way back they quickly headed home.


Col. Fanning arrived at his camp with his wagons of salt and re-assembled his militia that he had just sent home - he simply must pursue anyone who had the audacity to attack his base camp. The Patriots sent in a flag of truce asking Col. Fanning to surrender. He replied that he was ready "to make peace with the sword or otherwise they should become subjects of Great Britain."

The Patriots then withdrew from the area with Col. Fanning hot on their heels. During this pursuit, he learned that the small force of Patriots had joined up with Col. John Peasley and Col. William O'Neal, with a combined force of 400 Patriots at Brown's Plantation. Col. Fanning rode on with about 140 men and sent a flag to Major William Cage, whom he thought was in command of the Patriots. Col. Fanning accused the Patriots of abusing Loyalist prisoners and wanted to discuss this issue in person.

Major William Cage replied:

"Sir, I received yours by a flag and can assure you that I should be as sorry as any person living to misuse a prisoner, but at the same time I think it is my duty to oppose my enemies, and if any of your men should fall into my hands I shall endeavour to use what influence I can to have them treated as prisoners, and I hope you will do the same. I must also inform you that I am not the commanding officer; if I was, I should immediately return you an answer, and as your letter was not directed to the commanding officer, he will not undertake it without you will direct to him. Col. O'Neal is Commander at present. I am yours, etc., etc... Wm. Cage. Aug. 2nd 1781."

Col. Fanning marched towards the Patriot camp only to find it deserted, they Patriots had marched on. Col. Fanning decided to go to Wilmington for a supply of ammunition.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
Unknown number of Patriots, leader Unknown Capt. John Rains, with unknown number of Loyalists


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