The American Revolution in North Carolina

Fort Johnston

January 27-28, 1776


Patriot Cdr:

Col. William Purviance
British Cdr:

Capt. John Tollemache
Killed:

0
Killed:

0
Wounded:

Unk
Wounded:

Unk
Captured:

0
Captured:

0
Original County: 

Brunswick County
Present County:

Brunswick County

Royal Governor Josiah Martin tried to draw away the attention of his Loyalist troops organizing in Cumberland County to support the planned British invasion of North Carolina. He ordered the sloop-of-war HMS Scorpion to attack Fort Johnston, but the ship withdrew after only firing twenty-six rounds. The sloop-of-war HMS Cruizer tried to get close, but was unsuccessful. Both reasons unknown.

The next day, Governor Martin ordered HMS Cruizer to sail up the Cape Fear River, but when the sailors saw all the cannons waiting for them at the breastworks of the town of Wilmington they turned back and attempted to bypass the town by sailing through a channel on the west side of Grand Island.

HMS Cruizer next tried to put a raiding party onto boats, but rifle fire from both sides of the river sent them back onto their ship. The militia of Col. William Purviance continued firing at HMS Cruizer until it returned downriver. This action convinced Royal Governor Josiah Martin that his Loyalists further inland were on their own until they could take Wilmington.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. William Purviance, with unknown number of men

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Capt. John Tollemach - HMS Scorpion, with 100 men and 22 guns

Capt. Francis Parry - HMS Cruizer, with 60 men and eight guns



© 2009 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved