The American Revolution in North Carolina

Fort George - Bald Head Island

September 6, 1776


Patriot Cdr:

Col. Thomas Polk
British Cdr:

Capt. John Linzee
Killed:

1
Killed:

0
Wounded:

1
Wounded:

0
Captured:

0
Captured:

5
Original County: 

Brunswick County
Present County:

Brunswick County

Even though most of the British had recently sailed away with Maj. Gen. Henry Clinton bound for Charlestown, a small garrison was retained at Bald Head Island. The fortification was named Fort George in honor of the King, and was garrisoned with thirty men taken from various warships prior to their departure. Unfortunately, the thirty men only had twelve muskets.

Brig. Gen. James Moore placed Col. Thomas Polk, of the 4th NC Regiment, in command of Fort Johnston on the mainland to keep an eye on the small garrison situated across the wide inlet. Col. Polk learned of the garrison's weaknesses and decided to go take the enemy.

On the night of September 6th, Col. Polk sailed with 150 of his men across the inlet and landed on Bald Head Island. As they worked their way through the woods, they were discovered. The Patriots captured five sailors, but the alarm had been sounded. The other 25 British sailors took refuge in the small fort and fired upon the North Carolinians, keeping them at a distance.

Soon, nearby British ships heard the shots and sent a relief force. The HMS Falcon fired her 6-pounders into the woods at the Patriots to give the relief force a chance to arrive. Col. Polk had one man killed and one man wounded, then decided to withdraw. As they left, the NC Continentals burned a British cutter so that it would not pursue them.

The HMS Cruizer quickly mounted four of her 3-pounders on board the sloop Defiance. Lt. Dickerson sailed with five other boats around the island to block any escape by the Patriots. Lt. Dickerson discovered two of Col. Polk's boats at 1:00 am at Buzzard's Bay near the mainland. The Defiance and the Falcon fired into the woods at Buzzard's Bay, but the Patriots returned fire with a 3-pounder, keeping the ships away.

The British were unable to destroy the boats and withdrew before the sun rose.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. Thomas Polk - Commanding Officer

4th NC Regiment (Continentals), with 150 men in two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Thomas Harris
- Capt. Robert Smith

Two 3-pounders

Capt. John Linzee - HMS Falcon, with 14 guns

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

Lt. Dickerson - HMS Defiance, with four 3-pounders

30 sailors - the garrison at Fort George



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