The American Revolution in North Carolina

Hood's Creek

September 1781


Patriot Cdr:

Col. Edward Wingate
British Cdr:

Major James H. Craig
Killed:

2
Killed:

0
Wounded:

5
Wounded:

0
Captured:

0
Captured:

0
Original County: 

Brunswick County
Present County:

Brunswick County

aka Hood's Creek Bridge.


After their victory at Tory Hole in Bladen County, the Patriots tried to confine or contain the efforts of the British forces occupying Wilmington. Lt. Col. Jacob Leonard of the Brunswick County Regiment took about thirty men and set up a camp just outside of Wilmington to cut off incoming supplies, and to prevent slaves from flocking to the British occupiers. Lt. Col. Leonard's camp was a serious threat and annoyance to Major James H. Craig who was soon resolved to break it up.

Major Craig sent out a detachment of British Regulars to establish an ambush site at the bridge on Hood's Creek, in nearby Brunswick County. Another detachment was to be sent behind Lt. Col. Leonard's camp to cut off any retreat. Loyalists were strictly ordered to give no quarter and to kill every Patriot with arms in their hands. When the Loyalist guide heard these orders, he decided not to take the second detachment to the Patriot camp - at least not directly. Many of those in that camp were his neighbors.

The Loyalist guide wandered in the woods from swamp to swamp until he reckoned that the camp had noticed their approach and reasoned their intent. The British force at Hood's Creek Bridge became impatient and sounded a horn to let the Loyalists know that they were ready.

The Patriots heard the horn, but they were not aware that a second enemy group was wandering nearby ready to attack. They sent out two brothers named Smith to Hood's Creek Bridge to learn what the horn signified. When they reached the bridge they quickly wheeled their horses under a volley of musket fire. One brother had his hat shot off and the other was badly wounded and fell off his horse. The British rushed forward and bayonetted him to death.

The Patriot camp heard the shooting and quickly withdrew to safety with no additional injuries.


According to the pension statement of Jeremiah Wescoat (R11330), Capt. James Simmons and Private Thomas Smith were both killed at night when their group was surprised by Tories - and five Patriots were wounded and these two were killed.

He later recounted that Lt. Col. Jacob Leonard was stationed on the west side of Hood's Creek Bridge when Major Craig with 120 men (as was then said) came to the bridge one morning at the dawn of day, that Capt. James Simmons and Thomas Smith a Private who went over the bridge among others, as an advanced guard, were killed. The rest of the guard retreated to the company. The whole company then immediately fled.

Lt. Col. Leonard collected ten men, including himself (Jeremiah Wescoat), who on horses followed the enemy and annoyed them by firing on them and then retreating into the woods. This they did until the enemy reached the Brick House on their return to Wilmington.

He and his company were then sent over into Bladen County where they were surprised at a Mr. Duncan's plantation by the Loyalists that had been following them. His company had two men killed and five men wounded.

By his recollection this skirmish at Hood's Creek took place in March of 1781. Possible, but doubtful.


In his 1834 pension application, Theophilus Coleman recounted:

"They, however, received orders from him [Col. Thomas Brown], through Colonel Edward Wingate, to repair to Hood's Creek Bridge where a small body of Brunswick Militia was stationed under Colonel Wingate & Captain Simmonds. While there an attack was made on the detachment by a body of British from Wilmington under Major Manson. The British who made their appearance about daylight, were kept in check for a short time by a small body of men at the Bridge under Captain Simmonds - but Captain Simmonds having been killed - the detachment was ordered by Colonel Wingate to disperse & returned home."

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. Edward Wingate - Commanding Officer - and Lt. Col. Jacob Leonard with a detachment of the Brunswick County Regiment of Militia including three (3) known companies. led by:
- Capt. Charles Gause
- Capt. Thomas Russ
- Capt. James Simmons (Killed)

30 men, including two named Smith - one being Lt. Thomas Smith (killed), and a man known as Jeremiah Wescoat.

Bladen County Regiment of Militia detachment of two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Robert Haynes
- Capt. Daniel Shipman

Major James H. Craig - Commanding Officer (one source says Major Daniel Manson).

~120 men

Including an unknown number of Loyalists

-

-

-

-

-
-



© 2012 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved