The American Revolution in North Carolina

New Bern

August 19, 1781


Patriot Cdr:

Capt. Benjamin Williams
Loyalist Cdr:

Major James H. Craig
Killed:

1
Killed:

1
Wounded:

Unk
Wounded:

0
Captured:

0
Captured:

0
Original County: 

Craven County
Present County:

Craven County

After the brief skirmish at Webber's Bridge across the Trent River, Major James H. Craig and his men marched on into the town of New Bern - their objective. As the Redcoats entered, some Patriots took pot shots at them and even managed to kill Loyalist Capt. John Gordon of the NC Independent Dragoons. After this, there was no more opposition.

For two days, Major Craig occupied the town and burned the plantations of known Patriots. He burned the home of Briadier. General John Alexander Lillington and had his men to destroy all the rigging of the ships tied up to the town's waterfront. Their cargoes were also destroyed, including 3,000 barrels of salt.

When Dr. Alexander Gaston tried to make his escape by rowing across the Trent River, he was shot dead by a British officer right before his wife's eyes. Margaret Gaston knelt over the body of her husband, protecting it in vain with hers.

The British threatend that "the rebels should not have even the rest of the grave." Afterwards, Major Craig marched back towards the way he came - to Kingston, then to Wilmington.


In his 1833 pension application, John Williams (R11587) asserted:

"At Tuckahoe in Jones County, I was one of a party of 60 who attacked about 50 of the enemy and we drove them towards Wilmington. We were the commanded by Capt. Benjamin Williams - the enemy by Capt. John Gordon who was killed. I myself took Capt. Gordon's horse, pistols, Bridle, Saddle & Spurs & killed one of his men who fired at me. We got 20 of their guns which had been thrown away - I had a ball shot through my hair."

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
Dr. Alexander Gaston - Killed
Onslow County Regiment of Militia detachment led by Capt. Benjamin Williams, with ~60 men

Major James H. Craig - Commanding Officer

Unknown number of British Regulars

Capt. John Gordon - Killed



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