The American Revolution in North Carolina

Ocracoke Inlet

April 14-17, 1776


Patriot Cdr:

Capt. Silas Henry
Loyalist Cdr:

Capt. John Goodrich, Jr.
Killed:

0
Killed:

0
Wounded:

0
Wounded:

0
Captured:

Unk
Captured:

Unk
Original County: 

Hyde County
Present County:

Hyde County

Capt. John Goodrich, Sr. was a ship owner and a merchant in Virginia. He was sent by the Virginia Committee of Safety to procure gunpowder from the West Indies. John sent his son, William, on this mission. William Goodrich transported 1,400 pounds of gunpowder under extraordinary circumstances, and this news came to the attention of Virginia Royal Governor John Murray, Lord Dunmore.

Governor Lord Dunmore had William Goodrich strapped in irons and confiscated his ship - then, Governor Lord Dunmore had his father John Goodrich, Sr. and his brother John Goodrich, Jr. report to his ship on the 10th of every month. After a period of time, Governor Lord Dunmore convinced the Goodriches that they should return to the side of the Crown.

On April 14, 1776, the merchant schooner Polly was sailing through the Outer Banks off North Carolina. James Buchanan, a Mr. Henry, and Archibald Campbell of Edenton owned the Polly, and she was captained by Silas Henry. As the Polly proceeded to the Swash, near Ocracoke, she was hailed by Capt. John Goodrich, Jr. on the armed sloop Lilly. With the Lilly was a tender fitted by Governor Lord Dunmore for the purpose of taking vessels at the Ocracoke Bar.

Goodrich ordered Capt. Silas Henry to get into the tender with his papers. Mr. Henry and James Buchanan, also on board the Polly, were both ordered into the tender as well. Goodrich claimed the Polly was his prize along with her cargo of Indian corn and staves.

That night, Lt. John Wright, commander of the Royal Navy armed sloop Fincastle, came over the Ocracoke bar in a boat of armed men. Wright boarded the Polly, disarmed the men, plundered the livestock, and left a Prize Master and four armed men aboard. That same night, Wright and his men captured two other vessels and carried them out to sea.

Twenty-three Ocracoke pilots commanded by "a brave young man, Benjamin Bonner of Pamplico River," recaptured the Polly on April 17th by boarding the tender with five whaleboats full of armed men. When the pilots captured the Lilly they also captured Goodrich, seven of his "Negro crew," Capt. George Blair of the Ethiopian Regiment, a soldier of the 14th Regiment. Goodrich was a prisoner at Charlottesville for at least eighteen months. The recaptured vessels were sent to New Bern and used as tenders for the North Carolina Navy brigantines, King Tammany and Pennsylvania Farmer.

A few days later, two armed independent companies were raised for the purpose of protecting the shipping around Ocracoke. One independent company was commanded by Capt. James Anderson and was posted at Ocracoke Island, the other company was commanded by Capt. Enoch Ward and was posted at Core Sound.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Capt. Silas Henry - Polly

Benjamin Bonner, with 23 armed men

Capt. John Goodrich, Jr. - Lilly

Lt. John Wright - Fincastle



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