The American Revolution in North Carolina

Polk's Mill

October 9, 1780


Patriot Cdr:

Col. Philip Taylor
British Cdr:

Lt. Stephen Guyon
Killed:

1
Killed:

0
Wounded:

1
Wounded:

0
Captured:

0
Captured:

9
Original County: 

Mecklenburg County
Present County:

Mecklenburg County

Just about every date between September 28th to October 13th have been identified for this event.


Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis had his army to establish a friendly post at Thomas Polk's grist mill so they could use it as a place from which to send out foraging parties.

Patriot Col. Philip Taylor of the newly-created Mounted Volunteers led a detachment of about 120 mounted riflemen and discovered Lt. Stephen Guyon with twenty Royal Welsh Fusiliers and some Loyalist militia posted at Polk's Mill - he immediately attacked. It is apparent that Col. John Dickerson (Granville County Regiment) was also with Col. Philip Taylor at this point in time. So was a detachment of the NC State Cavalry-Western District led by Maj. Joseph Dickson.

Col. Taylor was able to capture the sentinel of the Fusiliers and eight of the Loyalist militia, but Lt. Guyon defended the blockhouse and drove the Patriots off. Col. Taylor had one man killed and one man wounded. Later that same night, a small party of fifty riflemen stole fifty horses from the British at Polk's plantation.

Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton wrote describing the countryside around Charlotte:

"The town and environs abounded with inveterate enemies; the roads were narrow and crossed in every direction and the woods were close and thick. It was evident, as had been frequently mentioned to the King's officers, that the counties of Mecklenburg and Rowan were more hostile to England than any others in America. No British commander could obtain any information in that position which would facilitate his designs or guide his future conduct. The foraging parties were every day harrassed by the inhabitants, who did not remain at home to receive payment for the produce of their farms, but generally fired from covert places to annoy the British detachments."


In his 1832 pension application affadavit, Jeremiah Blalock (W8368) asserted:

"His next service was the September following General Gates defeat in 1780. He marched from Granville North Carolina under the command of Colonel [Philip] Taylor, Major [William] Hunt & Captain Solomon Walker to Salisbury & from there to Charlotte, North Carolina where they watched the movements of the enemy until their retreat to Camden [from Kings Mountain]. At Polk's Mill, he was in a skirmish in which the Americans had one man killed."


In his 1832 pension application affadavit, James Terry (R10464) asserted:

"... we were placed under the command of Colonel Phil Taylor, Lieutenant Colonel John Dickerson & Major William Hunt – From Hillsboro we marched to Bells Mills in Randolph [County] and scoured the country between these two places for Tories. From Bells Mills we scoured the Country toward the Yadkin [River], passed through at the Dutch Settlement, and went to Salisbury, Thence we went to Phifer's Mills on Rocky River. Here we were stationed as long as the enemy Remained in possession of Charlotte–constantly reconnoitering the Country around about the enemy. After the defeat of General Ferguson [sic, Major Patrick Ferguson at the battle of Kings Mountain two days earlier] the enemy [Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis] left Charlotte & endeavored to recross the Catawba [River] at the old Nation's Ford we were then marched upon the flanks of them. But General Sumpter [sic, SC Col. Thomas Sumter] having met the British at the River and prevented them from crossing the British were forced back and returned to Charlotte–we were compelled heartily to retrace our steps.

"About this time we attacked & killed one and took prisoner of eight Tories at the Cross Roads near Charlotte– on the same night we had this affair with the Tories, we were sent to take Polk's Mill which was in possession of the enemy–we took a Sentinel a British man and attacked the Mill but finding ourselves overpowered and the men firing from the Mill upon us, we found ourselves unable to accomplish our purpose and after the loss of one man killed & some wounded and several Horses wounded we gave up the attack and retired."


In his 1832 pension application affadavit, John Haynes (W27) asserted:

"He next volunteered & went on an expedition against the British forces that were encamped at Charlotte-town in Mecklenburg County–in this the said State of North Carolina. He set out on this Campaign in the fall season about Corn-pulling time. He was in this service for the term of three months, he was on this expedition under the Command of Captain [Maj] Joseph Dickson afterwards General Dixon, in Colonel Davy's [William Richardson Davie's] Regiment. There were regular troops in this service also, but they were not attached to them at any time that he now remembers, they had no regular battles during this campaign not believing that the American troops were able to fight the British troops that were stationed in Charlotte town–they had several skirmishes with the British scouts during this Campaign, particularly with a detachment under the Command of Colonel Tarlton [Banastre Tarleton] an officer in the British service–they had also an engagement at Polk's Mill which the British had in possession, after a short skirmish, the Americans had to retreat & leave the enemy in possession of the mill."


In his 1832 pension application affadavit, John Erwin (S1512) asserted:

"... Applicant was next drafted for a three months tour-in this expedition he served under the command of Captain Dixon [Maj. Joseph Dickson] and Colonel Davy’s [sic, William Richardson Davie’s] Regiment He was then marched in said State of North Carolina against the British troops, who were then encamped in Charlotte, a town, in Mecklenburg County in the State of North Carolina-near which applicant was in a skirmish Polk’s Mills, which were then in the possession of the British troops."


In his 1832 pension application affadavit, William Husbands (S31768) asserted:

"About a week after he joined General Davie [sic, Col. William Richardson Davie] in Rowan County as aforesaid the said General Davie sent out a scouting party consisting of about seventy men of whom he the said William was one under the Command of Major __ Dixon [Maj. Joseph Dickson]. Major Rutledge was also along with the party all of whom were mounted. This scouting party fell in with the detachment of British at Colonel Polk's mill, and in the engagement which took place he was severely wounded in the leg."


In his 1832 pension application affadavit, Joseph Patten (S3632) asserted:

"He marched off under Captain William Hart and Col. Davie [William Richardson Davie]...the British remained in Charlotte some time and we stationed at Rocky River about 24 miles off we were engaged for some time in watching round where the enemy was stationed and in keeping them from plundering and at one time we took about forty of the British that were out foraging with their wagons and teams. He was in a skirmish at Col. Polk's Mill, the British were guarding said mill we thought it was the Tories until we fired a few times on them they wounded 7 [could be 17] of our horses and killed one man of ours named Hugh Gray, we took one of their guards and retreated and then returned to head quarters at Rocky River..."


In his 1833 pension application affadavit, Thomas Sloan (S32522) asserted:

In the summer of 1780 enlisted in Captain [Zaccheus] Wilson's Company and served in several others principally scouting was in a skirmish at Wahaubs house [Wahab's Plantation, SC] with the Tories recollected Major Graham was one of his officers in this affair and in another skirmish at Polk's Mill under the command of Colonel [Maj. Joseph] Dickson was beaten back off the British & Tories after taking their sentinels prisoner was in several other skirmishes..."

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. Philip Taylor - Commanding Officer of about 120 men.

Granville County Regiment of Militia (Mounted Volunteers) detachment led by Col. Philip Taylor and Maj. William Hunt with at least two (2) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Samuel Snead
- Capt. Solomon Walker

NC State Cavalry-Western District Regiment detachment led by Maj. Joseph Dickson with four (4) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Clark
- Capt. Joseph Graham
- Capt. William Hart
- Capt. Zaccheus Wilson

Lt. Stephen Guyon, with 20 Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Unknown number of Loyalist militiamen

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