The American Revolution in North Carolina

Salisbury

July 1778


Patriot Cdr:

Capt. Henry Connelly
Loyalist Cdr:

Capt. David Fanning
Killed:

0
Killed:

0
Wounded:

0
Wounded:

0
Captured:

0
Captured:

0
Original County: 

Rowan County
Present County:

Rowan County

Two days after being put into jail at Ninety-Six, South Carolina, David Fanning escaped, stole a horse, and returned to his cabin on Raeburn's Creek. Those pursuing him offered him four horses for the one he stole since it was quite valuable (to someone). Fanning struck a deal and was told he could return to Ninety-Six without fear of reprisal, however his captors lied to him and took him prisoner once again.

He was imprisoned this time in an undisclosed backwoods jail near the Tyger River. The Patriots took his clothes to ensure that he would not escape this time. The next morning, he was sent to the local magistrate and then released on bail. When he went back to get his clothes and his horse he was arrested again. Taken to yet another magistrate, this time he was again ordered back to jail.

Fanning was tied to another inmate and the two were taken to jail. When the guards stopped for lunch, Fanning grabbed a knife and cut his rope, then lept out of the window and ran for safety. He made his way to North Carolina where he joined Colonel Ambrose Mills and his North Carolina Loyalist Militia. Col. Mills was recruiting for those in East Florida at St. Augustine. One new recruit was actually a spy for the Patriots who informed Capt. Henry Connelly of Fanning's location.

Capt. Henry Connelly was a volunteer who was given a commission so the he could specifically track down David Fanning. Capt. Connelly and his cavalry immediately took Col. Ambrose Mills and sixteen Loyalists prisoner - but David Fanning was not among them.

Fanning soon learned of Col. Mills's capture and pursued Capt. Connelly to Gilbert Town, where Capt. Connelly obtained re-inforcements and reversed his course to now pursue Fanning and his fourteen men. After a night-long pursuit Capt. Fanning and his men ambushed the Patriots near Salisbury. A skirmish ensued for about an hour, with no casualties on either side - the Loyalists finally fled the scene.

A short time later, Capt. David Fanning was captured again, and again sent to the Ninety-Six jail. Once again, Fanning escaped by cutting through the bars with "two files and a knife." He would be captured several more times in 1778, but each time he made his escape.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
Guilford County Regiment of Militia detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. Henry Connelly, with unknown number of men

Capt. David Fanning, with fourteen (14) men

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