The American Revolution in North Carolina

Buffalo Ford

May 11-12, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Loyalist Cdr:

Capt. David Fanning






Original County: 

Randolph County
Present County:

Randolph County

Loyalist Capt. David Fanning was bent on revenge after Capt. John Hinds had hanged two of his men at Deep River on May 9th. He focused his revenge on the regiment of Col. John Collier and Col. Andrew Balfour of the Randolph County Regiment of Militia since they were Capt. Hinds's superiors.

Capt. Fanning gathered seventeen men and set up an ambush at Buffalo Ford on the Deep River. Two hours later his scouts reported that Col. Collier's militia had been delayed because they had plundered a Loyalist home along the way.

Capt. Fanning and his men immediately rode to the house and attacked the Patriots. Within a half hour, the Loyalists had killed the Patriot captain and a private, wounded three others, and captured two more. They also seized eight horses and several swords.

This group of Loyalists pursued another group of Patriots and caught up to them the next morning. Capt. Fanning also defeated them, killing four, wounding three, capturing one man and their horses. He continued to pursue the survivors, killing one and capturing two more.

In his 1832 pension application, Shadrach Holt (R5185) asserted:

"He states he was in the service about two years and from 6 to 9 months so well as he recollects; he was during that time engaged principally in scouts after the Tories & some British, in the Counties of Orange, Cumberland and some of the adjoining Counties. He was in a little skirmish with some of Colonel Fanning's men at the Buffalo Ford on Deep River the Tories were beaten."

Shardrach Holt was in the Orange County Regiment of Militia, and mostly served under Capt. Edward Gwinn of Guilford County. No other pensioner under Capt. Edward Gwinn mentioned this skirmish, so it is doubtful that he was there, but certainly possible.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
Randolph County Militia - Unknown number of men led by Unknown Capt. David Fanning, with 17 men

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