The American Revolution in North Carolina

Clapp's Mill #2

March 5, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Capt. Joseph Graham
British Cdr:







Original County: 

Orange County
Present County:

Alamance County

The day after the first engagement at Clapp's Mill, Lt. Col. Henry Lee sent out Capt. Joseph Graham with twenty-five cavalry to see if the British were still on the battlefield. Capt. Graham found that the British had left after burying their dead. He and his men traveled up the road until they were within a half mile of the enemy's line.

As night fell, Capt. Graham sent back a sergeant and six men to tell Lt. Col. Lee of the enemy's location. He then moved the remainder of his men through the woods to capture two sentries he had spotted earlier that evening. These two sentries detected his approach and fired upon the Patriots.

A British squad was sent to investigate the reason for the sentries' gunshots and they stumbled upon Capt. Graham and his men. The British hailed the Patriots and Capt. Graham's men fired their rifles at point blank range. After the enemy being driven back, Capt. Graham was able to capture the officer. For the rest of the night, excited British sentries fired wildly at shadows.

In his pension application statement, dated Oct. 30, 1832, Joseph Graham stated:

"The day after the Battle (Clapp's Mill #1), Col. Lee ordered this deponent to take 25 men to go on to where the battle was to see if the Enemy was there. If the Enemy had gone, we were to take their trail credit no report of the inhabitants but proceed until we actually saw the British troops.

"At the battle ground, we found the British were gone after burying their own dead & leaving ours. We took their trail. In the evening, we came in view of their sentries on the Salisbury Road within 1/2 mile of their head Quarters and I directly dispatched a sergeant and 6 of the party to inform Lee.

"The rest of our party moved after dark through the woods with a view of taking the two sentries we had seen in the Evening. In this we failed but after they had fired at us we went briskly up the main Road. In 1/2 mile, we met a patrol of their Cavalry about equal to our number. After hailing, we briskly discharged a volley in their faces. They retreated and took to the woods. We took their officer prisoner. The rest escaped.

"We turned out of the Road on an obscure path. In half a mile, we halted to take some refreshment. On the great Road opposite to us a quarter of a mile distant we heard a scattering of fire and considerable noise which lasted for some time.

"Two days later, we learned from a Deserter that on report of the Sentries in the Evening of the patrol was sent up the road after us and were returning when we met & dispersed them. When they came into camp in different directions, upwards of 100 Cavalry were sent up the Road after us and at 11 o'clock at night met a Company of Tories coming in to join them. Not doubting but it was the party which had defeated their piquet, they instantly charged them [the Tories] and considerable slaughter was made before it was discovered they were friends.

"This small affair did more to suppress Toryism to the south than any thing had before occurred. A few days before at Pyle's Defeat (Haw River), they had been cut by Lee's men and ours when they thought it was their friend Tarleton. In the present action, they were cut by the British when they thought it was the Americans. It is not known that any of them attempted to join the British afterwards."

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants
Capt. Joseph Graham, with 25 men Unknown number of men, led by Unknown

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