The American Revolution in North Carolina

Cole's Bridge #1

March 1, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Lt. John Philyard
Loyalist Cdr:

Col. Hector McNeill



at least 1



Original County: 

Richmond County / Cumberland County
Present County:

Richmond County /
Moore County

Lt. John Philyard, of the Duplin County Regiment of Militia, was assigned 25 men to guard a depot and public stores located at Cole's Bridge on Drowning Creek (now the Lumber River).

On March 1st, Col. Hector McNeill with about 300 Loyalists attacked this post and took possession of the stores.

Patriot Lot Rich was wounded in his left arm with a musket ball, and he lost his hat during this engagement.

In his 1832 pension application, Joseph Wade (S7826) asserted:

"I went back to the company I had left at Cole's Bridge on Drowning Creek North Carolina which was left there to guard the beef that had been slaughtered for the use of the Army this guard was under the command of an Ensign whose name I do not recollect whilst thus employed we were attacked by a large number of British and Tories who killed our Ensign and four or five of our men the balance of us escaped and returned to Cross Creek..."

In his 1833 pension application, Lot Rich (S9076) asserted:

"That he was then with a guard of twenty-five marched under the command of Lieutenant John Philyard detailed to guard some public stores consisting of meal, rice, and fifty-seven beef cattle sent to Cross Creek where he remained 4 days. That with the aforesaid guard of 25 under command of said Philyard, he was then marched to Cole's Bridge on Drowning Creek where he was stationed to guard a depot & public stores until about the 1st of March, when the Tories to the number of about 300 under the command of Colonel Hector McNeil attacked the said guard & took possession of the stores.

"That during said attack this declarant received a wound from a musket ball in his left arm. That he then proceeded home by the way of Cross Creek which place he reached bare headed having lost his hat in the engagement with the Tories, reached home on the 10th of March 1781 and on the 10th of said month at Duplin Court House received a discharge from the hands of Captain Jonathan Taylor."

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Lt. John Philyard - Commanding Officer

Duplin County Militia - 25 men, including:
- James Holland (from New Hanover County)
- Lot Rich (wounded)
- Joseph Wade

Col. Hector McNeill - Commanding Officer

~300 Loyalists


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