The American Revolution in North Carolina

Myhand's Bridge #2

May 13, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Col. James Kenan
Loyalist Cdr:

Capt. Middleton Mobley

1 - multiple snakebites





Original County: 

Duplin County
Present County:

Sampson County

After his brother was killed in the skirmish at Cohera Swamp, Col. James Kenan shadowed the movements of Capt. Middleton Mobley and his Loyalists through what was then western Duplin County (now Sampson County). He was waiting for a dozen more reinforcements with a swivel gun from the old ferry at Helltown Ford, but he soon decided that the field piece would not arrive before Capt. Mobley increased his ranks and outnumbered his two cavalry troops.

What Col. Kenan did not know was the Capt. Middleton Mobley already outnumbered him. Mobley had 120 Loyalists, while Col. Kenan had fifteen men plus sixty men with Capt. John C. "Shay" Williams.

On the morning of May 13th, Col. Kenan had his men rode near Myhand's Bridge to draw the Loyalists out of their fortified camp. Mobley took the bait, and his men crossed a narrow causway leading to two bridges crossing the swamp. The first bridge had been stripped of its planks by the Loyalists to build their defensive works.

As the Loyalists came across the causeway, Capt. John C. "Shay" Williams's militia opened fire on their flank. When the Patriots began to envelope the rear of the Loyalists they began to panic - they were getting fired upon from every corner. Capt. Mobley was able to push through on their left and break out of the encirclement. The Loyalists fled down the Little Coharie, leaving three dead, two seriously wounded, and about ten men captured.

Col. Kenan's men pursued the Loyalists, but Capt. Mobley had the advantage of fighting a defensive action from a tangled, irregular, and deep swamp, with only a small, horse-wide path leading down the side of the Little Coharie Creek.

The Patriots had several men wounded, and Capt. Williams lost a man when a "serpent which attacked from a Tree," and frightened his horse. The man was bitten about the face and shoulders. Col. Kenan's men pulled back and pillaged the Loyalist camp, drinking a large quantity of rum.

The infantry of Capt. Williams's company followed the Loyalists to Boykin's Plantation without orders to do so or even telling anyone. They used canoes, dugouts, or small boats to cross the creek. When they arrived at the plantation they found themselves greatly outnumbered, and they withdrew while the Loyalists plundered Boykin's home.

Capt. Mobley's men destroyed the blacksmith shop and threw a large anvil in the Coharie River. They took two of the Boykins's cows and slaughtered them in the front yard. By nightfall, the Loyalists had stolen the boats from the plantation and made their way downstream. Several of them were on foot, unable to steal a horse. The Loyalists all fled down the Coharie River and went to Wilmington to seek protection under Major James H. Craig.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. James Kenan - Commanding Officer

Duplin County Regiment of Militia detachment of two (2) known companies, led by
- Capt. Robert Merritt - 15 men
- Capt. John C. "Shay" Williams - 60 men

Capt. Middleton Mobley - Commanding Officer

120 Loyalists


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