The American Revolution in North Carolina

Orton Mill & Kendal Plantation

May 11, 1776

Patriot Cdr:

Major William Davis
British Cdr:

General Sir Henry Clinton






Original County: 

Brunswick County
Present County:

Brunswick County

With the British fleet anchored offshore for two months awaiting for others coming from Ireland, both sides became quite anxious with the stalemate. General Sir Henry Clinton landed his men on the mainland of North Carolina and exercised them daily out of the range of snipers. Four companies of British Regulars were on Battery Island, four regiments on Bald Head Island, and the remainder were near Fort Johnston. Knowing that he would probably be called upon to attack Charlestown, General Clinton drilled his men in street fighting.

General Clinton decided to break the monotony and personally lead a night raid on the bridge at Orton Mill. Early on a Sunday morning the British rowed upstream for fifteen miles with muffled oars. At Patriot Brigadier General Robert Howe's home, Kendal Plantation, they pulled onshore. General Clinton wanted to destroy the home of the man who had organized the first North Carolina militia units the year before.

Upon landing the British made so much noise that the Patriot sentries heard them and killed one British soldier, Private George McIntosh, of the 44th Regiment of Foot. The sentries were also able to collect their horses and throw open the fences holding the cattle.

General Sir Henry Clinton ordered his men to fix bayonets and approach the house. His men did not find any soldiers, but they treated the women of the house quite roughly. One was shot through the hip, another stabbed with a bayonet and a third was butt-stroked with a musket. So brutal was the treatment that General Clinton later provided them with financial reimbursement.

During this raid, the British had several men wounded by the Patriots hiding in the surrounding darkness, and one British sergeant was taken prisoner.

After searching the house, the British marched on to Orton Mill, where Major William Davis commanded a detachment of ninety North Carolina Continentals. Major Davis heard them approaching and withdrew with his baggage and two swivel guns. The British burned the mill and then plundered homes along the way back to their boats. All they obtained from this raid were three horses and three cows.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Major William Davis - Commanding Officer

1st NC Regiment (Continentals) detachment of one (1) unnamed company, with ~ 90 men

Artillery - 2 swivel guns

Total Patriot Forces - 90 men


Maj. Gen. Henry Clinton - Commanding Officer

33rd Regiment of Foot, led by Brigadier General Charles, Lord Cornwallis

37th Regiment of Foot, led by Lt. Col. Robert Abercromby

44th Regiment of Foot, Light Infantry Company, led by Capt. Primrose Kennedy

Total British Forces - 900

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