The American Revolution in North Carolina

Piney Bottom Creek

August 3, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Col. Thomas Wade
Loyalist Cdr:







Original County: 

Cumberland County
Present County:

Hoke County

aka Piney Bottom Massacre. Some sources assert this event happened earlier in the year. The problem is that suceeding events all seem to have happened in August of 1781. I leave it to the reader to decide.

After Major General Nathanael Greene took his army into South Carolina in April of 1781, Col. Thomas Wade and Capt. Culp of the North Carolina Militia decided it was time to return home. When they crossed McNeill's Ferry one of the men stole a piece of coarse cloth from a poor servant girl named Marren McDaniel. This insignificant piece of fabric would lead to a bloodbath.

John "Cunning John" McNeill owned the ferry and learned where the Patriots were camped for the night. He sent out his runners to call in the Loyalist militia. Within 24 hours the Loyalists had rendezvoused at the Longstreet Church and marched towards the Patriot camp.

About an hour before sunrise, the Loyalists came upon the camp of Col. Thomas Wade at Piney Bottom Creek, a branch of Rockfish Creek. All of the Patriots were asleep except for one sentry. When he saw the Loyalists he hailed them - they didn't answer. So, he hailed again, they didn't answer again, and he fired a shot of alarm.

Loyalist Duncan McCallum shot the sentinel and broke his arm. The Loyalists then charged the camp and shot down six of Col. Wade's men, the rest broke and ran, leaving everything behind, including a young lad in a wagon. He pleaded for his life, but Duncan Ferguson rode up to him and split his skull with his broadsword. For a small piece of cloth.

The wagons were plundered and burned, the officers took all the money, and the men took everything they could carry. Two days later, the Loyalists returned and took away the wheels and anything made of iron. The piece of cloth was taken from a corpse and returned to Marren McDaniel.

In his 1832 pension application, Matthew Covington (S2444) indicated that this engagement occurred much earlier in 1781, and included Col. Abel Kolb of the neighboring South Carolina Cheraw District - who was murdered at his own home on April 26, 1781.

"Declarant states that about this time Colonel Culb & Colonel Wade were engaged in removing their property into the interior of North Carolina for safety and were attacked and defeated by the Tories at Piney Bottom in Cumberland County."

This version seems to be more accurate than the one above, except for succeeding events.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. Thomas Wade - Commanding Officer of the Anson County Regiment of Militia

Capt. Culp (possibly Col. Abel Kolb of SC)

Unknown militia, with unknown number of men

Unknown number of Loyalists, led by Unknown



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