The American Revolution in North Carolina

Richmond & Cumberland Counties

August 9-12, 1781

Patriot Cdr:

Col. Thomas Wade
Loyalist Cdr:







Original County: 

Richmond County/
Cumberland County
Present County:

Richmond County/
Cumberland County

Col. Thomas Wade and his Patriots continued their search for the Loyalists who had participated in the Piney Bottom massacre on August 3rd. In Richmond County they camped at the home of Daniel Patterson, who lived on Drowning Creek. He was an old man who played the bagpipes. Col. Wade's men beat the old man until he told them the names of all that took part in the massacre the week before.

The next day, the Patriots crossed the creek and went to Kenneth Clarke's house. There, they caught Alexander McLeod, and after looking in a potato field they captured John Clarke, Daniel McMillan, Duncan Currie, Allen McSweene, and an Irish deserter from the British army who was wearing a red coat. Out of all the prisoners, only McMillan and Currie had been at Piney Bottom Creek.

Around sunset, Capt. Patrick Boggan and his Light Horse Company arrived and ordered the prisoners to be put to death. He and his men had not found any Loyalists, but they had found some alcohol and they were all drunk. Since the boy murdered at Piney Bottom was killed with a sword, Capt. Boggan wanted all of these men executed the same way.

When his drunken men began slashing from horseback with their swords, the Loyalists all ducked and dodged, and then ran. Alexander McLeod was hit with three musket balls and died on the spot. Kenneth Clarke was shot, but he was able to run inside his home, where he died. Duncan Currie was shot and killed while trying to cross a fence. Daniel McMillan came into the house begging for his life. His shirt was on fire due to a musket blast being fired into his shoulder. Another musket ball had broken his arm and he been hit in three other places. He was given no mercy and then shot in the chest.

Allen McSweene tried to hide behind his wife, who was holding a child in her arms. She was yanked away from him. McSweene had his hands tied, but he was still able to run out a door and out-distance his captors to some nearby woods. He was caught about a quarter of a mile away, shot several times, and then his head was split open to the nose with a sword.

The Patriots told old Mr. Clarke to have all the bodies buried by the next evening or they would kill him, too. Col. Wade's men took the British deserter with them and killed him sometime during the night. The next day, a Sunday, Col. Wade and his men went to David Buchan's home, but not finding him there they set fire to it.

They then went to old Kenneth Black's home. Black and his son were hiding, but were found by Capt. Culp, who brought them back to the house. They tortured the old man by beating him or slapping him with their swords and screwing his thumb in a gunlock. Either Black knew nothing or he wasn't talking because they got nothing new out of him.

The Patriots then rode their horses into the house and crowded the Black family into the chimney area. Some went searching for some "light wood" to burn the house. Others found two large chests belonging to some British officers who had entrusted their belongings to Black while they were on active duty. One chest was filled with chinaware, which was smashed. The other chest was full of books, which were thrown on the floor and cut apart.

Flora McDonald, the famous Scottish heroine, lived four miles away. Two of her daughters came over at that time and were surprised to find their friend's home filled with men on horseback. The Patriots grabbed the girls' jewelry, then placing a sword to their breasts they split open their dresses and had them both stripped.

Mrs. Black saw one man sitting on his horse not plundering or taking part in the thievery, and she asked him why he was doing nothing. He told her that she had nothing he wanted - he was the father of the boy killed at Piney Bottom Creek. She then told them all that her family had just gotten over the Smallpox and that all of the Patriots had just handled everything still covered with the pox.

The men threw down the stolen items and took Kenneth Black to guide them to Mr. Ray's house. Many wanted to kill Mr. Black, but Capt. Culp would not let them. The raiders split into two groups - one went to Alexander Graham's house and the other went to Alexander Black's house. Graham had Smallpox. Black was murdered.

At Rockfish Creek, Capt. Culp rode ahead to McLain's house. McLain was a friend and known not to have been involved in the massacre at Piney Bottom Creek. He ordered his men to keep riding.

The next Loyalist house they came to was owned by Peter Blue. They captured both Blue and Archibald McBride and shot them. Blue was wounded and McBride was killed. McBride was on parole and had not been at Piney Bottom Creek - his crime was staying at the house of a man who had been at the massacre.

The Patriots finally felt that they had avenged the boy and they disbanded. The violence was not over yet. A mulatto man named Turner followed Capt. Culp to his home. Turner yelled for Culp to come out or they would burn him out. He did come out with his sons on his arms begging for their father's life. Culp was shot to death anyway and his house was burned to the ground as well.

The bloody civil war in the Carolinas continued.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. Thomas Wade - Commanding Officer

Capt. Patrick Boggan

Capt. Culp - killed

Richmond County Militia - unknown number of men

Montgomery County Militia - unknown number of men






Daniel Patterson

Kenneth Clarke

Alexander McLeod

John Clarke

Daniel McMillan

Duncan Currie

Allen McSweene

Kenneth Black & Family

2 Daughters of Flora McDonald

Alexander Black

Mulatto Turner

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