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American Revolutionary War Battles

The Battle of Little Raft Swamp

September 1, 1781 at Little Raft Swamp, North Carolina

Facts about the Battle of Little Raft Swamp

  • Armies - American Forces was commanded by Col. Thomas Wade and consisted of about 420 Soldiers. British Forces was commanded by Col. David Fanning and consisted of about 225 Soldiers.
  • Casualties - American casualties were about 19 killed and 54 missing/captured. British casualties were 5 wounded.
  • Outcome - The result of the battle was a British victory.
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Battle Begins

On September 1, Colonel David Fanning and 155 Loyalists had come to the assistance of Colonel Hector McNeil and his 70 militia. Their scouts found that Colonel Thomas Wade was camped on a hill that was in between the Little Raft Swamp and the Lumber River. Wade's men were deployed into a line facing the swamp, expecting an attack at any moment from that direction.

Around 11:00 A.M., Fanning was almost in position when one of his Loyalist fell from their horse and fired off his weapon. Wade's men saw the Loyalists and fired at them. The mounted Loyalists got off their horses and fired as they advanced up the hill towards Wade's line of battle. Much of the shots from the Patriots went over the heads of the Loyalists.

When the Loyalists were within 25 yards of the Patriot line, Wade decided that he had had enough. He had his men disperse back towards Beatti's Bridge and towards the trap that Fanning had prepared. The small force at the ambush site was easily pushed away by the retreating Patriots as they fled across the Lumber River. The Loyalists pursued the Patriots for 7 miles, managing to capture 54 men and 250 horses.

The battle lasted for 2 hours. Fanning paroled all of the prisoners except for 30 men, who he sent to Wilmington. Fanning's force headed back to Cox's Mill on the Deep River.