Inscription. In a Battle, September 13, 1781, Four Miles Southwest, Butler's Whigs Failed to Rescue Governor Burke From Fanning's Tories.
By Paul Jordan, May 1, 2010
|1. Lindley's Mill Marker|
Erected 1939 by State Historical Commission. (Marker Number G 21.)
Location. 35° 54.434′ N, 79° 18.453′ W. Marker is in Snow Camp, North Carolina, in Alamance County. Marker is on NC Highway 87 South near East Greensboro-Chapel Hill Road, on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Travel South from Graham on NC Highway 87. The marker is on the left side of the road. Look for it before the intersection with the yellow caution light at the Eli Whitney Community. The marker is just before you pass Carly's Cafe and Bakery. Carly's is a local favorite for breakfast and lunch. Marker is in this post office area: Snow Camp NC 27349, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Uncle Eli's Quilting Party (approx. 0.4 miles away); Ernest Peter Dixon (approx. one mile away); The Battle of Lindley's Mill Memorial (approx. 1.1 miles away); Spring Friends Meeting (approx. 1.1 miles away); General John Butler (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Battle of Lindley's Mill (approx. 2.4 miles away); September 13, 1781 (approx. 2.4 miles away); Saxapahaw (approx. 2.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Snow Camp.
By Paul Jordan, May 1, 2010
|2. Lindley's Mill Marker at Intersection, Looking North|
Regarding Lindley's Mill. Lindley's Mill was a gristmill built in 1755 by Thomas Lindley, an Irish immigrant. The mill is in operation today and owned by a descendant of Thomas Lindley. Flour is available at the mill and sold at select local stores.
The Battle of Lindley's Mill, also known as the Battle of Cane Creek, was fought September 13, 1781. It was the largest engagement of North Carolina’s “Tory War” and was fought near Thomas Lindley’s mill on Cane Creek.
Loyalist Colonel David Fanning, leader of the Loyalist militia in central North Carolina, had received approval from British authorities in Wilmington to attack the state capital at Hillsborough. With nearly 700 men, he advanced on Hillsborough, in Orange County, NC. He attacked at dawn on September 12, 1781, taking advantage of a heavy fog. Sleeping Hillsborough was taken by surprise and 200 prisoners were captured, including most of the General Assembly and Governor Thomas Burke.
After their victory, Fanning and his men, left for Wilmington with their prisoners.
News of the battle reached Brigadier General John Butler of the North Carolina militia that evening. Butler, who had led North Carolina militia at Guilford Courthouse, quickly organized men from Orange County to intercept the Tory force.
Butler’s men, numbering approximately 400, arrived ahead of Fanning at Lindley’s Mill, near a ford across Cane Creek on a plateau overlooking Stafford’s Branch.
On the morning of September 13, as the Loyalists crossed, the militia fired a musket volley from the tree line on the opposite bank tore into their ranks.
The Loyalists charged toward the Whig position, Colonel McNeil was among the first shot and killed.
Fanning ordered the prisoners to be sheltered in the Spring Friends Meeting House in the rear of the battle. Although outnumbered, the Whigs advanced, pressing the head of the Tory column back toward the chapel. Their goal was probably to free Burke and the other prisoners.
Fanning then organized an assault that flanked Butler’s men, threatening to surround his forces. Just as he began driving Butler’s men from the field, Fanning received a serious wound in his arm. He left the forces in McDougald’s command and retired from the field of battle.
Butler's men, outnumbered and outmaneuvered, retreated. Fanning’s column continued on to Wilmington with the prisoners.
That night, local Quakers collected the dead and wounded on the field. Whig casualties consisted of 25 killed, 90 wounded and 10 captured. Tories lost 27 killed and 90 wounded.
Surgeons from the surrounding countryside were called upon to care for the wounded.
One of these surgeons was Dr. John Pyle, who earlier that year had led his Loyalist militia regiment into an ambush at Pyle’s Defeat. Putting aside his earlier allegiances, Pyle worked tirelessly for the injured of both sides. In return, Governor Alexander Martin pardoned him at war’s end.
Portions of remarks courtesy of North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program.
Additional keywords. Battle of Cane Creek, Graham, Mebane, Mebanesville, Hillsboro, American Revolutionary War, Regulators, Hillsborough
Credits. This page originally submitted on May 1, 2010, by Paul Jordan of Burlington, N. C., U. S. A.. This page has been viewed 1,576 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 1, 2010, by Paul Jordan of Burlington, N. C., U. S. A.. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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