Saturday, December 29, 2007

Col. Davie, re: Hanging Rock, August 1780

From William R. Davie, The Revolutionary War Sketches of William R. Davie, Blackwell P. Robinson, editor (Raleigh, North Carolina Dept. of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History. 1976):

    Major Davie's detachment consisted of 40 mounted riflemen and about that number of Dragoons, and considering himself obliged to alarm the enemy in their camp at all events the same day, he approached the Hanging Rock about 1 o'clock, and fortunately while he was reconoitering their position to fix upon the point of attack, He received information that three companies of their mounted infantry returning from some excursion, had halted at a farmer's house, situated in full view of the camp. The House was placed in the point of a right angle made by a lane of staked and ridered fence; the one end of which opened to the enemy's encampment, the other terminated in the woods, the Major advanced on that next to the woods, and as the riflemen were not distinguishable from the Loyalists, they were sent round to the other end of the lane with orders on gaining it, to rush forward & fire on the enemy. The dragoons were divided so that one half could occupy the lane while the other half entered the field. This disposition was made with such promptitude that the attention or suspicion of the enemy was never excited, the rifle company under Capt Flenniken passed the camp sentries without being challenged, dismounted in the lane and gave the enemy a well directed fire. The astonished Loyalists fled instantly the other way, and were immediately charged by the dragoons in full gallop and driven back in great confusion; on meeting again the fire of the infantry they all rushed against the angle of the fence where they were surrounded by the dragoons who had entered the field and literally cut to pieces: as this was done under the eye of the whole British camp no prisoners could be safely taken which may apologize for the slaughter that took place on this occasion. They took sixty valuable Horses with their furniture and one hundred muskets and rifles; the whole camp beat to arms but the business was done and the Detachment out of their reach before they recovered from their consternation.