Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Joseph Graham Describes Ramsour’s Mill (2)

This is the first of several posts that describes, verbatim, Joseph Graham's account of the battle of Ramsour’s Mill. The account is illustrated with military miniatures and a miniature version of the battlefield. For background information on the battlefield, see Joseph Graham's description.

In brief, according to Graham, a large body of Loyalists (or "Tories") had organized at Ramsour's Mill and were attacked on the morning of June 20, 1780 by American (or "Whig") militia. The Americans were outnumbered, but they expected to take the Loyalists by surprise. Graham's account of the fighting (below), begins with the Americans advancing along the Tuckaseegee Ford Road towards the Loyalist pickets.


“The companies of Captains Falls, M’Dowell and Brandon being mounted, the other troops, under Colonel Locke, were arranged in the road two deep behind them; and without any other organization or orders they were marched to battle. When the horsemen came within sight of the picquet they plainly perceived that their approach had not been anticipated. The picquet fired and fled towards their camp. The horsemen pursued, and turning to the right out of the road they rode up within thirty steps of the line and fired at the Tories…”

The Whig horsemen Pursue the Picket Towards the Tory Encampment. The Tories are shown above in a line of battle for reasons of convenience; they were in fact ill prepared to receive an attack.

“…, who, being in confusion, had not completely formed their line; but seeing only a few men assailing them, they quickly recovered from their panic and poured in a destructive fire which obliged the horsemen to retreat.”

The Whig Horsemen Are Repulsed.

“They retreated in disorder, passing through the infantry who were advancing; several of the infantry joined them and never came into action. At a convenient distance the greater part of the horsemen rallied, and returning to the fight exerted themselves with spirit during its continuance. The infantry hurried to keep near the horsemen in their pursuit of the picquet, and their movements being very irregular, their files were open six or eight steps, and when the front approached the Tories the rear was an hundred and sixty yards back. The Tories, seeing the effect of their fire, came down the hill a little distance and were in fair view. The infantry of the Whigs kept the road to the point between the glade and the corner of the fence opposite the centre of the Tories. Here the action was renewed.”

“The Action Was Renewed.” The Tories, coming down the hill, encounter the front rank of the Whig infantry. The rear rank is approaching at lower right.

“The front fired several times before the rear came up. The Tories being on their left, they deployed to the right in front of the glade, and came into action without order or system. In some places they were crowded together in each other's way; in other places there were none. As the rear came up they occupied those places, and the line gradually extending, the action became general and obstinate on both sides.”

The Whig infantry Advance Along the Edge of the Glade.

“The Action Became General and Obstinate”


  1. Yet another great post.

    I'm enjoying the series.