Bear Bluff

Other names: Bear Bluff on the Waccamaw

Skirmish, Capt. Daniel Morrall vs. *Capt. Joshua Long, 1 Apr 1781

Where: 33.862222 -78.885557 Bear Bluff (JP)

Maps: [map notes]


  • Author: Terry Lipscomb, Title: "South Carolina Revolutionary Battles" - Part Ten (MS H-2-2), in the South Carolina Archives Library. Publisher: Unpublished. Pages: 27 & 28.
    At this bluff on the Waccamaw River, a company of Patriots commanded by Captain Daniel Morrall (or Murrell) was surprised in April 1781 by a large body of Tories commanded by Joshua Long. This contest was notable for the severity with which it was fought; after defending themselves to the last extremity, the Patriots were forced to capitulate, but Josias Sessions and eight other soldiers elected to swim the Waccamaw River in preference to being captured by the Tories. According to local tradition, a stray bullet from this fracas killed an elderly slave woman who was working at her 100m in a nearby farmhouse, giving rise to a haunted house legend that frightened people away from the site for decades.37" Footnote 37 Pension Accounts of Josias Sessions and John Roberts, National Archives; Audited Account of John Roberts (AA6487), South Carolina Archives; [C. B. Berry], "Bear Bluff Legend Told," undated newspaper clipping in possession of the writer; Nixonville quadrangle topographic map (15 minute series). In his pension papers, John Roberts gave the dates of both April 1 and April 21 for the action.

  • NBBAS:Three . Not found.

  • Catherine Heniford Lewis, Horry County, South Carolina, 1730-1993, p.5, 1998, U of South Carolina Press. Gives date as 1 April 1781.

  • Catherine Heniford Lewis ,"Little River",
    Daniel Morrall commanded a small band of local militia patrolling the upper reaches of the Waccamaw River. On April 1, 1781, they were engaged in one of the few Revolutionary War skirmishes in the Horry area. At Bear Bluff on the Waccamaw they engaged a band of Tories who were made to flee for their lives. The petition of John Parker for a pension several decades later lists as witnesses a number of the militiamen who were in that engagement. One of the legends of the area says that an old slave was in the house at the scene of the battle, working at her loom. She was killed by a stray bullet. At night one can hear the noise of her loom.

  • Pension application of John Roberts S18188,Transcribed by Will Graves
    That in the month of April of 1781 he was ordered to march in the Company of Captain Daniel Murrell to joined the Main Army of Marion. That on the 21st of that month while at a place called Bear Bluff on the Waccamaw River, our company was surprised by a large body of Tories, that he was, while fighting them, shot through the body and disabled ever after. That he was ordered out at this time served one month that he knew & served with Major Warden, Captain Withers, Captain Gee, and Captain Thomas Waters. His companions in arms now living with whom he served are Josias Sessions & James Stanaland. That after he was wounded (after having taken a fair shot at a Tory) he received a written discharge from Major John Warden, which is herewith forwarded.

  • Pension application of James Stanaland S18215 Transcribed by Will Graves
    That in April 1781 he was drafted as a private [for] one month & joined the Company commanded by Captain Daniel Murrell, that shortly after we were surprised by a party of the Tories commanded by one Major Benjamin Lewis at a place called Bear Bluff on the Waccamaw River, that he was there taken prisoner & paroled that not taking a Tory parole, on the 20th of August 1781 he enlisted as a private in a Regiment of Continental Dragoons commanded by Colonel Peter Horry, then at Georgetown ...

  • RevWar75 RevWar75  Not found.

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Confidence level:: 4