Database

Bell's Mill.

What: Mill, landmark, Cornwallis camp before/after Guilford

Other names:

Where: 35.847402, -79.829907

Maps: [map notes]

Sources:

  • Location is shown on "Race to Dan River Map", just north of the caption "Randolph" from the online Nathaniel Greene Papers, formerly online. This is a useful but not infallible source.

  • Guilford Dudley, Pension statement:
    Having left the southern army beyond Camden on the road leading from the ferry there to Friday's Ferry on the Congaree, and returning through that town with my battalion, marched them back into North Carolina on the road General Greene marched them out, where I discharged them at the request of my officers, that they might take the nearest routes to their respective homes, determining myself to take the road leading from Pee Dee to Searcey's Ford on Deep River (where we crossed before) and thence to Chatham Courthouse, being my nearest route home. But when I got upon Little River of Pee Dee, I found the country in my front all the way to Haw River and Chatham Courthouse (on my right down along Drowning Creek and the Raft Swamp to Wilmington, on my left to Uharie Creek and the Yadkin River) in a state of insurrection and parties of armed Tories spreading themselves in every direction before me and on either flank. I nevertheless determined to push on with my baggage wagon and its valuable contents to Chatham Courthouse, not only as my best route home, but as my nearest point of safety, with only one companion in arms, a youth of nineteen years old and a cadet in Washington's regiment of cavalry. But before I got to Searcey's Ford I found we were hemmed in on every side; yet I was still determined to go on and cut my way through if possible, for there was no alternative, and retreat in any direction was equally hazardous for want of correct intelligence from some person upon whom I could rely, for they were all Tories and in arms. Crossing the ford, and leaving the wagon to come on with all expedition, I went forward with my young friend, both of us well armed with sabers and holster pistols.

    I soon fell in with the infamously celebrated Col. David Fanning, a loyalist (Tory), then and long before in the British service, and his party, lately recruited, well armed, and mounted upon the best horses the country afforded, with whom I had two rencounters [sic] in the space of little more than an hour, in the last of which I was forced to give up my baggage wagon with many valuable effects, both public and private, and retreated up the country to Randolph Old Courthouse, in a direction quite contrary to that I wished to go, and chased for about six miles by the party, when they had to decline the pursuit owing to the fleetness of our horses. Finding myself at the courthouse upon the old trading road leading from Hillsboro to Salisbury, I turned down it to the east and reached Bell's Mill on Deep River, three miles below, where I lodged in secret that night, being surrounded at that time by Tories in arms on every side, having traveled sixty miles that day, twenty of which was with my baggage wagon.

    Rising at daybreak the next morning, instead of keeping the direct road down to Hillsboro, about fifty-five miles, I had to turn to my left, among three roads that centered at Bell's Mill, and, directing my course in a north direction, entered the New Garden settlement of Quakers in about sixteen or eighteen miles, considerably above Guilford Courthouse,

  • This site will likely be found on map obtainable from Randolph County Historical Society.

  • NBBAS:Three, p.133.

  • Barefoot, What sounds like the same mill is mentioned on Sandy Creek (p.376ff), but it is near Ramseur which is some 8 miles downriver from Randleman which seems to fit the description of being 13 miles below Jamestown. This is believed to be an error.

  • Sherman, "Calendar..." Search for bell's mill. 12 returns, all relevant. Described as "on the Deep River , about thirteen miles below the present Jamestown (N.C.)", "sixteen miles south of Guilford, and on the south bank of the Deep River".
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  • RevWar75   Not found

    Related sites: Searcy's Ford, Guilford Courthouse.

    Submitted by: John Robertson

    Confidence level: 3

    12-4-16