Battle of Shallow Ford helped shape history

Published 12:55 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2023

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By Allen Mollere

for the SAR

On Oct, 14, the Sons of The American Revolution (SAR) Bethabara Chapter of Winston-Salem commemorated the 243rd anniversary of the Battle of the Shallow Ford at historic Huntsville Methodist Church in Huntsville.

The overcast early morning weather with drizzling rain ceased just prior to the event and the guests, SAR compatriots, and DAR representatives in attendance, who drove through rain from across the state to attend, were treated to an elaborate ceremony.

SAR Compatriot Fred Learned (Past President Bethabara Chapter and Past President of NCSSAR) once again served as emcee and he opened the ceremony by welcoming attendees prior to Presentation of Colors by the NCSSAR Color Guard.

Guest speaker Jason Melius, historic interpreter at Ft. Dobbs, provided a talk on the times and challenges faced by the Patriots and Torries leading up to and during the American Revolution. He also provided an update on the progress at the historic Shallow Ford site.

Attendees were reminded that the Battle of the Shallow Ford took place on Oct. 14, 1780, one week after the Battle of Kings Mountain.

It was at the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin River where Patriot forces consisting of four companies of militia from Montgomery County, Va., (about 160 men) marching south met three companies of North Carolina Militia from Charlotte and Salisbury (about110 men) marching north. They joined with the local Surry County Militia (about 80 men).

This combined force of about 350 Patriots engaged and defeated a much larger force of more than 500 Torries who had just crossed the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin River, and headed south, to reinforce the British army commanded by Col. Cornwallis. The battle resulted in 15 casualties, with 14 Loyalists and one Patriot, Captain Henry Francis of the Virginia Militia, losing their lives. (A tombstone, at the site where he fell, honors Francis.)

The combined Patriot victories over the Tories at Kings Mountain and the Shallow Ford, helped turn the hearts and minds of the War for America’s Independence in North Carolina to the Patriots’ advantage.

The SAR is the leading male lineage society that perpetuates the ideals of the war for independence. As a historical, educational, and patriotic organization, it seeks to maintain and expand the meaning of patriotism, respect for national symbols, the value of American citizenship.