Sons of American Revolution commemorate 243rd anniversary Shallow Ford battle

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2023

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The Sons of the American Revolution Bethabara Chapter of Winston-Salem hosted and commemorated the 243rd Anniversary of the Battle of the Shallow Ford at historic Huntsville Methodist Church on Oct. 14.

The overcast early morning weather with drizzling rain ceased just before 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 of the Bethabara Chapter and the N.C. Society, Sons of American Revolution (NCSSAR) once again served as emcee and he opened the ceremony by welcoming attendees prior to the presentation of colors by the NCSSAR Color Guard.

Guest speaker Jason Melius, a historic interpreter at Ft. Dobbs, discussed the challenges faced by the patriots and tories leading up to and during the American Revolution. Melius 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, Virginia, (about 160 men) marching south met three companies of North Carolina Militia from Charlotte and Salisbury (about 110 men) marching north.

They joined up with the local Surry County Militia (about 80 men). That combined force of about 350 patriots engaged and defeated a much larger force of over 500 tories who had just crossed the Shallow Ford of the Yadkin River, and headed south, to reinforce the British army commanded by Gen. Charles Cornwallis.

The battle resulted in 15 casualties, with 14 loyalists and one patriot, Captain Henry Francis of the Virginia Militia, being killed. A tombstone, at the site where he fell, honors Francis.

As described by the Sons of the American Revolution, 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.