Friday, January 17, 2014

Silas Wooten's service during the Revolutionary War

I am reading a book by Stewart E. Dunaway called Colson's Plantation Cross Road in the American Revolution.  The book is a welcome addition to my collection of Revolutionary War books because it does not deal with the details of battle.  Rather it deals with the massive efforts that it took to feed and clothe an army and with the methods that Gen Greene used to make his plans.....ordering rivers to be surveyed, roads, etc....It begins with the fact that Gen Greene was not very excited to be sent south.  On getting to the south he was appalled at the condition of the army in the south.  And he immediately set about trying to get his army fed and clothed.

I will at a later time add Silas' pension and where and what he did .....and under whom he served.  But I didn't want to loose a thought that I was reading in the book.  But I will add the information about Silas' discharge:

1781 Silas Wooten was discharged on April 1, 1781 in Caswell County , NC

(this is from page 27 of Dunaway's book)  "After the famous battle at Guilford Courthouse (which the British won), the Patriot forces retreat to Troublesome Iron Works (today Rockingham County) where they established a camp and hospital." (During the Revolution this would still have been in Guilford County north of where the battle had taken place. )

 Greene remains at the camp from March 16-20th, and then starts a move to the south.  He camps at "South Buffalo" for several days......

I did not find a good map explaining where this is and will try to add something about south Buffalo later....

I found an excerpt from the book  The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies by David Lee Russell at's+Mill+as+location+for+Greene's+army&source=bl&ots=X9YB8Kg66F&sig=FBW9WnvF7gn61VnHlMu6Scnv2y0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tkfZUoa3GY2osASw04GIBg&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Ramsey's%20Mill%20as%20location%20for%20Greene's%20army&f=false

This information is taken from page 235.

It says:  "Greene's army pursued Cornwallis through heavy rains and along muddy roads, reaching Buffalo Creek on March 22, and Rigdon's Ford on the Deep River by the 26th.  The patriots were traveling through country full of loyalists and food was scarce.  On the 27th Greene was informed that the Virginia and North Carolina militia had agreed to their enlistment for six weeks, which unfortunately had started from the day of their initial gathering, not the day they joined the American cause officially.  This meant that Greene had only four days left with most of his militia.  Greene pleaded with them to stay, but most were determined to go home.  Those who did stay indicated they would stay at their own pleasure, and could leave at any point......Important news arrived that the British were at Ramsey's Mill on Deep River, only 12 miles away from their location at Rigdon's Ford, and on the same side of the River.  Greene reached Ramsey's Mill on the 28th, only to find that the British had bridged the river and were miles away to the south.  .....Greene decided to allow his army to rest and recuperate at Ramsey's Mill.

Note in the below map that Ramsey's Mill is in Chatham County, NC .  Remember that Ramsey's Mill was only 12 miles from Rigdon's Ford (would this have been west of Ramsey's Mill?)   It is my guess that at this time the Virginia militia were very unhappy to be moving farther south and farther from home.

and the from the book  Life of Nathanael Greene Vol 3 by George Washington Greene that is an ebook and can be read at:'s+Ford+on+the+Deep+River&source=bl&ots=Pe4Anqmoa3&sig=pAYYN6RA4up9yXNI0plre4q5o6s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=lljZUrHGNpT6rAHtqYD4BQ&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Rigdon's%20Ford%20on%20the%20Deep%20River&f=false

"....If measures are not taken to furnish us with provisions immediately, we shall be compelled to fall back."  Another obstacle arose.  The militia, in spite of commands, remonstrances, and threats, had recklessly wasted their ammunition.  It took a day to bring it up from the rear, and it was a day lost.  Greene feared that Cornwallis might escape him.  The roads were deep, the rains frequent and heavy, provision hard to obtain, and good intelligence still harder, for the region through which his route lay was deeply disaffected.  Still he pressed on.  The 26th found him on the march from Cane Creek to Rigdon's Ford, on the Deep River.....But now came the severest of disappointment of all. On the 23rd he had written to Jefferson about the necessity of calling out a fresh body of militia to take the place of those whose terms of service were about to expire.  On the 27th he wrote to him that , counting their time from the day of their "embodiment in their different counties," not from that of their entrance into active service, they insisted upon being permitted to set out on their way home in season to reach it by the expiration of their term of service.  .....Their might still be one hope left.  There might still be the chance to fight before the evil hour came.  On the 27th he  was at Rigdon's Ford where he hoped to cross the Deep River in time to attack the enemy on their march.  But word came that they were still at Ramsay's Mill, twelve miles below.  Disencumbering himself of everything that could impede his advance, he "put his army in motion without loss of time, firmly believing that Cornwallis would fight again. "  But Cornwallis had secured the passage of the river by throwing a bridge across it, and on the 28th, when Greene came up, was already on its right bank, though Lee pressed too close on his rear to give him time to destroy his bridge.  Everything around bore witness to the precipitation of the retreat.  Some of the British dead were lying unburied by the wayside, and the Americans buried them.  Beef was still hanging in quarters in the slaughter pens, and the hungry Americans ate it eagerly; and still ravenous for food, seized upon the garbage that had been thrown aside for the turkey buzzards.

On the next day Greene wrote to Governor Nash, from Ramsay's Mill:  "The enemy are on the way to Cross Creek, and probably to Wilmington.  I wish it was in my power to pursue them further; but want of provisions, and a considerable part of the Virginia militia's time of service being expired, will prevent our further pursuit.  The greatest advantages are often lost by short terms of service.

Dunaway in his Colson's Plantation says:  Greene with his ragtag forces, of which the militia basically disappeared.....

 Ramsey’s Mill, on the site of the present Lockville dam, canal and powerhouse, three miles north of the confluence of the Deep and Haw rivers, provided a campsite for the forces of General Charles Cornwallis. Following the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1871, during the course of the British retreat to Wilmington, the army camped at Ramsey’s Mill. Although General Nathanael Greene’s forces initially pursued them, Cornwallis and his men escaped them and hastily continued to British-controlled Wilmington. 

Location:  SR 1011 (Old US 1) at SR 1012 (Moncure Road) at Moncure.  In Chatham County

ID: H-18
Marker Title: RAMSEY'S MIL
Location: SR 1011 (Old US 1) at SR 1012 (Moncure Road) at Moncure
County: Chatham

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