General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Benjamin Carroll

Benjamin Carroll  was born in 1753 in Orange county Nc. In 1780, Carroll joined the Orange county Nc Militia. In September, 1780, Carroll participated in a skirmish on the Catawba River called the battle of Island Flats NC, where the patriots were defeated by the British. The Catawba River had been the scene of many skirmishes between the settlers and Indians  and later the British army. In January 1781,  Carroll was apart of Nathaniel Greene's camp at Sherrill Ford NC.
    On February 1, 1781, Carroll was apart of the 500 man militia under General William Davidson at the battle of Cowan Ford. Here British General Cornwallis defeated Davidson, mainly due to the patriots  being outnumbered and 250 of them had no flints to fire their muskets. Davidson was shot in the forehead and killed. Davidson's body was later found naked and mutilated with bayonet wounds. In 2001, Davidson's wallet was found by a British family whose ancestor had taken the wallet. The wallet was later returned to the United States.
 The next day On February 2, 1781, Carroll participated in the battle of Torrence Tavern. Here Tarleton of the found the Nc militia in a drunken stupor over their defeat at Cowan Ford. One British soldier shouted" Rember the Cowpens", and attacked. Captain Salathial Martin, tried to rally the patriots. The Nc Militia fought back one bayonet charge, but was later forced to retreat when Salathial Martin's horse was shot out from under him, falling on top of Martin. Fearing Martin was dead, most of the Nc militia began to flee. Martin was not killed, but was captured by the British.  Another reason for the militia defeat was due to the gunpowder being wet from the torrential rain storms in the area that occurred during those two days of fighting.
        On March 15, 1781,  Carroll partipcated in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Carroll was part of the 1060 man NC militia positioned on the first line of defense. Part of the NC militia consisted of of former loyalists who were being forced to fight or be hanged The British 71st Highlander regiment began a bayonet charge. The NC Militia fired its first volley and over half of the British 71st Highlander regiment was killed . the NC militia fired another volley and fled at the on coming British army. the NC militia began to flee. Some of the Nc militia such as Salathial Martin couldn't understand why the NC militia was fleeing. Martin had been at Kings Mountain, and didn't flee from the 3 bayonet charges that occurred there. The Americans lost the battle of Guilford courthouse , but not until they killed one fourth of the British army there that day. The Americans could have won if American General Greene had thrown both flanks against British Commanders, Ohare and Leslie during  a moment of confusion that occurred on the battlefield after the British attacked the Continental third line.
      On September 8, 1781, Carroll participated in the Battle of Eutaw Springs. Carroll was apart of the first line of defense. A British bayonet charge broke up the NC  militia first line of defense causing them to flee. The British were winning the battle until the NC continental line brought some order to the battlefield. Eutaw Springs ended in a tactical draw and became the bloodiest battle fought in South Carolina. 139 patriots were killed with 375 wounded. The British had 85 killed and 351 wounded.
   Carroll was sent to Charleston in 1782 where he was discharged at the Ashley River. Carroll returned back to Orange county NC  where he died on January 31, 1846.

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