Overmountain Victory Trail Association

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Joseph Graham captures prisoners at Shallow Ford On February 7, 1781, Some hours after the British army had crossed at Shallow Ford and moved on. 20 North Carolina militia cavalry, under Capt. Joseph Graham, were following a column of British troops as they were crossing the Yadkin River. The Patriots turned back from the main column and discovered a group of stragglers. Graham ordered his troops to attack them. The stragglers were quickly overcome, Graham captured six loyalists, and killed one Hessian in their wake. and some managing to escape. Joseph Graham: The American cavalry was mortified at coming so far and achieving nothing [i.e. the British had already crossed Shallow Ford the previous evening]. It was decided that twenty of those best mounted, under command of the Captain [Joseph Graham], should, after divesting themselves of their marks of distinction, pass the river. The Lieutenant was ordered to draw up the others at the ford, to cover their retreat, if pursued, and to place videttes on the roads some distance in his rear, lest some parties of Tories might be following the Americans. The party went over, saw several men whom they did not molest, and who, on being questioned, made professions of loyalty to the King and showed their protections. After going about three miles, the two soldiers who were kept in advance about one hundred yards, made signal of seeing the enemy. When Captain Graham came up, he saw about fifty dragoons, marching slowly in compact order. He followed them for two miles unperceived, but finding that they kept the same order, it was thought imprudent to go further, as the country that they were in was reputed to be favorable to the British. Returning about a mile, the Americans discovered three men in red coats, who fled, but being directly run down, surrendered. On proceeding further, they met a Hessian and a Briton, who also fled. On being overtaken, the Briton surrendered, but the Hessian held his piece at a charge and would not give up. He was cut down and killed. Before reaching the ford, the Americans took two armed Tories, who were following them. Having killed one and taken six prisoners, the party re-crossed the ford.