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Battle of Clapp's Mill

by Michael Hill, 1992.
Research Branch, NC Office of Archives and History, 2006.

Near Clapp’s Mill on Beaver Creek not far from the Alamance battlefield, Col. Henry Lee’s Legion, supported by local militia and some Catawba Indians, surprised the mounted cavalry of Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton in a well-planned ambush on March 2, 1781. As soon as the confusion resulting from the first American volley was brought under control, Tarleton retired to cover and deployed his troops. With the heavy fire, the American second line became panic-stricken and retreated. Tarleton chose not to pursue. The British suffered twenty-one casualties while the Americans had eight. The fighting preceded by four days the skirmish at Weitzel’s Mill, northeast of Greensboro. 

Most of what is known about the encounter derives from the account of Joseph Graham, a member of Lee’s Legion. Lee and fellow officer Otho Williams apparently planned a major engagement at Clapp’s Mill that did not develop. The major battle would take place less than two weeks later at Guilford Courthouse

In 1898 J. M. Bandy, a local historian, retraced the route taken by the British troops enroute to Guilford Courthouse. Accompanied by Joseph Whitsett and other older men of the community, Bandy identified the site of Clapp’s Mill about one mile southwest of the Holt factory at Alamance and three miles northwest of the site of the Battle of Alamance. Signs of the old dam and race were visible in 1898 but evidence of the mill itself had by that time disappeared. In recent years a reservoir has been built atop portions of the battlefield. 


Carole Watterson Troxler and William Murray Vincent, Shuttle and Plow: A History of Alamance County, North Carolina (1999) 

Hugh F. Rankin, The North Carolina Continentals (1971) 

William Henry Hoyt, ed., The Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, II (1914), pp. 280-285 

J. M. Bandy, “Cornwallis in Guilford County, 1781: Clapp’s Mill and Weitzell’s Mill,” Guilford Genealogist, vol. 9, no. 3 (Spring 1982), pp. 17-21 

Alamance County: The Legacy of Its People and Places (1984)

Origin - location: 



I am descendant of Ludwig Clapp (his daughter Anna Margarita married George Ingle). Believe Clapp's received a land grant from King George III along the Beaver & know the Ingle's received a land grant from the King along the Little Alamance Creek. I'm trying to discover whether any of my Ingle ancestors fought in the Battle of Clapp's Mill. I know my ancestor Barnabus (Capt Barney) Ingle (buried at Brick Church) fought in Revolutionary War but not sure if at Clapp's Mill.


I am tracing my Clapp family tree. What other things are known about Clapps Mill?


Hi Maureen, I'm also a Clapp descendant. How far back have you traced your Clapp's? Johann Ludwig Clapp was my G-G-G-G-G-G-G Grandfather. His daughter Anna Margarita Clapp married George Ingle.


My grandfather Jonh Gillespie fought in the battle of Clapps Mill. He was shot
But bullet richoed and struck and killed his brother-in-law Harvey. John moved with his family and Reese's Bowen's (kings mountain backwoods Va Miiltia leader) brother robert Bowen, to SC where john
Made the gillespie long riffle,

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