Last week I was enrolled in the “Son’s Of The American Revolution” and I thought it fitting to relate a family story about my 5G Grandfather, William Murrill and an action he was involved in during our Revolutionary War. This event was passed down through the family and recorded in the diary of a 3G Uncle of mine, James Buckner “Buck” Barry, and later copyrighted and published as “Buck Barry, Texas Ranger And Frontiersman”. I have used family history and this book as my references.
As heavy gunfire erupted on the other side of the large pond, the 20, man detail of Colonial soldiers from Onslow County, North Carolina, started sprinting towards the skirmish. “Tony stay here and guard the pack horses,” William Murrill shouted as he ran past Tony, a family slave, who was assisting the small unit that was on a prolonged scout, along the coast, for rations and supplies.
The firing grew in intensity and was sustained for, to Tony, it seemed hours, when he saw 2 Redcoats enter the water and swim towards him and the prize of horses and supplies he was guarding. Thinking that William’s unit had been wiped out he quickly hid behind a tree and kept a close watch on the 2 enemy soldiers. When they came within gunshot range of the camp and saw the horses, they ducked behind a log in the water, trying to hide.
Soon William and his victorious unit returned with no prisoners, but they carried the booty from the British camp, which included whiskey and William’s brother, my 5G Uncle, Kemp Murrill proceeded to get himself drunk on the spoils. Tony told William about the Redcoats hiding behind the log in the pond. William immediately ordered them to come up to camp with their hands over their heads.
As they were coming into camp, Kemp and another drunk were going to shoot the prisoners, but William took their guns away preventing a killing. Years later, Tony told Buck Barry, then a young boy, that they kept the prisoners for 2 days but he never saw them again.
Feelings were real hard then!
Authors note. Tony served with William for the duration of the war.