James Dunlap

British Officer in Ferguson’s Army


Photo of likely homesite
Likely site of Dunlap’s murder in Gilbert Town (AmRevNC photograph)

Irishman James Dunlap (perhaps Dunlop) and three brothers joined the Queen’s Rangers, a Loyalist unit, in August 1776 in New York.[1] Dunlap first gained the attention of his military superiors after leading a raid on a house near Salem, N.J., that wiped out a small Patriot militia force—along with Loyalist civilians they mistook for Patriots. He served in the capture of Savannah, Ga., and then was attached to Maj. Patrick Ferguson’s campaign in western North Carolina in 1780. Dunlap was badly wounded at the Battle of Cane Creek north of modern Rutherfordton. Still recovering, he missed Ferguson’s disaster at King’s Mountain, S.C., after which he was raised to major and put in charge of a cavalry company. It conducted a brutal campaign in March 1781 against Patriot militia in South Carolina who had broken their promises to stop fighting after release from captivity. Dunlap was wounded again and himself captured. However, he was murdered on the way to prison. (Visit Gilbert Town for the rest of that story.)

More Information

[1] Crawley. The Rangers and Dunlap’s commander, Col. Robert Rogers, were featured in the TV series Turn.

Mug with an African-American soldier and the words, "Fighting for Freedom."
Mug saying "More than a minute-man," with a drawing of a Continental officer