Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. II., Chapter XV.







The Allamance. – Factory Labor. – Regulator Battle-ground. – Greensborough. – Fire in Greensborough. – The Guilford Battle-ground. – Gates superseded by Greene. – Greene’s Arrival in Carolina. – Courtesy of Gates. – Disposition of the belligerent Armies. – Greene in Co-operation with Morgan. – Conference of the Commanders. – Battle at Ramsour’s Mills. – General Rutherford. – Morgan pursued by Cornwallis. – Narrow Escape of the former. – Passage of the Catawba by Cornwallis’s Army. – Success of the British. – Death of General Davidson. – British Account of the Conflict. – Queen’s Museum. – Dispersion of the Militia. – Commencement of Greene’s Retreat. – His Passage of the Yadkin. – Cornwallis again foiled. – The Trading Ford. – Numbers of the two Armies. – Passage of the Yadkin by Cornwallis. – His March resumed. – Greene’s Resolution to continue his Retreat. – Light Army organized. – Colonel Williams. – Line of March. – Death of Lee’s Bugler. – A Skirmish and Race. – Efforts of both Parties to reach the Dan. – Greene’s Passage across the Dan. – Passage of the whole Army. – Disappointment of Cornwallis. – Preparations to Recross the Dan. – March of the Army toward Guilford. – Maneuvers of the Belligerents. – Skirmish on Reedy Fork. – Augmentation of the American Army. – Disposition of the two Armies. – Skirmish at New Garden Meeting-house. – Defeat of Tarleton. – Lee driven back by the main British Army. – Disposition of the American Army at Guilford. – Plan of the Battle. – Approach of the British. – Commencement of the Battle. – Flight of the Carolinians. – Bravery of the Virginians and Marylanders. – General Stevens. – Retreat of Marylanders. – Washington’s Charge. – Junction of British Regiments. – Cornwallis’s victorious Blow. – End of the Battle. – Retreat of the Americans. – View of the Battle-ground. – Loss of the Combatants. – Effect of the Battle. – Withdrawal of Cornwallis. – Pursued by Greene. – American Women at Prayer. – Cornwallis’s March to Wilmington. – Pursued by Green. – Greene’s Approach to Camden. – New Garden Meeting-house. – Quaker Marriage. – A Centenarian Preacher. – His Blessing. – Jamestown. – Ridge Roads. – Journey to the Yadkin. – Salisbury. – A Night with a Cotton-planter near Concord. – A Patriot’s Grave at the Red Hills. – Picturesque Scenery. – Arrival at Charlotte. – Ancient Church and Congregation. – Colonel Polk’s Mill. – The People of Mecklenburg. – Scheme for a Republican Assembly. – A Convention called. – Officers of the Convention. – Speakers on the Occasion. – Preamble and Resolutions. – Autographs of the Mecklenburg Committee. – Resolutions adopted by the Mecklenburg Convention. – Mecklenburg Resolutions dispatched to Philadelphia and Hillsborough. – Action concerning them. – History of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. – Movements of Cornwallis and his Subordinates. – Colonel Polk suspected. – General William R. Davis. – Cornwallis’s March toward Charlotte. – Operations of the Americans against him. – Skirmish at Charlotte. – Retreat of the Americans from Charlotte. – March of Cornwallis Southward. – Young Ladies of Mecklenburg and Rowan.


"Cornwallis led a country dance;

The like was never seen, sir;
Much retrograde, and much advance,
And all with General Greene, sir.
They rambled up and rambled down.
Joined hands, and off they ran, sir;
Our General Greene to old Charlestown,
And the earl to Wilmington, sir." 1

"There was Greene in the South; you must know him –
Whom some called a "Hickory Quaker;"
But he ne’er turned his back on the foeman,
Nor ever was known for a Shaker." – WILLIAM ELLIOT.


I left the place of Pyle’s defeat toward noon, and, following a sinuous and seldom-traveled road through a forest of wild crab-apple trees and black jacks, crossed the Allamance at the cotton-factory of Holt and Carrigan, two miles distant. 2 Around this mill quite a village of neat log-houses, occupied by the operatives, were collected, and every thing had the appearance of thrift. I went in, and was pleased to see the hands of intelligent white females employed in a useful occupation. Manual labor by white people is a rare sight at the South, where an abundance of slave labor appears to render such occupation unnecessary; and it can seldom be said of one of our fair sisters there, "She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff." 3 This cotton-mill, like the few others which I saw in the Carolinas, is a real blessing, present and prospective, for it gives employment and comfort to many poor girls who might otherwise be wretched; and it is a seed of industry planted in a generous soil, which may hereafter germinate and bear abundant fruit of its kind in the midst of cotton plantations, thereby augmenting immensely the true wealth of the nation.

At a distance of two miles and a half beyond the Allamance, on the Salisbury road, I reached the Regulator battle-ground; and, in company with a young man residing in the vicinity, visited the points of particular interest, and made the sketch printed on page 371. The rock and the ravine from whence James Pugh and his companions (see page 370) did such execution with their rifles, are now hardly visible. The place is a few rods north of the road. The ravine is almost filled by the washing down of earth from the slopes during eighty years; and the rock projects only a few ells above the surface. The whole of the natural scenery is changed, and nothing but tradition can identify the spot.

While viewing the battle-ground, the wind, which had been a gentle and pleasant breeze from the south all the morning, veered to the northeast, and brought omens of a cold storm. I left the borders of the Allamance, and its associations, at one o’clock, and traversing a very hilly country for eighteen miles, arrived, a little after dark, at Greensborough, a thriving, compact village, situated about five miles southeast from the site of old Guilford Court House. It is the capitol of Guilford county, and successor of old Martinsburg, where the court-house was formerly situated. Very few of the villages in the interior of the state appeared to me more like a Northern town than Greensborough. The houses are generally good, and the stores gave evidences of active trade. Within an hour after my arrival, the town was thrown into commotion by the bursting out of flames from a large frame dwelling, a short distance from the court-house. There being no fire-engine in the place, the flames spread rapidly, and at one time menaced the safety of the whole town. A small keg of powder was used, without effect, to demolish a tailor’s shop, standing in the path of the conflagration toward a large tavern. The flames passed on, until confronted by one of those broad chimneys, on the outside of the house, so universally prevalent at the South, when it was subdued, after four buildings were destroyed. I never saw a population more thoroughly frightened; and when I returned to my lodgings, far away from the fire, every bed in the house was packed ready for flight. It was past midnight when the town became quiet, and a consequently late breakfast delayed my departure for the battle-field at Guilford Court House, until nine o’clock the next morning.

A cloudy sky, a biting north wind, and the dropping of a few snow-flakes when I left Greensborough, betokened an unpleasant day for my researches. It was ten o’clock when I reached Martinsville, once a pleasant hamlet, now a desolation. There are only a few dilapidated and deserted dwellings left; and nothing remains of the old Guilford Court House but the ruins of a chimney, depicted on the plan of the battle, printed on page 402 {original text has "608".}. Only one house was inhabited, and that by the tiller of the soil around it. Descending into a narrow, broken valley, from Martinsville, and ascending the opposite slope to still higher ground on the road to Salem, I passed among the fields consecrated by the events of the battle at Guilford, in March [March 15.], 1781, to the house of Mr. Hotchkiss, a Quaker, who, I was informed could point out every locality of interest in his neighborhood. Mr. Hotchkiss was absent, and I was obliged to wait more than an hour for his return. The time passed pleasantly in conversation with his daughter, an intelligent young lady, who kindly ordered my horse to be fed, and regaled me with some fine apples, the first fruit of the kind I had seen since leaving the James River. While tarrying there, the snow began to fall thickly, and when, about noon, I rambled over the most interesting portion of the battle-ground, and sketched the scene printed on page 405, the whole country was covered with a white mantle. Here, by this hospitable fireside, let us consider the battle, and those wonderful antecedent events which distinguished General Greene’s celebrated RETREAT.

After the unlucky battle near Camden, where General Gates lost the laurels he had obtained at Saratoga, Congress perceived the necessity of appointing a more efficient commander for the army in the Southern Department, and directed General Washington to make the selection. The commander-in-chief appointed General Nathaniel Greene [Oct. 30, 1780.], late the quarter-master general, who immediately proceeded to his field of labor. 4 Passing through Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, he ascertained what supplies he was likely to obtain from those states; and leaving the Baron Steuben to direct the defense of Virginia, and to raise levies and stores for the Southern army, he proceeded to Hillsborough, the seat of government of North Carolina. Governor Nash received him with joy, for the dangers which menaced the state were imminent. After remaining there a few days, he hastened on to Charlotte, the head-quarters of the army. General Gates received him with great respect, and on the day after his arrival he took formal command of the army [Dec. 3, 1780.]. Gates immediately set out for the head-quarters of Washington (then in New Jersey, near the Hudson), to submit to an inquiry into his conduct, which had been ordered by Congress [Oct. 5, 1780.]. From that time until the commencement of his retreat from the Carolinas, Greene was exceedingly active in the arrangement of the army, and in wisely directing its movements.

His first arrangement was to divide his army into two detachments, the largest of which, under himself, was to be stationed opposite Cheraw Hill, on the east side of the Peedee River, in Chesterfield District, upon a small stream called Hick’s Creek, about seventy miles to the right of Cornwallis, who was then at Winnsborough, in Fairfield District. The other, composed of about one thousand troops, under General Morgan, was placed some fifty miles to the left, near the junction of the Broad and Pacolet Rivers, in Union District. Cornwallis sent Colonel Tarleton, with a considerable force, to disperse the little army of Morgan, and soon the memorable battle of the Cowpens occurred [Jan. 17, 1781.], in which the Americans were victorious. Tarleton, with the remnant of his troops, retreated precipitately to the main army of Cornwallis, who was then at Turkey Creek; and Morgan, in the evening of the same day, crossed the Broad River, and moved, by forced marches, toward the Catawba, to form a junction with the division of General Greene.

When Cornwallis heard of the defeat of Tarleton and the direction that Morgan had taken, he resolved on pursuit, with the hope of regaining the prisoners taken at the Cowpens, and of demolishing the Americans before they could reach the Catawba. He was joined on the eighteenth by General Leslie and his troops, from Camden. To facilitate his march, he ordered all the superfluous baggage and wagons to be destroyed [Jan. 25.] at Ramsour's Mills, on the south fork of the Catawba. 5 In the mean while, General Greene had been apprised of the battle and the result, and on the same day when Cornwallis commenced pursuit, he ordered Brigadier Stevens to march with his Virginia militia (whose term of service was almost expired) by way of Charlotte, to take Morgan’s prisoners and conduct them to Charlottesville, in Virginia. Greene, anxious to confer with Morgan personally, left the camp on the Pedee, under the command of General Huger and Colonel Otho H. Williams, and started, with one aid and two or three mounted militia, for the Catawba [Jan. 28.]. On the route he was informed of Cornwallis’s pursuit, and immediately sent an express to Huger and Williams to break up the camp, and march with all possible dispatch to form a junction with Morgan’s light troops at Salisbury or Charlotte. Greene reached Sherrard’s Ford, on the Catawba, on the thirty-first, where he had an interview with Morgan, and directed his future movements.

The pursuit by Cornwallis had been keen and untiring. He had kept between the Broad and the Catawba Rivers, and his sole efforts were to reach the fords toward which Morgan was pressing, in time to cut him off. Morgan’s march was equally rapid, and he crossed the Catawba at the Island Ford, on the northern border of the present Lincoln county, with his prisoners and baggage, two hours before the arrival of the British van-guard, under Brigadier-general O’Hara [Jan. 28, 1781.]. It was sunset, and the earl, confident of his prey, postponed further pursuit until morning. This delay was fatal to his success. Rain fell copiously during the night, and in the morning the Catawba was brimful, and entirely unfordable. Thus it remained for forty-eight hours; and in the mean while Morgan’s prisoners were sent forward to a place of safety, and measures were adopted to dispute the passage of the river with the British. Had the flood in the river happened a few hours earlier, Morgan’s little army must have been lost. The event was properly marked by the friends of liberty as the tangible interposition of Providence. The arrival of Greene, at this juncture, was equally providential; for Morgan had resolved upon a line of retreat which must have proved fatal. Greene interposed counter orders, and the whole army was saved.

When the waters subsided, Cornwallis resumed his pursuit. Lieutenant-colonel Webster, with a small detachment, moved toward Beattie’s Ford, to give the impression that the British army would cross there; while Cornwallis, decamping at midnight with the main body, moved rapidly toward Cowan’s Ford, six miles below. This was a private crossing-place, and the earl supposed he would thus elude the vigilance of Greene and Morgan. It was a miscalculation, as numerous camp-fires assured him when he approached the ford, a little before dawn [Feb. 1, 1781.]. General Davidson, the commander in Salisbury District, who had arrived the day before with three hundred North Carolina militia, was sent by Greene, who was quartered at Salisbury, 6 to guard the ford and dispute its passage if attempted. Neglecting to place his main body near the river, so as to make an imposing appearance, he did not deter Cornwallis from proceeding to cross. The current was rapid, the stream in many places waist-deep, and almost five hundred yards wide, yet the brave Britons, led on by General O’Hara, plunged into the stream, and in the face of a severe fire from Captain Graham’s’ 7 riflemen, who were posted at the ford, pressed forward to the opposite bank. 8 The British reserved their fire until they had gained the shore, and then, pouring a few volleys into the ranks of Graham, soon dispersed them. While ascending the bank, Colonel Hall, of the British army, was killed. General Davidson was stationed half a mile from the ford, with the main body of the militia. Hearing the firing, he hastened to the spot, with Colonel William Polk and the Reverend Thomas M‘Caule. They arrived just as the Americans were about to flee. Davidson was the last upon the ground, and as he turned to follow his troops he was shot dead by a rifle ball. 9 The militia were entirely routed; and all the fords being abandoned, Cornwallis, with the whole royal army, crossed the Catawba without further molestation. 10 The militia reassembled at Tarrant’s tavern, about ten miles distant. Tarleton, who had been sent with his cavalry in pursuit, hastened to their rendezvous, made a furious charge, broke through their center, killed quite a number, and dispersed the whole. A heavy rain had injured their powder, and they were not prepared to fight. The loss of General Davidson, and the total dispersion of the militia, greatly dispirited the patriots in that region, and Toryism again became bold and active.

Now fairly commenced the great race between Greene and Cornwallis; the goal was the Dan, the prize the possession of the Carolinas.

General Greene had hoped, by guarding the fords on the Catawba with the light troops under Morgan, to prevent the passage of the British army until Huger and Williams should arrive with the other divisions of the American forces. The passage at Cowan’s Ford destroyed these hopes, and Morgan and his light troops retreated precipitately toward the Yadkin. The detachment of Lieutenant-colonel Webster crossed at Beattie’s Ford, and joined Cornwallis the next day [Feb. 2.], on the road to Salisbury, five miles from the crossing-place. The royal army rested at Salisbury 11 that night, and the next morning started in pursuit of Greene and Morgan. These officers did not await the dawn, but passed the Yadkin at Trading Ford (see cut on opposite page), while Cornwallis was slumbering; and when, on the morning of the third, the earl hastened to strike a fatal blow on the banks of that stream, the Americans were beyond his reach, and Providence had again placed an impassable barrier of water between them. Another copious rain in the mountains had swollen the Yadkin to a mighty river. The horses of Morgan had forded the stream at midnight, and the infantry passed over in bateaux at dawn. These vessels were secured on the east shore of the Yadkin, and Cornwallis was obliged to wait for the waters to subside before he could cross. Again he had the Americans almost within his grasp. A corps of riflemen were yet on the west side when O’Hara, with the van-guard, approached, but these escaped across the river, after a smart skirmish of a few minutes. Nothing was lost but a few wagons belonging to the Whigs who were fleeing with the American army, with their effects.


Greene now pushed on toward Guilford Court House, where he arrived on the seventh [Feb., 1781.]. He had dispatched an order to Huger and Williams to march directly to that point, and join him there. This order was promptly obeyed, and these officers, with their commands, arrived there on the same day with Greene and Morgan. Lieutenant-colonel Lee and his legion, who had been on an expedition to Georgetown, seventy-five miles below Cheraw, overtook them on their march, and that gallant corps was now added to the concentrated strength of the Americans. The army, lying at rest 13 on the slopes around Martinsville, was mustered on the eighth, and amounted to about two thousand men, including five hundred militia. Of this number nearly two hundred were superior cavalry. The army of Cornwallis in pursuit, was between two thousand five hundred and three thousand strong, of which three hundred were mounted men.

Perceiving no prospect of the falling of the river, for the rain continued, Cornwallis marched as rapidly as possible up the western side of the Yadkin to the shallow ford near the present village of Huntsville, in Surrey county, where he crossed. There he was informed of the junction of the two divisions of the American army, and the hope of keeping them separate was extinguished. An attempt to intercept their march toward Virginia, and compel Greene to fight or surrender, was now the chief object of the earl’s solicitude. Upon the success of this undertaking depended not only the maintenance of his power in the Carolinas, but perhaps the actual existence of his army. He knew the inferiority of the American army in numbers, and being assured that the rivers which lay between Greene and Virginia were too much swollen to be forded, and the ferries too wide apart to furnish a sufficient number of boats at one point to transport the retreating army across, he felt confident of success. His lordship was now within twenty-five miles of Greene, at Guilford, and nearer the shallow fords of the Dan than he was; and on the ninth of February [1781.] he resumed his march with vigor, to gain a position in front of the Americans.

Greene, also aware of the inferiority of his forces, called a council of war [Feb. 9.], when it was resolved to avoid a battle, and retreat as rapidly as possible across the Dan into the friendly districts of Virginia. A light army, designed to maneuver in the rear of the Americans and in front of the pursuers, was formed out of Lee’s legion, the regular battalion of infantry under Colonel Howard, the cavalry under Colonel Washington, and a small corps of Virginia riflemen under Major Campbell, in all about seven hundred men, the flower of the Southern army. General Morgan, who was worn down by fatigue, and tortured by rheumatism, expressed a desire to quit the service. Greene was embarrassed, for he was at a loss how to supply the place of the brave partisan, and wished him to command the light corps just organized. Morgan declined, and Greene bestowed the honor upon his deputy adjutant general, Colonel Otho Holland Williams, a brave young officer of the Maryland line, who proved himself worthy of the confidence of his commander. 14 Williams entered upon his command on the morning of the tenth, and on that day the whole army moved toward the Dan at a point seventy miles from Guilford Court House.

The two armies moved in lines almost parallel with each other, Greene on the right, and Cornwallis on the left. Colonel Williams, with his light corps, took an intermediate road, to watch the movements of the enemy. Lee’s "partisan legion," which maneuvered in the rear, was often in sight of O’Hara’s van-guard. Great vigilance was necessary at night to prevent a surprise, and so numerous were the patrols, that each man on the march enjoyed only six hours sleep in forty-eight. Williams always moved at three o’clock in the morning, so as to get a sufficient distance in advance to partake of breakfast, the only meal they were allowed each day. Cornwallis was equally active, and both armies made the extraordinary progress of thirty miles a day.

On the morning of the thirteenth, while a portion of the light troops were eating breakfast at a farm-house, they were informed by a friendly countryman, who came from his plow for the purpose, that the British army had left their direct route, and were only four miles in the rear, upon the road they were marching. Lee dispatched Captain Mark Armstrong, one of the most efficient of his cavalry officers, to reconnoiter, and his whole camp was soon in commotion. Lee, with a considerable force, concealed himself in a wood, to await the approach of the British van. Soon a sharp firing was heard, and Captain Armstrong came dashing by where Lee was posted, with some of Tarleton’s cavalry, under Captain Miller, in hot pursuit. Lee instantly gained the road, and made such a fierce charge upon the pursuers that he completely broke their ranks, killing a large number. Captain Miller was made prisoner, and narrowly escaped hanging, for Lee charged him with the murder of his bugler, a lad of eighteen, who, while hastening to Williams, was overtaken and sabred by the British cavalry. 15 Lee was about to hang him upon a tree, when the British van appeared, and Miller was sent on to General Greene as a prisoner of war. In this skirmish eighteen of the British dragoons were killed; the Americans lost only the little bugler. The dead were buried by Cornwallis, an hour afterward.

In the course of the day another encounter occurred. Lee’s troops had been deprived of their morning meal, which was half cooked when the countryman gave the alarm. By taking a road shorter and more secluded than the one passed by Williams, he hoped to gain time to dine at a well-stocked farm. He did not apprehend a surprise, for the road was only a by-way. He stationed a few videttes, however, to watch, and well he did. Just as the horses were about to partake of their provender, and the soldiers of corn bread and bacon, the videttes fired an alarm and came dashing toward the main body. Battle or flight was the alternative. Before them was a swollen stream spanned by a single bridge; to gain and hold this, was an object of vital importance to Lee. His infantry were ordered to run and take possession of it, while the cavalry prepared to cover a retreat. The van of the British were surprised at this meeting, not being aware of the proximity of their foe, and while halting to receive orders, Lee’s troops had an opportunity to pass the bridge. The British soon followed, and across a cultivated plain both parties sped with all their might. The Americans had the strongest and fleetest horses, and, ascending a hill to its summit, they entered upon the great road leading to Irwin’s Ferry, on the Dan. All day long O’Hara, with the van of the British army, continued in pursuit, and was frequently in sight of Lee’s legion; sometimes within rifle-shot. Thus again escaped this right arm of the Southern army. Vigilance – sleepless vigilance alone, under Providence, preserved it.

The night that succeeded was dark, cold, and drizzly. Cornwallis and his whole army were directly in the rear of the Americans, and now was his only chance for striking an effective blow, for another day, and Greene might be beyond the Dan. The British commander resolved to push forward with the hope of overtaking his prey before morning. Williams and the wearied troops of Lee were compelled to do the same to avoid an encounter. They were ignorant of the position of Greene, and felt great anxiety for his safety. At eight o’clock, they were much alarmed by the apparition of camp fires, a mile in advance, supposing it to be the camp of Greene, and that Cornwallis would inevitably overtake him. Williams prepared to confront and annoy the enemy while Greene should escape. This sacrifice was unnecessary, for the camp fires were those Greene had lighted two nights before, and had been kept burning by friendly people in the neighborhood. With glad hearts the light troops pressed forward, until assured that the enemy had halted for the night, when they lighted fires, laid down, and slumbered for three or four hours.

Only forty miles now intervened between Cornwallis and the Dan. His rest was brief, and before dawn he was again in pursuit. The roads, passing through a red clay region, were wretched in the extreme, yet the pursued and the pursuers pushed forward rapidly. It was the last stake for the prize, and eagerly both parties contended for it. During the forenoon, only a single hour was allowed by the belligerents for a repast. At noon a loud shout went up from the American host; a courier, covered with mud, his horse reeking with sweat, brought a letter to Colonel Williams from Greene, announcing the joyful tidings that he had crossed the Dan safely at Irwin’s Ferry on the preceding day [Feb. 13, 1781.]. That shout was heard by O’Hara, and Cornwallis regarded it as ominous of evil. Still he pressed forward. At three o’clock, when within fourteen miles of the river, Williams filed off toward Boyd’s Ferry, leaving Lee to maneuver in front of the enemy. Williams reached the shore before sunset, and at dark was landed upon the north side. Lee sent his infantry on in advance, and at twilight withdrew with his cavalry, and galloped for the river. When he arrived, his infantry had just passed in boats with safety. The horses were turned into the stream, while the dragoons embarked in bateaux. At nine o’clock, Lieutenant-colonels Lee and Carrington (the quarter-master general 16), embarked in the last boat, and before midnight the wearied troops were in deep slumber in the bosom of Virginia. During the evening Cornwallis heard of the passage of Greene, and the escape of Williams and his light troops. The Dan was too much swollen to be forded; every boat was moored upon the northern shore, and for the third time a barrier of water interposed between the pursuer and pursued. The prize was lost, and with a heavy heart Cornwallis moved slowly back toward Hillsborough, after resting his wearied troops for a day. He had but one hope left, the promised general rising of the Tories in North Carolina, now that the "rebel army" was driven out of the state. Greene encamped in the rich and friendly district of Halifax county, in Virginia, and there his wearied troops reposed after one of the most skillfully conducted and remarkable retreats on record. 17 Upon this movement all eyes were turned, and when the result was known the friends of liberty every where chanted a loud alleluiah.

As we have observed (page 385), Greene soon prepared to recross the Dan, and attempt to retrieve his losses in Carolina. We have considered the first movements toward the accomplishment of this object – the expedition of Lee and Pickens beyond the Haw, the defeat of Pyle, and the retreat of Tarleton to Hillsborough. The success of this enterprise, the arrival in camp of General Stevens, with six hundred Virginia militia, and the necessity of making a demonstration before the Tories should rise, caused Greene to break up his camp after a few days of repose. He recrossed the Dan on the twenty-third [Feb., 1781.], and this event being made known, completely dispirited the Loyalists who were disposed to join the royal army. The recruiting service stopped, and the friends of government, awed by the fate of Pyle’s corps, stood still. The situation of Cornwallis was full of peril. The country around Hillsborough was speedily stripped of provision by his army, 18 and he found it expedient to fall back and take a new position upon the south side of the Allamance, west of the Haw [Feb. 27.]. On the same day, Lee and Pickens, with their respective forces, joined the main body of the American light infantry, and the whole corps crossed the Haw, a little below the mouth of Buffalo Creek. Greene, with the main army augmented by the North Carolina militia, crossed above Buffalo Creek the next morning [Feb. 28.], and encamped between Troublesome Creek and Reedy Fork. It was an ineligible place; and, hoping to gain time for all his expected re-enforcements to come in, Greene constantly changed his position, and placed Colonel Williams and his light corps between the two armies, now within a score of miles of each other. Tarleton occupied the same relative position to the British army, and he and Williams frequently menaced each other. Finally, the latter having approached to within a mile of the British camp, Tarleton attacked him [March 2, 1781.], and a brief but warm skirmish ensued. This encounter was sustained, on the part of the Americans, chiefly by Lee’s legion and Preston’s riflemen. About thirty of the enemy were killed and wounded. The Americans sustained no loss. In the mean while, Greene’s constant change of position, sometimes seen on the Troublesome Creek, and sometimes appearing near Guilford, gave the impression that his force was larger than it really was, and Cornwallis was much perplexed. Well knowing that the American army was augmenting by the arrival of militia, he resolved to bring Greene to action at once. Under cover of a thick fog, he crossed the Allamance [March 6.], hoping to beat up Williams’s quarters, then between that stream and Reedy Fork, and surprise Greene. Williams’s vigilant patrols discovered the approach of the enemy at about eight o’clock in the morning, on the road to Wetzell’s Mill, an important pass on the Reedy Fork. Lee’s legion immediately maneuvered in front of the enemy, while Williams withdrew his light troops and other corps of regulars and militia across the stream. 19 A covering party, composed of one hundred and fifty Virginia militia, were attacked by Lieutenant-colonel Webster, with one thousand British infantry and a portion of Tarleton’s cavalry. The militia boldly returned the-fire, and then fled across the creek. The British infantry followed, 20 and met with a severe attack from Campbell’s riflemen and Lee’s infantry. Webster was quickly re-enforced by some Hessians and chasseurs, and the whole were supported by field-pieces planted by Cornwallis upon an eminence near the banks of the stream. The artillery dismayed the militia, which Williams perceiving, ordered them to retire. He followed with Howard’s battalion, flanked by Kirkwood’s Delaware infantry and the infantry of Lee’s legion, the whole covered by Washington’s cavalry. 21 The day was far spent, and Cornwallis did not pursue. In this skirmish the Americans lost about fifty killed and wounded.

As soon as Greene heard of the approach of Cornwallis, he fell back across the head waters of the Haw with the main army, determined not to risk an engagement until the arrival of re-enforcements, now fast approaching. In the mean while he changed his position daily, and Cornwallis, who, unwilling to wear down his army by useless attempts to strike the Americans in detail, had retired slowly to Bell’s Mills on the Deep River, about thirteen miles below the present Jamestown, could gain no positive information concerning him. 22 At length, while encamped at Speedwell’s iron-works, on Troublesome Creek, northeast of Guilford, Greene was joined by a brigade of militia from Virginia, under General Lawson; two from North Carolina, under Generals Butler and Eaton; and four hundred regulars, raised for eighteen months [March 10.]. He now felt strong enough to grapple with the earl, and the light corps of Colonel Williams was incorporated with the main army. 23 Crossing the Haw and Reedy Fork, Greene encamped in battle order near Guilford Court House [March 13.]. The movements of the two generals during the ten preceding days were of great interest. They were contending for a prize of the greatest value. One false step by either party would have been his ruin. None were more interested spectators than the Tories, from whom Cornwallis fondly anticipated aid. When Greene invited battle, they were utterly amazed, and not one dared lift his arm in defense of the king, the issue being so doubtful.

Cornwallis, in the mean while, had advanced from Deep Reep River toward New Garden (Quaker) meeting-house. Perceiving Greene’s disposition to fight, he gladly prepared to meet him. It was an event he had been trying to accomplish for more than six weeks. Sending his baggage back to Bell’s Mills, on the evening of the fourteenth, under a proper escort, he moved forward at dawn the next morning [March 15.], with twenty-four hundred men, chiefly veterans. The vigilant Lee, with his legion, was near New Garden meeting-house when the van of the British army, consisting of cavalry, some light infantry, and yagers, under Lieutenant-colonel Tarleton, 24 approached.

Desirous of drawing them as far from the royal army, and as near Greene’s as possible, Lee ordered a change of front, and a slow retreat. Hoping to produce a route, Tarleton and his cavalry pressed forward upon Armstrong, who was now in the rear, but with little effect. They made a second charge, and emptied their pistols, when Lee, with the troops of Rudolph and Eggleston, advanced upon Tarleton. The moment Tarleton saw the whole cavalry of the legion pressing upon him, he sounded a retreat; for he well knew the superiority of the horses of the Americans. 25 Only one front section of the British cavalry met the shock, and these were all dismounted, and most of the horses were prostrated. Some of the dragoons were killed, and others made prisoners. The Americans lost neither man nor horse. Tarleton, with the remainder of his corps, withdrew in great haste, and sought to gain the main army. Lee did not pursue, but endeavored to cut off Tarleton’s retreat. While pushing forward with eager hope, he met the British van-guard, in the midst of the lofty oaks at the meeting-house. They instantly displayed, and gave his cavalry a terrible volley. Lee ordered a retreat, when his infantry came running up, and delivered a well-directed fire. This was followed by a volley from Campbell’s riflemen, who had taken post on the left of the infantry, and a general action ensued. It had continued but a few minutes, when Lee, perceiving that the main body of the British was approaching, ordered a general retreat; his cavalry falling in the rear, to cover the infantry and riflemen. 26 During this skirmish, Greene prepared for battle.

NOTE. – Explanation of the Plan. – The shaded parallelograms, A, B, and C, and others not lettered, represent American troops; the half shaded ones the British troops. G, the British columns advancing along the road from the direction of the New Garden meeting-house. 1. Their first position, in battle order. B, the first American line, consisting of North Carolina militia, posted at the head of a ravine, in the edge of a wood. C, the second American line, of Virginia militia. A, the American right wing, extending along the road to Reedy Fork, to its junction with the main road, near the court-house. E, the Maryland and Virginia Continentals, under Huger and Williams. 2. The second position of the British, after the retreat of the Carolinians. 3. The third position of the British, endeavoring to gain Greene’s right. D, severe conflict between Leslie with the Hessians and the Americans. E, Guilford Court House. The broken chimney in the corner of the map represents all that is left of the old court-house.

From Guilford Court House southward, the ground slopes abruptly, terminating in a broken vale, through which winds a small stream. At the time of the engagement, there were pretty broad clearings around the court-house, which extended southward along the great Salisbury road. On either side of the road, and crossing it at some distance from the court-house, was a forest of lofty oaks. Within the southern border of this forest, and concealed behind a fence and some dwarf trees, lay the North Carolina forces (B), militia and volunteers, and some riflemen, the whole under Generals Butler and Eaton. They were strongly posted, and much was expected of them. Within the woods, about three hundred yards in the rear of the first line, the second line (C) was formed. It was composed of the Virginia militia, under Generals Stevens and Lawson; 27 the right flank of Stevens, and the left flank of Lawson, resting on the road. The Continental infantry, consisting of four regiments, were drawn up near the court-house, in the field, on the north side of the road, about four hundred yards in the rear of the Virginians. The two Continental regiments of Virginia were commanded by Colonel Greene and Lieutenant-colonel Hewes, under Brigadier Huger, and composed the right. The two Maryland regiments, led by Colonel Gunby and Lieutenant-colonel Ford, were under Colonel Williams, and composed the left. The remainder of the troops, under Greene, lay near the court-house. Only Gunby’s regiment were experienced soldiers; the remainder were new recruits. Lieutenant-colonel Washington, with his cavalry, the old Delaware corps, under Captain Kirkwood, and Colonel Lynch with a battalion of Virginia militia, were posted on the right; Lieutenant-colonel Lee, with his legion, and the Virginia riflemen, under Colonel Campbell, were posted on the left, each being ordered to support the respective flanks. Captain Singleton, with two six pounders, took post in the road, a little in advance of the front line, and the remainder of the artillery (only two pieces) were with the rear line, near the court-house.

Such was the disposition of the Americans for battle when the royal army, under Cornwallis, approached. It was about noon; the sun was unclouded, and the air was cool, but not cold. They could be seen for more than a mile, defiling (G) from the Salisbury road into the open fields, and presented a gorgeous spectacle; their scarlet uniforms and burnished arms strongly contrasting with the somber aspect of the country, then barren of leaves and grass. Having formed their line, they approached slowly and steadily, chiefly in solid column (1), to the contest. As soon as the van appeared, Singleton opened a cannonade upon it, but with little effect. Lieutenant M‘Leod, commanding the British artillery, pressed forward along the road, and returned the fire, also with little effect. The battle now commenced. Although Cornwallis knew his inferiority of numbers, and the great advantages of Greene’s position, he boldly began what he had so long sought an opportunity for – a general battle with his antagonist. He had brave and veteran troops. The 71st (Fraser’s Highland regiment), with the Hessian regiment of Bose, formed his right, under General Leslie; his left consisted of the 23d and 33d regiments, under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Webster. The royal artillery, led by M‘Leod, and supported by the light infantry of the guards and the yagers, moved along the road in the center. Lieutenant-colonel Norton, with the first battalion of the guards, supported the right, and Brigadier O’Hara, with the grenadiers and second battalion of guards, supported the left.

After a brisk cannonade of nearly half an hour, Singleton, pursuant to orders, fell back to the second line, when Leslie, with the guards in the center, the Hessians on the extreme left, and Webster’s brigade, with Norton’s battalion, on the right, immediately advanced upon the North Carolinians, who were concealed behind a fence in the edge of the wood. When the British were within rifle shot, the Carolinians commenced a desultory fire upon them. The British pressed steadily forward, and when at a proper distance, discharged their guns, and with a loud shout rushed forward to a bayonet charge. The North Carolinians wheeled and fled in great confusion, though not a man had been killed, or even wounded. Only a few of General Eaton’s men were exempt from the panic, and these, falling back upon Lee’s legion and Campbell’s riflemen, maintained their ground well. Butler and Eaton, with Colonel Davie, the commissary general, endeavored, but in vain, to rally the fugitives. Throwing away their muskets, knapsacks, and even canteens, they rushed through the woods like frightened deer, until far beyond the point of danger. 28 Had the first line done its duty, the result of the battle must have been far different; for the few that remained with Campbell, together with his corps, maintained their position so manfully that Leslie was obliged to order Lieutenant-colonel Norton into line for his support. The cowardly flight of the Carolinians left Lee’s legion exposed to the danger of being cut off from the main body. The Virginians of the second line, upon whom the first had partially retreated, did their duty nobly, 29 until, being hard pressed by the British, the right of that line, under General Lawson, wheeled round upon the left, and retreated in confusion, back to the line of regulars. Lieutenant-colonel Webster, with the British left, now advanced across the open fields, in the face of a terrible fire from the Americans, and gallantly attacked their right, while Leslie and Bose were in fierce conflict with the American left. The whole of the British infantry were now engaged in action. The Virginians, under Stevens and Lawson, combated vigorously with Webster, while supported on the right by Washington and his cavalry. That officer sent Lynch’s battalion of riflemen to fall upon the flank of Webster. Perceiving this, O’Hara, with the grenadiers and second battalion of guards, hastened to the support of the left. Webster immediately turned the 33d regiment upon Lynch, and relieved his flank from annoyance. O’Hara, advancing at that instant with the remainder of the left, with fixed bayonets, aided by the 71st, under Leslie, compelled first Lawson’s and then Stevens’s brigade to give way, and the second line of the Americans was broken up.

In the mean while, the action on the right (D), between the regiment of Bose and the riflemen, and the legion infantry, was unremitting. The portion of the British force thus engaged could not be brought to bear upon the third line of the Americans, now well supported by Colonel Washington at the head of his cavalry, and Captain Kirkwood with his brave Delawares. Greene felt hopeful, and, riding along the lines, exhorted his battalions to stand firm, and give the final blow which would secure victory. Webster pressed forward over the ground lately occupied by the Virginia militia (C) to attack the right wing of the Continentals. There stood Colonel Gunby and Lieutenant-colonel Howard, with the first Maryland regiment, ready to do battle. The British, with great courage, rushed forward, and engaged in a close fire. The Marylanders, nobly sustained by Howe’s Virginia regiment and Kirkwood’s Delawares, received the shock so valiantly, that Webster recoiled and fell back across a ravine, where, upon an elevation, he awaited the arrival of the remainder of his line. Very soon Lieutenant-colonel Stuart, with the first battalion of guards, followed by two other small corps, swept across the open fields, and attacked the second Maryland regiment, under Colonel Ford, which was supported by Captain Finley with two six pounders. Colonel Williams expected to observe bravery on the part of his second regiment, like that of the first, and hastened toward it to combine his whole force in repelling the attack, but he was disappointed. It gave way at the first shock, fled, and abandoned the two field-pieces to the enemy. Stuart pursued, when Gunby, who had been left free by the recession of Webster to the other side of the ravine, wheeled upon him, and a very severe conflict ensued. Lieutenant-colonel Washington, who was upon the flank of the Continentals, pressed forward with his cavalry, and Stuart was soon compelled to give way. With sword in hand, followed by his cavalry, and Howard and his infantry with fixed bayonets, Washington furiously charged the British, and put them to flight. 30 Stuart was slain by Captain Smith of the first Maryland regiment, the two field-pieces were retaken, and great slaughter ensued. The whole of Stuart’s corps would have been killed or made prisoners, had not Cornwallis, who came down from his post where the Salisbury road enters the wood a little south of the court-house, ordered M‘Leod to draw up his artillery and pour grape-shot upon the pursuers. This cannonade endangered friends as well as foes, for it was directed in the face of the flying guards. It was effectual, however; and Washington and Howard, perceiving two regiments of the enemy, one on the right, and the other on the left, approaching, withdrew to the line of Continentals.

When Webster perceived the effect of Stuart’s attack upon Ford, he recrossed the ravine, and fell upon Hawes and Kirkwood. The 71st and 23d (the two regiments discovered by Washington) were soon connected in the center by O’Hara, who, though severely wounded, kept his horse, and, rallying the remnant of the guards, filled up the interval between the left and right wing. The fierce contest upon the British right still continued, with some advantage to the enemy. Norton, believing Bose’s regiment sufficient to maintain the conflict, joined the 71st, in preparation for a final blow upon the Continentals. Lee’s legion infantry and Campbell’s riflemen immediately attacked Bose with new vigor. Bose and his major, De Buy, fought gallantly, and by example encouraged their men. Leaving Campbell to continue the contest, Lee hastened, with his infantry, to rejoin his cavalry, whom he had left on the flank with the Continentals. On his way, he found Norton with the guards upon the eminence occupied by Lawson’s brigade. He attacked Norton, and driving him back upon Bose, withdrew with Campbell, and joined the Continentals near the court-house. The flight of the North Carolinians, the retreat of the second Maryland regiment, the scanty supply of ammunition, and the junction of the two wings of the British army, convinced Greene that there was no hope of success in a conflict with Webster, who was now pressing forward in good order, with a prospect of speedily turning the American right. He had resolved, before the battle, not to risk the annihilation of his army, and he now determined to retreat before it should be too late. Ordering the brave veteran Colonel Greene, with his Virginia regiment, to take post in the rear, and cover a retreat, the Americans withdrew in regular order, leaving their artillery behind, for almost every horse had been slain. The 71st and 23d British regiments, supported by Tarleton’s cavalry, commenced a pursuit; but Cornwallis, unwilling to risk such a movement, soon recalled them. 31


Thus ended the battle at Guilford Court House; a battle, in its effects highly beneficial to the cause of the patriots, though resulting in a nominal victory for the British army. Both of the belligerents displayed consummate courage and skill, and the flight of the North Carolinians from a very strong position is the only reproach which either army deserved. It doubtless caused the loss of victory to the Americans. Marshall justly observes, that "no battle in the course of the war reflects more honor on the courage of the British troops than that of Guilford." Greene had a much superior force, and was very advantageously posted. The number of the Americans engaged in the action was quite double that of the British. The battle lasted almost two hours, and many brave men fell upon that field of carnage. 33 The British claimed the victory; it was victory at fearful cost and small advantage. 34 In some degree, the line of the Scotch ballad might be applied to the combatants,

"They baith did fight, they baith did beat, and baith did rin awa’."

The Americans retreated in good order to the Reedy Fork, and crossed that stream about three miles from the field of action. Tarrying a short time to collect the stragglers, they retired to Speedwell’s iron-works, on Troublesome Creek, ten miles distant from Guilford. Cornwallis remained upon the battle-ground that night, burying the dead. The next morning he proceeded as far as New Garden meeting-house. On the eighteenth [March, 1781.], he issued a proclamation boasting of his complete victory, calling upon the Loyalists to join him in restoring good government, and offering pardon to the rebels. Had he remained, this proclamation might have given confidence to the Tories, but the very next day [March 19.] he decamped, leaving behind him between seventy and eighty wounded British officers and soldiers in the New Garden meeting-house, which he used for a hospital. He also left behind him all the American prisoners who were wounded, and retreated as speedily as possible southward, toward Cross Creek (Fayetteville), evidently afraid that Greene would rally his forces and attack him. Greene, supposing the earl would advance, had made preparations to confront him; as soon as he was informed of his retreat, he eagerly commenced a pursuit [March 20.], after writing a letter to the Quakers at New Garden, desiring them to take care of the sick and wounded of both parties. Notwithstanding heavy rains and wretched roads, Greene pressed after his lordship with great alacrity, as far as Ramsay’s Mills, on the Deep River, in Chatham county. On the way, frequent skirmishes occurred between the light troops of the two armies, and Greene arrived at the earl’s encampment, on the Deep River, only a few hours after Cornwallis had left it.

Before leaving Winnsborough, Cornwallis sent an order to Lieutenant-colonel Balfour, who commanded at Charleston, to dispatch a competent force by water to Wilmington, to hold that post as a depôt for supplies for the royal army in North Carolina. Balfour detached Major Craig upon that service, who drove the American militia from Wilmington, and took possession of it on the same day when General Davidson was killed at Cowan’s Ford. After the battle at Guilford Court House, Cornwallis, observing the backwardness of the Loyalists in that vicinity, and the scarcity of provisions, determined to fall back to Cross Creek, where, he knew, had been a population of loyal Scotchmen, and there make his head-quarters, not doubting that his army could be easily supplied with stores, by water, from Major Craig at Wilmington. In these expectations the earl was bitterly disappointed. The Loyalists were comparatively few, a large portion having been changed to either active or passive Whigs; provisions were very scarce, and no communication could be had with Major Craig. Greene was in eager pursuit, and the earl had no alternative but to continue his march to Wilmington. This he performed along the southwestern side of the Cape Fear, and arrived at Wilmington on the seventh of April [1781.]. He had got so much the start of Greene, that the latter relinquished pursuit at Ramsay’s Mills [March 28.], where he resolved to allow his troops to repose and recruit, as far as circumstances would allow. Greene dismissed all of the militia except a few North Carolinians, yet he could not afford his army such comforts as he desired. 35

At the suggestion of Lieutenant-colonel Lee, Greene resolved to march back into South Carolina and take post at Camden with the main army, while the light troops should join Marion on the Pedee, and beat up all the British posts between Camden and Ninety-Six, and Charleston. Pursuant to this plan, he left Ramsay’s and marched toward Camden, to confront Lord Rawdon, then in command there. Cornwallis, as we have already noticed in chapter xiii. {original text has "xxi.".}, soon afterward marched into Virginia, while Greene and his brave partisan allies of the South regained all that had been lost in previous conflicts.

Let us here leave the two commanders and their armies for a time, and resume our journey toward King’s Mountain and the Cowpens. We shall meet them both frequently, in our future journeys in the Carolinas and Georgia.


I left the Guilford battle-ground and the hospitable cottage of Mr. Hotchkiss, at noon, the snow falling fast. At four miles distant, on the Salisbury road, I reached the venerable New Garden meeting-house, yet standing within the stately oak forest where Lee and Tarleton met. It is a frame building with a brick foundation. It was meeting-day, and the congregation were yet in session. Tying Charley to a drooping branch, I entered softly. A larger number than is usually present at "week-day meetings" had congregated, for a young man of the sect from Randolph county, thirty miles distant, and a young woman of Guilford, had signified their intentions to declare themselves publicly, on that day, man and wife. They had just risen before the elders and people when I glided into a seat near the door, and with a trembling voice the bridegroom had begun the expression of the marriage vow. His weather-bronzed features betokened the man of toil in the fields, and strongly contrasted with the blonde and delicate face, and slender form of her who, with the downcast eyes of modesty, heard his pledge of love and protection, and was summoning all her energy to make her kindred response. I had often observed the simple marriage ceremony of the Quakers, but never before did the beauty of that ritual appear so marked with the sublimity of pure simplicity. 36

At the close of the meeting, I learned from one of the elders that a Friend’s boarding-school was near, and, led by curiosity, I visited it. The building is of brick, spacious, and well arranged. It was under the superintendence of Thomas Hunt, a son of Nathan Hunt, an eminent Quaker preacher. An incidental remark concerning my relationship with Quakers, made while conversing with the wife of the superintendent, caused her to inquire whether I had ever heard of her father-in-law. I replied in the affirmative, having heard him preach when I was a boy, and expressed the supposition that he had long ago gone to his rest. "Oh no," she replied, "he is in the adjoining room," and leading the way, I was introduced to the patriarch of ninety-one years, whose voice, still vigorous, I had listened to when I was a lad of twelve years. He remembered well when the New Garden meeting-house was built, and resided in the neighborhood when the wounded and dying, from the field of Guilford, were brought there. Although physical infirmities were weighing heavily upon him, his mind appeared clear and elastic. When I was about departing, and pressed his hand with an adieu, he placed the other upon my head and said, "Farewell! God’s peace go with thee!" I felt as if I had received the blessing of a patriarch indeed; and for days afterward, when fording dangerous streams and traversing rough mountain roads, that uttered blessing was in my mind, and seemed like a guardian angel about my path. Gloomy unbelief may deride, and thoughtless levity may laugh in ridicule at such an intimation, but all the philosophy of the schools could not give me such exquisite feelings of security in the hands of a kind Providence as that old man’s blessing imparted.

The storm yet continued, and the kind matron of the school gave me a cordial invitation to remain there until it should cease; but, anxious to complete my journey, I rode on to Jamestown, an old village situated upon the high southwestern bank of the Deep River, nine miles from New Garden meeting-house, and thirteen miles above Bell’s Mills, where Cornwallis had his encampment before the Guilford battle. The country through which I had passed from Guilford was very broken, and I did not reach Jamestown until sunset. It is chiefly inhabited by Quakers, the most of them originally from Nantucket and vicinity; and as they do not own slaves, nor employ slave labor, except when a servant is working to purchase his freedom, the land and the dwellings presented an aspect of thrift not visible in most of the agricultural districts in the upper country of the Carolinas.

I passed the night at Jamestown, and early in the morning departed for the Yadkin. Snow was yet falling gently, and it laid three inches deep upon the ground; a greater quantity than had fallen at one time, in that section, for five years. Fortunately, my route from thence to Lexington, in Davidson county, a distance of twenty miles, was upon a fine ridge road 37 a greater portion of the way, and the snow produced but little inconvenience. Toward noon, the clouds broke, and before I reached Lexington (a small village on the west side of Abbott’s Creek, a tributary of the Yadkin), at half past two in the afternoon, not a flake of snow remained. Charley and I had already lunched by the margin of a little stream, so I drove through the village without halting, hoping to reach Salisbury, sixteen miles distant, by twilight. I was disappointed; for the red clay roads prevailed, and I only reached the house of a small planter, within a mile of the east bank of the Yadkin, just as the twilight gave place to the splendors of a full moon and myriads of stars in a cloudless sky. From the proprietor I learned that the Trading Ford, where Greene and Morgan crossed when pursued by Cornwallis, was only a mile distant. As I could not pass it on my way to Salisbury in the morning, I arose at four o’clock, gave Charley his breakfast, and at earliest dawn stood upon the eastern shore of the Yadkin, and made the sketch printed upon page 395. The air was frosty, the pools were bridged with ice, and before the sketch was finished, my benumbed fingers were disposed to drop the pencil. I remained at the ford until the east was all aglow with the radiance of the rising sun, when I walked back, partook of some corn-bread, muddy coffee, and spare-ribs, and at eight o’clock crossed the Yadkin at the great bridge, on the Salisbury road. 38 The river is there about three hundred yards wide, and was considerably swollen from the melting of the recent snows. Its volume of turbid waters came rolling down in a swift current, and gave me a full appreciation of the barrier which Providence had there placed between the Republicans and the royal armies, when engaged in the great race described in this chapter.

From the Yadkin the roads passed through a red clay region, which was made so miry by the melting snows that it was almost eleven o’clock when I arrived at Salisbury. This village, of over a thousand inhabitants, is situated a few miles from the Yadkin, and is the capital of Rowan county, a portion of the "Hornet’s Nest" of the Revolution. It is a place of considerable historic note. On account of its geographical position, it was often the place of rendezvous of the militia preparing for the battle-fields; of various regular corps, American and British, during the last three years of the war; and especially as the brief resting-place of both armies during Greene’s memorable retreat. Here, too, it will be remembered, General Waddell had his head-quarters for a few days, during the "Regulator war." I made diligent inquiry, during my tarry in Salisbury, for remains of Revolutionary movements and localities, but could hear of none. 39 The Americans, when fleeing before Cornwallis, encamped for a night about half a mile from the village, on the road to the Yadkin; the British occupied a position on the northern border of the town, about an eighth of a mile from the court-house. I was informed that two buildings, occupied by officers, had remained until two or three years ago, when they were demolished. Finding nothing to invite a protracted stay at Salisbury, I resumed the reins, and rode on toward Concord. The roads were very bad, and the sun went down, while a rough way, eight miles in extent, lay between me and Concord. Night approached, brilliant and frosty; the deep mud of the road soon became half frozen, and almost impassable, and I was beginning to speculate upon the chances of obtaining comfortable lodgings short of the village, when a large sign-board by the way-side indicated a place of entertainment, and relieved my anxiety. Such an apparition is so rare in the upper country of the Carolinas, where the traveler must depend upon the hospitality of the planters, that it is noteworthy. Passing through a lane, I came to the spacious mansion of Mr. Martin Phifer, one of the largest planters in Cabarras county. It is in the midst of one of the finest districts of North Carolina for the production of upland cotton. Practical observations upon that great staple of the South was the chief topic of our evening’s conversation, which was protracted to the "small hours of the morning;" and I left his hospitable abode a wiser man than when I entered it. Mr. Phifer is a grandnephew of John Phifer, one of the leading patriots of Mecklenburg, whose remains lie buried at the Red Hills, three miles west of Concord. A rough, mutilated slab covers the grave of the patriot. Tradition avers that when the British army was on its march from Charlotte to Salisbury, a fire was built upon the stone by the soldiers, in contempt for the patriot’s memory.

Departing from the post-road, a little distance from Mr. Phifer’s, I traversed a nearer, though a rougher route to Charlotte than through Concord, passing that village about three miles to the westward, close by the Red Hills. The scenery through this whole region is extremely picturesque. Wooded hills, deep ravines, broad cultivated slopes and uplands, and numerous water-courses, present diversified and pleasing pictures at every turn of the sinuous road. In summer, when the forests and fields are clad, the roads hard, and the deep shades of the ravines and water-courses desirable, I can not imagine a more agreeable tour for a traveler of leisure than that portion of my journey from the Roanoke to the Cowpens, across the Broad River, back to the eastern side of the Catawba, and so down to the verge of the low country, near Camden. In the vicinity of Concord are the head-waters of several tributaries of the Yadkin and Catawba, and between that village and Charlotte I crossed the Coddle, Stony, and Mallard Creeks, and one of the main branches of Rocky River. The latter, which is a considerable tributary of the Yadkin, is here a small stream, but very turbulent, and broken into numerous cascades. I reached Charlotte at half past three o’clock, having traveled only twenty-one miles since morning. 40 It was Saturday [Jan. 6, 1849.], and I eagerly coveted the Sabbath’s rest, after a week of excessive toil. Charley, too, was jaded, and needed repose; for a large portion of the circuitous journey from Hillsborough hither had been through a region abounding in red clay, saturated with rains and melting snows.

Charlotte has historical notoriety, chiefly on account of its being the place where a convention of patriots assembled in 1775, and by a series of resolutions virtually declared themselves and those they represented free and independent of the British crown. To this event I particularly directed my inquiries, but was singularly unsuccessful. Two gentlemen, to whom I had letters of introduction from President Polk, were absent. I called upon another, whom he named, but could not obtain information of much value. Being an entire stranger, I knew not unto whom to apply, and I left Charlotte on Monday, with feelings of disappointment not to be expressed. Since my visit, I have received varied and important information from James W. Osborne, Esq., superintendent of the Branch Mint, and others in that vicinity, which compensates me, in a measure, for my failure.

By the merest accident, I ascertained that the mill upon Sugar Creek, two or three miles south of Charlotte, and known as Bissell’s, was formerly the property of Colonel Thomas Polk, one of the active patriots in that section. Early on Monday morning, I rode down to the mill. Informed that it had been materially altered since the Revolution, I did not stop to sketch the locality. It is an interesting spot, for there a portion of Cornwallis’s army was encamped, and the mill was used during the cantonment there, to supply his troops with flour.

Let us glance at the historical events which render Charlotte famous in our annals. While public sentiment in North Carolina and its sister colonies was making rapid strides toward a bold resistance to augmenting oppressions, the people of Mecklenburg and vicinity, between the Yadkin and the Catawba, were neither indifferent nor inactive, notwithstanding their distance from the sea-board. There was no printing-press in the upper country; and as no regular post traversed that region, a newspaper was seldom seen there among the people. They were in the habit of assembling at stated places to hear printed hand-bills from abroad read, or to obtain verbal information of passing events. Charlotte was a central point for these assemblages, and there the leading men in that section often met at Queen’s Museum or College, the Faneuil Hall of North Carolina, to discuss the exciting topics of the day. These meetings were at first irregular, and without system. It was finally agreed that Thomas Polk, a large property-holder in the vicinity of Charlotte, colonel of the militia of Mecklenburg, a man of great excellence of character, extensive knowledge of the people around him, and deservedly popular, should be authorized to call a convention of the representatives of the people whenever circumstances should appear to require it. 41 It was also agreed that such representatives should consist of two from each captain’s company, to be chosen by the people of the several militia districts, and that their decisions, when thus legally convened, should he binding upon the people of Mecklenburg. This step was in accordance with the recommendation of the eleventh article of the American Association, adopted by the first Continental Congress (see page 62), and now generally acted upon throughout the colonies.

When Governor Martin made an attempt to prevent the assembling of a Provincial Congress at Newbern [April, 1775 {original text has "1777".}.], the people were much exasperated, for they remembered his arbitrary proceedings in dissolving the last Provincial Legislature, after a session of four days, and before any important business had been transacted. The excitement throughout the province was intense. While the public mind was thus inflamed, Colonel Polk issued a notice to the elected committee-men of the county, to assemble in the courthouse 42 at Charlotte toward the close of May. On what precise day they first met, can not now be positively determined. They appointed Abraham Alexander, 43 an esteemed citizen, who had served them in the Colonial Legislature, chairman, and Dr. Ephraim Brevard, 44 a scholar and unwavering patriot, clerk or secretary. According to tradition, intelligence of the affairs at Lexington and Concord, in Massachusetts, was received during the session of the delegates, and added greatly to the excitement among the people, who had assembled in great numbers around the court-house, eager to know the resolves of their representatives within. The principal speakers on the occasion were Dr. Brevard, Reverend Hezekiah J. Balch, William Kennon (a lawyer of Salisbury), and Colonel Polk. The first three gentlemen were appointed a committee to prepare suitable resolutions, and on the thirty-first of May, 1775, the following preamble and resolves were unanimously adopted: 45



"Whereas, By an address presented to his majesty by both Houses of Parliament in February last, the American colonies are declared to be in a state of actual rebellion, we conceive that all laws and commissions confirmed by or derived from the authority of the king and Parliament are annulled and vacated, and the former civil Constitution of these colonies for the present wholly suspended. To provide in some degree for the exigencies of this county in the present alarming period, we deem it proper and necessary to pass the following resolves, viz.

I. That all commissions, civil and military, heretofore granted by the crown to be exercised in these colonies, are null and void, and the Constitution of each particular colony wholly suspended.

II. That the Provincial Congress of each province, under the direction of the great Continental Congress, is invested with all legislative and executive powers within their respective provinces, and that no other legislative or executive power does or can exist at this time in any of these colonies.

III. As all former laws are now suspended in this province, and the Congress has not yet provided others, we judge it necessary for the better preservation of good order, to form certain rules and regulations for the internal government of this county, until laws shall be provided for us by the Congress.

IV. That the inhabitants of this county do meet on a certain day appointed by the committee, and, having formed themselves into nine companies (to wit: eight for the county, and one for the town), do choose a colonel and other military officers, who shall hold and exercise their several powers by virtue of the choice, and independent of the crown of Great Britain, and former Constitution of this province.

V. That for the better preservation of the peace and administration of justice, each of those companies do choose from their own body two discreet freeholders, who shall be empowered each by himself, and singly, to decide and determine all matters of controversy arising within said company, under the sum of twenty shillings, and jointly and together all controversies under the sum of forty shillings, yet so as their decisions may admit of appeal to the convention of the selectmen of the county, and also that any one of these men shall have power to examine and commit to confinement persons accused of petit larceny.

VI. That those two selectmen thus chosen do jointly and together choose from the body of their particular company two persons to act as constables, who may assist them in the execution of their office.

VII. That upon the complaint of any persons to either of these selectmen, he do issue his warrant directed to the constable, commanding him to bring the aggressor before him to answer said complaint.

VIII. That these select eighteen selectmen thus appointed do meet every third Thursday in January, April, July, and October, at the court-house in Charlotte, to hear and determine all matters of controversy for sums exceeding forty shillings, also appeals; and in case of felony to commit the persons convicted thereof to close confinement until the Provincial Congress shall provide and establish laws and modes of proceeding in all such cases.

IX. That these eighteen selectmen thus convened do choose a clerk, to record the transactions of said convention, and that said clerk, upon the application of any person or persons aggrieved, do issue his warrant to any of the constables of the company to which the offender belongs, directing said constable to summon and warn said offender to appear before said convention at their next sitting, to answer the aforesaid complaint.

X. That any person making complaint, upon oath, to the clerk, or any member of the convention, that he has reason to suspect that any person or persons indebted to him in a sum above forty shillings intend clandestinely to withdraw from the county without paying the debt, the clerk or such member shall issue his warrant to the constable, commanding him to take said person or persons into safe custody until the next sitting of the convention.

XI. That when a debtor for a sum above forty shillings shall abscond and leave the county, the warrant granted as aforesaid shall extend to any goods or chattels of said debtor as may be found, and such goods or chattels be seized and held in custody by the constable for the space of thirty days, in which time, if the debtor fail to return and discharge the debt, the constable shall return the warrant to one of the select men of the company, where the goods are found, who shall issue orders to the constable to sell such a part of said goods as shall amount to the sum due.

That when the debt exceeds forty shillings, the return shall be made to the convention, who shall issue orders for sale.

XII. That all receivers and collectors of quit-rents, public and county taxes, do pay the same into the hands of the chairman of this committee, to be by them disbursed as the public exigencies may require, and that such receivers and collectors proceed no further in their office until they be approved of by, and have given to this committee good and sufficient security for a faithful return of such moneys when collected.

XIII. That the committee be accountable to the county for the application of all moneys received from such public officers.

XIV. That all these officers hold their commissions during the pleasure of their several constituents.

XV. That this committee will sustain all damages to all or any of their officers thus appointed, and thus acting, on account of their obedience and conformity to these rules.

XVI. That whatever person shall hereafter receive a commission from the crown, or attempt to exercise any such commission heretofore received, shall be deemed an enemy to his country; and upon confirmation being made to the captain of the company in which he resides, the said company shall cause him to be apprehended and conveyed before two selectmen, who, upon proof of the fact, shall commit said offender to safe custody, until the next sitting of the committee, who shall deal with him as prudence may direct.

XVII. That any person refusing to yield obedience to the above rules shall be considered equally criminal, and liable to the same punishment as the offenders above last mentioned.

XVIII. That these resolves be in full force and virtue until instructions from the Provincial Congress regulating the jurisprudence of the province shall provide otherwise, or the legislative body of Great Britain resign its unjust and arbitrary pretensions with respect to America.

XIX. That the eight militia companies in this county provide themselves with proper arms and accouterments, and hold themselves in readiness to execute the commands and directions of the General Congress of this province and this committee.

XX That the committee appoint Colonel Thomas Polk and Dr. Joseph Kennedy to purchase three hundred pounds of powder, six hundred pounds of lead, and one thousand flints, for the use of the militia of this county, and deposit the same in such place as the committee may hereafter direct.

Signed by order of the Committee.

EPHRAIM BREVARD, Clerk of the Committee."


These resolutions, which not only substantially declared the people of Mecklenburg, represented by the convention, free and independent of the British crown, but organized a civil government upon a republican basis, were read to the assembled multitude from the courthouse door, and were received with loud acclaims of approbation. It is said that they were read to fresh gatherings of the people several times during the day, and were always greeted with cheers.

These resolutions formed the closing proceedings of the convention, and having provided for the transmission of the resolutions to the Provincial Congress of North Carolina, to meet in Hillsborough in August, and to the Continental Congress, then in session at Philadelphia, it adjourned. Captain James Jack, of Charlotte, was the appointed messenger, and a few days after the adjournment of the convention, he proceeded to Philadelphia, and placed the papers in his charge, in the hands of Caswell, Hooper, and Hewes, the delegates in Congress from North Carolina. 47 These gentlemen, perhaps considering the movement premature or too radical, did not make the proceedings public. They still hoped for reconciliation with the mother country, and were willing to avoid any act that might widen the breach. They addressed a joint letter to the people of Mecklenburg, complimenting them for their patriotism, recommending the strict observance of order, and expressing their belief that the whole continent would soon follow their example, if the grievances complained of were not speedily redressed. For the same prudential reasons, the Provincial Congress at Hillsborough declined taking any immediate action upon their bold proceedings. 48 But for this hesitation, growing out of a sincere desire to preserve the integrity of the British realm, the world would long ago have conceded to the people of Mecklenburg, in North Carolina, the distinguished honor of making a Declaration of Independence of the British crown, thirteen months previous to the Federal declaration by the Continental Congress. That honor has not only been withheld, but the fact denied by men presumed to have positive information upon all subjects connected with Revolutionary events. Documentary evidence has settled the question beyond cavil. 49

Charlotte was the point to which Gates retreated, with a few followers, after the disastrous battle near Camden, in August, 1780, and soon afterward it became the scene of actual hostilities. After refreshing his army at Camden, and adopting further measures for keeping down the spirit of rising rebellion in South Carolina, Cornwallis moved, with his forces, toward Charlotte [Sept. 8, 1780.], for the purpose of giving encouragement to the timid loyalists between the Yadkin and the Catawba; to assist Major Ferguson, who was then across the Broad River attempting to embody the militia in the service of the king; to awe the Republicans, who were in the ascendant in Mecklenburg, Rowan, and vicinity; in fact, to conquer North Carolina before Congress could organize another army at the South. Cornwallis reached Charlotte toward the close of the month, where he expected to be joined by Ferguson and his Loyalists. But he was doomed to disappointment; that officer was soon afterward killed, and his whole force was broken up in a severe battle on King’s Mountain [Oct. 7.]. Cornwallis was diligent in issuing his proclamations, in which he denounced "the rebels;" offered pardon to those who should seek it, and protection to persons and property to those who would accept it. Gates, in the mean while, had retired, with the remnant of his army, to Salisbury, and soon proceeded to Hillsborough. Hundreds, who were stanch patriots, came forward and accepted protection from Cornwallis, for they saw no alternative but that, and the ruin of their families and estates. Among them was Colonel Ephraim Polk, who thereby incurred the suspicions of his countrymen; but when the danger was over, he renounced the forced allegiance. Non-conformity would have insured the destruction of all his property; he accepted a protection, and saved his estate. Colonel Thomas Polk was also under a cloud of distrust for a short season. 50

When Cornwallis marched from Camden, on the east side of the Wateree, Tarleton traversed the country, with his legion, on the west side of that river. At the Waxhaws, Cornwallis halted, and there Tarleton united with the main body. On the fifth of September, Major William R. Davie 51 was appointed, by Governor Nash, colonel commandant of cavalry, and, with Major George Davidson, was very active in collecting supplies for Gates’s broken army, and in repressing the depredations of the British. They had continually maneuvered in front of the approaching enemy, and fell gradually back to Charlotte as the British pressed onward. While encamped at Providence, Davie learned that some Tories and light troops were on the western bank of the Catawba, not far distant. He determined to beat up their quarters; and early on the morning of the twenty-first of September [1780.], he surprised them at Captain Wahab’s 52 plantation, and killed and wounded sixty, while he lost but one man wounded. He took ninety-six horses, with their equipments, and one hundred and twenty stand of arms, and returned to his camp, having marched sixty miles within twenty-four hours.

On the day of the engagement at Wahab’s, Generals Sumner and Davidson, with their brigades of militia, arrived at Providence. On the advance of the British, they retreated to Salisbury, ordering Colonel Davie and Major Joseph Graham to annoy the enemy on his march. Four days afterward, Cornwallis having established a post at Blair’s Mill, on Five Mile Creek, commenced his march toward Charlotte, by the Steel Creek road. Davie and Graham were on the alert, annoying him all the way. They took several of his men prisoners, in one or two skirmishes. Davie reached Charlotte at midnight [Sept. 25.], and determined to give the enemy a warm reception. He dismounted his cavalry, who were armed with swords, pistols, and muskets, and posted them in front of the court-house, under cover of a stone wall, breast high. His infantry, and Graham’s volunteers were advanced eighty yards in front on each side of the street, covered by the garden inclosures of the villagers. While this arrangement was in progress, Tarleton’s legion, the van of the royal army, approached. Tarleton was sick, and Major Hanger was in command. As soon as he reached the Common at the entrance of the village, and observed the Americans, Hanger’s trumpeter sounded a charge. The cavalry moved slowly, while the flanking infantry attacked Graham and his party. While they were engaged, Hanger, with his cavalry, rushed toward the court-house, when Davie poured a deadly volley upon them. They recoiled, but were instantly rallied on the Common. In the mean while, the contest in the street was warmly maintained. Again the cavalry charged, and again fell back in confusion to the Common. The British infantry having gained Davie’s right, he withdrew from the court-house, and formed his line on the eastern side of the town. Cornwallis had now reached the cavalry, and upbraided them for want of courage. They charged a third time, when Davie, having mounted his men, gave the enemy such a reception that they again fell back to the Common. The 71st and 33d British regiments of Webster’s brigade (which fought so gallantly at Guilford nearly five months afterward) now advanced to the support of the light troops. Davie, perceiving the contest now to be very unequal, retreated toward Salisbury, leaving Cornwallis master of Charlotte. Colonel Francis Locke (who commanded at Ramsour’s) and five privates were killed; and Major Graham and twelve others were wounded in this action. The British lost twelve non-commissioned officers and privates, killed; Major Hanger, two captains, and many privates, were wounded. Cornwallis remained in Charlotte until the fourteenth of October, when he retreated southward. It had been his intention to advance northward; but the loss of Ferguson and his corps, and the general lukewarmness, if not absolute hostility of the people, and the constant annoyance by the American troops, 53 caused him to retrograde, and on the twenty-ninth he established his head-quarters at Winnsborough, in Fairfield District, South Carolina, midway between the Catawba and Broad Rivers. There we shall leave the earl for the present.

The British army, while at Charlotte, lay encamped upon a plain, south of the town, on the right side of the road. Cornwallis’s head-quarters were next to the southeast corner of the street from the court-house; and most of the other houses were occupied, in part, by his officers. I found no person in Charlotte yet living who remembered the British occupation and the noble deeds of the patriots; but history, general and local, fully attests the patriotism of its inhabitants during the whole war. 54 It was never visited by the British army after Cornwallis returned to Winnsborough, and only for a short time was the head-quarters of the American army, while Gates was preparing for another campaign. It was at this place General Greene took the command of the Southern army from Gates, fifty days after Cornwallis decamped [Dec. 3, 1780].



1 These lines form a part of a song which was very popular at the close of the war, and was sung to the air of "Yankee Doodle."

2 This factory, in the midst of a cotton-growing country, and upon a never-failing stream, can not be otherwise than a source of great profit to the owners. The machinery is chiefly employed in the manufacture of cotton yarn. Thirteen hundred and fifty spindles were in operation. Twelve looms were employed in the manufacture of coarse cotton goods suitable for the use of the negroes.

3 Proverbs, xxxi., 19.

4 Nathaniel Greene was born of Quaker parents, at Warwick, in Rhode Island, in 1740. His father was an anchor smith, and in that business Nathaniel was trained. While yet a boy, he learned the Latin language, and by prudence and perseverance he collected a small library while a minor. The perusal of military history occupied much of his attention. He had just attained his majority, when his abilities were so highly estimated, that he was chosen a representative in the Legislature of Rhode Island. Fired with military zeal, and ardent patriotism, young Greene resolved to take up arms for his country, when he heard of the battle at Lexington. He was appointed to the command of three regiments in the Army of Observation, raised by his state, and led them to Roxbury. In consequence of this violation of their discipline, the Quakers disowned him. General Washington soon perceived his worth, and in August the following year, Congress promoted him from the office of brigadier of his state militia to that of major general in the Continental army. He was in the battles at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown. In March, 1778, he was appointed quarter-master general, and in June was engaged in the battle of Monmouth. He resigned his office of quarter-master general in 1780, and was succeeded by Timothy Pickering. He took the command of the Southern Department, December third, 1780, and in February following made his famous retreat. He engaged in the battle of Guilford, in March, 1781, when he was defeated. In April following, he fought with Lord Rawdon, near Camden, where he was again defeated, but retreated in good order, and soon afterward captured several British posts in South Carolina. He besieged Fort Ninety-Six in May, but was unsuccessful. On the eighth of September, he gained a partial victory at Eutaw Springs, for which Congress presented him with a British standard and a gold medal. This engagement closed the war in South Carolina. He returned to Rhode Island at the conclusion of the war. He went to Georgia in 1785 to look after an estate belonging to him near Savannah. While walking one day, in June, without an umbrella, he was "sun struck," and died on the nineteenth of that month, in 1786, at the age of forty-six years. His body was buried in a vault in Savannah, on the same day, but owing to negligence in designating the one, a search for his remains, in 1820, was unsuccessful. No man living can now point out the sepulchre of that ablest of Washington’s generals. On the eighth of August following, Congress adopted the following resolution: "That a monument be erected to Nathaniel Greene, Esq., at the seat of the Federal government, with the following inscription: Sacred to the memory of Nathaniel Greene, Esq., a native of the State of Rhode Island, who died on the nineteenth of June, 1786; late major general in the service of the United States, and commander of their army in the Southern Department. The United States, in Congress assembled, in honor of his patriotism, valor, and ability, have erected this monument." The Board of Treasury was directed to take action for the due execution of the foregoing resolutions.

In person General Greene was rather corpulent, and above the common size. His complexion was fair and florid; his countenance serene and mild. His health was generally delicate, but was preserved by temperance and exercise.

5 At this place a severe battle was fought on the twentieth of June, 1780, between a body of North Carolina militia and a large force of Loyalists. Early in June, General Rutherford * was in command of more than five hundred North Carolina militia, and was in the vicinity of Charlotte. Having received intelligence that the Tories were embodying in arms beyond the Catawba, in Tryon county, he issued orders to commanders in the vicinity to arouse the militia for the dispersion of those men. Ramsour’s Mills, in the present county of Lincoln, on the south fork of the Catawba, was their place of rendezvous, and toward that point he marched, he having received intelligence that Lord Rawdon had retired to Camden. The Tories were assembled under Colonels John Moore and Major Nicholas Welch, to the number of almost thirteen hundred, on the twentieth of June. On Sunday, the eighteenth, having concentrated the militia of Mecklenburg, Rowan, and neighborhood, Rutherford proceeded to the Catawba, and crossed that river at the Tuckesege Ford, on the evening of the nineteenth. He dispatched a messenger to Colonel Francis Locke, of Rowan, informing him of the state of affairs, and ordering him to form a junction with him between the Forks of the Catawba, sixteen miles from Ramsour’s. That officer, with the militia under several other subordinate commanders, in all about four hundred men, encamped on the nineteenth on Mountain Creek, higher up on the Catawba, above Beattie’s Ford, and also sixteen miles from Ramsour’s. At a council of the officers, junction with Rutherford, who was about thirty-five miles distant, was not deemed prudent, and they resolved to attack the Tories without delay. Colonel Johnson, one of their number, was dispatched to apprise General Rutherford of the situation of affairs. He reached Rutherford’s camp at ten o’clock the same night.

Late in the evening of the nineteenth, Colonel Locke and his companions commenced their march, and at daylight the following morning they were within a mile of the enemy’s camp. The latter were upon a high hill, three hundred yards east of Ramsour’s Mill, and half a mile from the present village of Lincolnton. Their position was very advantageous, and as there were but few trees upon the slope, they could fire effectually upon an approaching foe. The companies of Captains Falls, M‘Dowell, and Brandon, of the patriot army, were on horseback, and led on to the attack; the footmen were under the immediate command of Colonel Locke. The Tories were surprised. Their pickets fired when the patriots appeared, and then retreated to the camp. For a moment the Tories were confused, but, recovering, they poured such a deadly fire upon the horsemen, who had pursued the pickets to the lines, that they were compelled to fall back. They rallied, and soon the action became general. Captain Hardin now gained the right flank of the Tories, while the action was warm in the center. In two instances the parties were so close that they beat each other with the buts of their guns. The Whigs soon drove the Tories from the hill, when they discovered them collected in force on the other side of the mill stream. Expecting an immediate attack, messengers were sent to urge Rutherford forward. They met him within six miles of Ramsour’s, pushing on with all possible haste. Major Davie, with his cavalry, started off at full gallop, followed by Colonel Davidson’s infantry. They were met within two miles of Ramsour’s, with the intelligence that the Tories had retreated. Rutherford marched to the scene of action, and there encamped. The conflict was very severe, and seventy men were left dead on the ground. As all were in "citizen’s dress." it was difficult to distinguish the Whigs from the Tories among the dead. It is believed that each party had an equal number killed. About one hundred men on each side were wounded. Fifty Tories were taken prisoners. A terrible voice of wail went up from that battle-field the next day, when the relatives of the slain came there in search of them.

* Griffith Rutherford was an Irishman by birth, brave and patriotic, but uncultivated in mind and manners. He resided west of Salisbury, in the Locke settlement, and in 1775 represented Rowan county in the Convention at Newbern. In 1776 he led a large force into the Cherokee country, and assisted the people of South Carolina in destroying their corn-fields and villages. He was appointed a brigadier by the Provincial Congress, in April, 1776. He commanded a brigade in the battle near Camden, in August, 1780, and was taken prisoner by the British. He was exchanged, and was in command at Wilmington when that place was evacuated by the British at the close of the war. He was a state senator in 1784, and soon afterward removed to Tennessee, where he died. A county both in North Carolina and Tennessee bears his name.

6 Greene was quartered at Salisbury, in the house of Elizabeth Steele, a patriot of purest mold. She had heard Greene utter words of despondency, and her heart was touched. While he was at table, she brought two bags full of specie, the earnings of years of toil, and presented them to him, saying, "Take these; for you will want them, and I can do without them." Greene was grateful; and before he left her house he wrote upon the back of a portrait of the king, hanging in the room, "O George, hide thy face and mourn!" and then hung it up, with the face to the wall. That portrait, with the writing, is in the present possession of the Honorable David L. Swain, of Chapel Hill.

7 Captain Joseph Graham was an excellent specimen of those young men of Carolina who flocked to the army fighting for independence. He was born in Pennsylvania, on the thirteenth of October, 1759, and at the age of seven years accompanied his widowed mother to North Carolina. He was educated at Queen’s Museum, in Charlotte, and was a spectator at the famous convention, held there in May, 1775. In May, 1778, at the age of nineteen, young Graham enlisted in the fourth regiment of North Carolina regular troops, under Colonel Archibald Lyle. Marching northward, his commander received instructions to return to Carolina, and Graham went home on furlough. He was called into active service in the autumn of that year, and accompanied General Rutherford to the banks of the Savannah, soon after the defeat of General Ashe at Brier Creek. He was with General Lincoln while maneuvering against Prevost, and was in the severe battle at Stono, in June, 1779. A fever prostrated him, and he returned home. While plowing in the field, he heard of the fall of Charleston and defeat of Buford at the Waxhaw, and, like Cincinnatus, he left the furrow to engage in public duties. He was appointed adjutant of the Mecklenburg regiment. He was engaged in active service for some time, and fought the enemy with Major Davie, at Charlotte, in the autumn of 1780. In that engagement he was cut down and severely wounded by a British dragoon. He received six sabre and three bullet wounds. These confined him in the hospital for two months. When recovered, he raised a company of mounted riflemen, and, with his fifty men, disputed the passage of the British army at Cowan’s Ford. With his company, and some troops from Rowan, he surprised and captured a British guard at Hart’s Mill, only a mile and a half from head-quarters at Hillsborough, and the next day was with Lee when Pyle was defeated. He was engaged in active service all that summer, and in September was appointed a major, and, with a pretty strong force, proceeded toward Wilmington to rescue Governor Burke, who had been abducted from Hillsborough by Fanning, a noted Tory, and his associates. South of Fayetteville he encountered a band of Tories, and, after a severe skirmish, defeated them. His force was only one hundred and thirty-six; that of the Tories was six hundred. It was a brilliant achievement. He was engaged in two or three other military enterprises soon afterward, when the surrender of Cornwallis caused a cessation of hostilities at the South. With this campaign, Major Graham’s revolutionary services closed. In the course of four years (at the end of which he was only twenty-three years of age) he had commanded in fifteen engagements, and was greatly beloved by his companions.

Major Graham was elected the first sheriff of Mecklenburg, after the close of the war, and, in 1787, married a daughter of John Davidson, one of the members of the famous Mecklenburg Convention. By her he had twelve children, the youngest of whom, the Honorable William A. Graham, is now (1852) Secretary of the Navy of the United States. Soon after his marriage, he erected iron-works, and settled in Lincoln county, eight miles from Beattie’s Ford, where he lived forty years, and died. In 1814, one thousand men were raised in North Carolina to assist the Tennessee and Georgia volunteers against the Creek Indians. Graham was urgently solicited to take the command. He consented, and received the commission of major general. He arrived with his corps just as the Creeks had submitted to Generals Jackson, Coffee, and Carroll, after the battle at the Horse Shoe. For many years after that war, General Graham was the senior officer of the fifth division of the state militia. Temperate in all things, he enjoyed remarkable health until about the time of his death, which occurred from apoplexy, on the twelfth of November, 1836, at the age of seventy-seven years. His honored remains lie in a secluded spot, near the great road leading from Beattie’s Ford to Lincolnton.

8 Stedman, an eye-witness, from whose work the plan is copied, gives the following account of the passage of the river. This description illustrates the plan. "The light infantry of the guards, led by Colonel Hall, first entered the water. They were followed by the grenadiers, and the grenadiers by the battalions, the men marching in platoons, to support one another against the rapidity of the stream. When the light infantry had nearly reached the middle of the river, they were challenged by one of the enemy’s sentinels. The sentinel having challenged thrice and received no answer, immediately gave the alarm by discharging his musket; and the enemy’s pickets were turned out. No sooner did the guide [a Tory] who attended the light infantry to show them the ford, hear the report of the sentinel’s musket, than he turned round and left them. This, which at first seemed to portend much mischief, in the end proved a fortunate incident. Colonel Hall, being forsaken by his guide, and not knowing the true direction of the ford, led the column directly across the river, to the nearest part of the opposite bank. This direction, as it afterward appeared, carried the British troops considerably above the place where the ford terminated on the other side, and where the enemy’s pickets were posted, so that when they delivered their fire the light infantry were already so far advanced as to be out of the line of its direction, and it took place angularly upon the grenadiers, so as to produce no great effect." – History of the American War, ii., 328.

9 General William Davidson was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in 1746. His family went to North Carolina (Rowan county) when he was four years old. He was educated at Queen’s Museum, * an institution at Charlotte, where many of the patriots of Carolina were instructed; and when the war broke out he took up arms. He was major of one of the first regiments raised in Carolina, but first saw active service in New Jersey. In November, 1779, he was detached to reenforce Lincoln at the South. In a skirmish, near Calson’s Mills, a ball passed through his body, near the kidneys, but the wound was not mortal. He was appointed brigadier after the battle of Camden, in the place of General Rutherford, who was made a prisoner there. In the action at Cowan’s Ford, on the first of February, 1781, he was shot through the breast, and instantly fell dead. Congress, on the twentieth of September following, ordered a monument to be erected to his memory, at a cost not exceeding $500 dollars. General Davidson was a man of pleasing address, great activity, and pure devotion.

* This building stood upon the site of the present residence of W. J. Alexander, Esq., and was better known during the Revolution as Liberty Hall Academy. Previous to the establishment of an institution of learning here, there were but two chartered seminaries in the province; one at Edenton, and the other at Newbern. In these none but members of the Established Church were allowed to hold official station. The Presbyterians, who were very numerous, resolved to have a seminary of their own, and applied for an unrestricted charter for a college. It was granted; but, notwithstanding it was called Queen’s College, in compliment to the consort of the king, and was located in a town called by her name, and a county of the same name as her birth-place, the charter was repealed in 1771 by royal decree. The triple compliment was of no avail, It continued to exist, nevertheless, and the first Legislature under the State Constitution, in 1777, gave it a charter under the title of Liberty Hall Academy. The people of Mecklenburg would not allow any preference to be given to one religious denomination over another in the management of the affairs of the institution and with firmness they pressed forward, with a determination to maintain both religious and political freedom. These principles, ever active, made Mecklenburg, the seat of this free institution of learning – "the most rebellious county in the state" – "the Hornet’s Nest." No doubt the repealing of the charter by royal authority, of this popular institution, operated powerfully in alienating the affections of the people from the parent government; for there, as in every dissenting community in America, the establishment of "the Church" as a dominant power among them, was regarded with disfavor. Episcopacy and royalty appeared to be inseparable in interest, and concurrent in aristocratic tendencies.

Journals of Congress, vii., 148.

10 The loss on this occasion is not certainly known. Colonel Hall and three or four of the light infantry were killed, and between thirty and forty were wounded. The Americans lost Davidson, and about twenty killed and wounded. Cornwallis’s horse was shot under him, and fell as soon as he got upon the shore. O’Hara’s horse tumbled over with him in the water, and other horses were carried down the stream. – Lee’s Memoirs, 137.

11 It is related that while at Salisbury, the British officers were hospitably entertained by Dr. Anthony Newman, notwithstanding he was a Whig. There, in presence of Tarleton and others, Dr. Newman’s two little sons were engaged in playing the game of the battle of the Cowpens with grains of corn, a red grain representing the British officers, and a white one the Americans. Washington and Tarleton were particularly represented, and as one pursued the other, as in a real battle, the little fellows shouted, "Hurrah for Washington, Tarleton runs! Hurrah for Washington!" Tarleton looked on for a while, but becoming irritated, he exclaimed, "See those cursed little rebels."

12 This view of the Trading Ford, where Greene, with Morgan and his light troops, crossed the Yadkin, is from the east side of the river. It is just at the foot of an island, about a mile and a half below the great bridge on the road to Salisbury. The river is usually fordable between the island and the stakes seen in the picture; below that point the water is deep. I made this sketch just at dawn on a cold frosty morning (January 5, 1849), the moon shining brightly in the west, and the nearer stars glittering in profusion in the deep sky above.

13 Both divisions of the army were in want of rest. That of Morgan had been almost constantly in motion since the battle at the Cowpens, and had traveled one hundred and fifty miles; that of Huger had traveled one hundred miles from the camp on the Pedee, with bad wagons and poor teams, over an exceedingly wretched road. Many marched without shoes over the frozen ground, and their footsteps were marked with blood for many miles. No one can form an idea of the character of the roads in winter, at the South, where the red clay abounds, without passing over them. Until I had done so, I could not appreciate the difficulties experienced by the two armies in this race toward Virginia, particularly in the transportation of baggage wagons or of artillery.

14 OTHO HOLLAND WILLIAMS was born in Prince George county, Maryland, in 1748. His ancestors were Welsh, and came to America soon after Lord Baltimore became proprietor of the province of Maryland. He was left an orphan at twelve years of age. He was a resident of Frederick county when the war of the Revolution began, where he entered the military service as lieutenant of a rifle corps under Colonel Michael Cresap, and with that officer he went to Boston. He was afterward promoted to the command of his company. In 1776, he was promoted to major, and fought at Fort Washington with distinction. In that engagement he was wounded and captured, and for some time experienced the horrors of the provost prison of New York. He was afterward exchanged for Major Ackland, captured at Saratoga. During his captivity, he was appointed to the command of a regiment in the Maryland line. He was Gates’s adjutant general during the campaign of 1780. When Gates collected the remnant of his army, scattered at Camden, the Marylanders were formed into two battalions, constituting one regiment. To Williams was assigned the command, with John Eager Howard as his lieutenant. When Greene assumed the command of the Southern army, he perceived the value of Williams, and appointed him adjutant general. In Greene’s memorable retreat, and the subsequent battle at Guilford, Williams greatly distinguished himself; and at Eutaw Springs he led the celebrated charge which swept the field and gained the bloody victory. Congress promoted him to the rank of brigadier; and at the close of the war he received the appointment of collector of customs at Baltimore, which office he held until his death, which occurred on the sixteenth of July, 1794, while on his way to a watering-place for the benefit of his health.

15 The pony rode by the countryman who gave notice of the approach of the British was much jaded, and when he went back with Armstrong, Lee ordered his young bugler to change horses with the planter. Upon the jaded pony the bugler started for the ranks of Williams in advance. The attacking party, under Captain Miller, soon overtook the bugler, who, too small to carry a sword, was unarmed. The poor boy was cut down, begging for mercy. Lee saw the transaction just as he led his cavalry to the attack. He was greatly exasperated, and held Captain Miller responsible for the deed. That officer charged the cruelty upon the drunkenness of some of his men, but Lee would listen to no excuse. Miller escaped, as we have seen in the text. The bugler was left in the woods by the road side.

16 Lieutenant-colonel Edward Carrington was an exceedingly active officer. He had been detached with that portion of the Virginia regiment of artillery retained with the main army, when some of his companies had attended the Virginia line to the South, and had been taken at the surrender of Charlestown. On reaching North Carolina with De Kalb, Colonel Harrison, commander of the Virginia artillery, unexpectedly arrived and assumed the command. On account of a misunderstanding with Harrison, Carrington retired, and was afterward dispatched by Gates to superintend the examination of the Roanoke, to ascertain the readiest points of communication across it, to be used either in receiving supplies from Virginia or in retreating from North Carolina. Greene found him engaged in this service. Aided by Captain Smith of the Maryland line, he explored the Dan, and made every preparation for Greene to cross it with his army. Having completed his arrangements, he joined the army near the Yadkin, and was one of the most active of Lee’s officers in the retreat to the Dan. At this time he held the office of quarter-master general of the Southern army, which office he filled with honor to himself and the service. He was afterward engaged in the siege of Yorktown, where he commanded the artillery on alternate days with Lamb and Stevens of New York. After the war, he was a representative in Congress from his native state (Virginia). When Aaron Burr was tried for treason, Colonel Carrington was the foreman of the jury. He died on the twenty-eighth of October, 1810, at the age of sixty-one years. – See Lee’s Memoirs.

17 Gordon, Ramsey, Lee, Tarleton, Stedman, &c. The distance traversed by the retreating army was more than two hundred miles. It was in February, when the roads are worse than at any other season of the year, sometimes very muddy, at others frozen hard. On the day after his passage, Greene sent the following dispatch to Governor Jefferson: "On the Dan River, almost fatigued to death, having had a retreat to conduct for upward of two hundred miles, maneuvering constantly in the face of the enemy, to give time for the militia to turn out and get off our stores." Nothing of importance was lost on the way, and baggage and stores were safely crossed to the Virginia side. The condition of the army was wretched respecting clothing. The shoes were generally worn out, the body-clothes much tattered, and no more than a blanket for four men. The light corps was a little better off, yet there was only one blanket for three men. During the retreat from Guilford, the tents were never used; and Greene, in his note to Williams announcing his passage of the Dan, declared that he had not slept more than four hours since he left Guilford. The troops were allowed only one meal a day during the retreat. Before crossing, many of the North Carolina militia deserted; only about eighty remained. General Lillington (who was a colonel at the battle on Moore’s Creek), was sent with his corps to Cross Creek, to awe the Tories in that quarter.

18 Stedman says (ii., 335), "Such was the situation of the British army [at Hillsborough], that the author, with a file of men, was obliged to go from house to house throughout the town, to take provisions from the inhabitants, many of whom were greatly distressed by this measure, which could only be justified by extreme necessity."

19 These consisted of quite a large body of militia, under Pickens; a corps of cavalry, under Lieutenant-colonel William A. Washington; some militia and riflemen, under Colonel Campbell, the hero of King’s Mountain; and regular infantry, under Colonel John Eager Howard, who distinguished himself at the Cowpens.

20 Lee says, that in the woods, near the mill, where some riflemen were stationed, was an old log schoolhouse. In this building, twenty-five of the most expert marksmen, who were at King’s Mountain, were stationed by Lee, with orders not to engage in the general conflict, but to pick off officers at a distance. When Webster entered the stream, and was slowly fording its rocky bed, the marksmen all discharged their rifles at him in consecutive order, each certain of hitting him, yet not a ball touched him or his horse. Thirty-two discharges were made without effect! The hand of Providence shielded him on that day, but soon he received a fatal wound, in a battle far more fierce and bloody. – Lee’s Memoirs, 164.

21 Gordon relates that Sergeant-major Perry, and Quarter-master-sergeant Lumsford, of Lee’s dragoons, performed a very bold maneuver. They were separately detached, with four dragoons, to make observations. They saw sixteen or eighteen British horsemen ride into a farm-house yard in an irregular manner, and some of them dismount. The two young men joined their forces, charged the horsemen, and, in sight of Tarleton’s legion, cut every man down. They then retired without a scar! – Gordon, iii., 172.

22 Cornwallis first encamped, in this retrograde {original text has "retrogade".} march, on the plantation of William Rankin, a Whig, and then proceeded to the Plantation of Ralph Gorrel, another wealthy patriot. The family were turned out of doors, and sought shelter at a neighbor’s house. The soldiers plundered and destroyed until the place was made a desolation. On Sunday, the eleventh of March, the royal army proceeded to the plantation of Reverend Dr. Caldwell, one of the most ardent Whigs in North Carolina, from the time of the Regulator movement. The doctor was then in Greene’s camp, at the iron-works on Troublesome Creek. His family left the house, and retired to the smoke-house, where they remained twenty-four hours without food or a bed, exposed to the abuse and profane language of the soldiery. Cornwallis occupied the house of Mr. M‘Cuistin, on the great road from the Court House to Fayetteville. Every thing but the buildings were destroyed on the plantation of Dr. Caldwell. "Every panel of fence on the premises was burned; every particle of provisions was consumed or carried away; every living thing was destroyed, except one old goose; and nearly every square rod of ground was penetrated with their iron ramrods in search of hidden treasure." By command of the officers, the doctor’s valuable library and papers – even the family Bible – were burned in an oven near the house. All was made a desolation. Cornwallis had offered a reward of one thousand dollars to any one who should bring Dr. Caldwell into his camp. Dr. Caruthers, in his Life of Caldwell, gives many painful descriptions of the sufferings of this good man and his faithful Rachel. Dr Caldwell died in 1824, when in his hundredth year. His wife died in 1825, at the age of eighty-six.

23 The whole army fit for duty now consisted of 4243 foot, and 161 cavalry. It was composed of Huger’s brigade of Virginia continentals, 778; Williams’s Maryland brigade, and a company of Delawares, 630; infantry of Lee’s partisan legion, 82; total of Continental regulars, 1490. There were 1060 North Carolina militia; 1693 from Virginia; in all, 2753. Washingtons light dragoons, 86; Lee’s dragoons, 75. To these were added, the next day, 40 horse, under the Marquis of Bretagne, a French nobleman.

24 BANASTRE TARLETON was born in Liverpool, England, on the twenty-first of August, 1754. He commenced the study of the law, but when the war in America commenced, he entered the army, and came hither with Cornwallis. He served with that officer in all his campaigns in this country, and ended his military career at Yorktown, in 1781. On his return to England, the people of his native town elected him their representative in the House of Commons. In 1798, he married the daughter of the Duke of Ancaster. In 1817, he received the commission of major general, but never entered into active service. At the coronation of George the Fourth, he was created a baronet and Knight of Bath. In person, Tarleton was below the middle size, stout, strong, and heavily built. His legs were very muscular, and great activity marked all of his movements. He had a sanguinary and resentful temper, which made him unmerciful to his enemies. – See Georgian Era, London, 1833.

25 The inferiority of the horses of the British cavalry was owing to the fact that they had been taken chiefly from the plantations in South Carolina, and could not be compared in size and strength with those of Pennsylvania and Virginia, from whence came those of Lee. The momentum of the latter, when meeting, was much greater than that of the former, and, of course, in a charge they had a great advantage.

26 About forty of Tarleton’s dragoons were killed in this action; and it is believed that about one hundred of the infantry were killed and wounded by the riflemen. The loss of the Americans was considerably less; the exact number was not reported. Lieutenant Snowdon, of the legion infantry, was left wounded on the field. Captain Tate, who shared in Howard’s memorable charge at the Cowpens, was with Lee, and had his thigh broken.

27 These were chiefly from Augusta and Rockbridge counties, and were descendants of the Scotch-Irish, who first settled that portion of Virginia. One company was composed principally of the congregation of James Waddell, the glorious Blind Preacher of the wilderness along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge, whose person and ministration is so eloquently described in Letter VII. of Wirt’s British Spy. He gave them a farewell address when they were under arms and ready to march. Many of them were left upon the field of Guilford.

28 Dr. Caruthers, speaking from tradition, says that many of the Highlanders, who were in the van, fell near the fence, from behind which the Carolinians rose and fired. Among the Carolinians were some volunteers, under Captain John Forbes, from the Allamance, consisting chiefly of his friends and neighbors. Captain Forbes fired the first gun, and in the retreat received a mortal wound. He was found by his friends thirty hours after the battle. He said that a Tory passed him, and, instead of giving him some water asked for, he kicked him, and called him a rebel. After the death of Forbes, the Tory was found one morning suspended to a tree before his own door.

29 General Stevens had posted forty riflemen twenty paces in the rear of his brigade, with orders to shoot every man who should leave his post. This had the effect to keep the cowardly in the ranks. General Stevens was shot through the thigh during this first conflict of his brigade with the British, yet he did not quit the field. When the Carolinians retreated, he had the address to prevent his own brigade being panic-stricken, by telling them that the former had been ordered to retreat after the first fire. He ordered the Virginians to open, and allow the fugitives to pass through.

30 It was at this time that Francisco, a brave Virginian, cut down eleven men in succession with his broad-sword. One of the guards pinned Francisco’s leg to his horse with a bayonet. Forbearing to strike, he assisted the assailant to draw his bayonet forth, when, with terrible force, he brought down his broadsword, and cleft the poor fellow’s head to his shoulders! Horrible, indeed, were many of the events of that battle; the recital will do no good, and I will forbear.

31 Ramsay, Gordon, Marshall, Lee, &c.

32 This view is from the eminence southwest of the site of old Guilford Court House, near the junction of the roads running one north to Bruce’s Cross-roads, the other west to Salem. The log-house, partially clap-boarded, seen on the right, was uninhabited. It stands near the woods which intervene between Martinsville and the plantation of Mr. Hotchkiss. In the distance, near the center, is seen Martinsville, and between it and the foreground is the rolling vale, its undulations furrowed by many gulleys. In an open field, on the left of the road, seen in the hollow toward the left of the picture, was the fiercest part of the battle, where Washington charged upon the guards. Upon the ridge extending to the right, through the center of the picture, the second line (Virginians) was posted. The fence running to the right from Martinsville, down into the valley on the right, denotes the Salisbury road. The snow was falling very fast when I made this sketch, and distant objects were seen with great difficulty. Our point of view, at the old log-house, is the extreme westerly boundary of the field of controversy.

33 The British lost in killed and wounded over six hundred men, besides officers. Colonel Stuart, of the guards, and Lieutenant O’Hara (the general’s brother), of the royal artillery, were killed. General O’Hara, Lieutenant-colonel Webster, Captains Schultz and Maynard, of the guards, and Captain Wilmouski and Ensign De Trott, of the Hessian regiment, were severely wounded. All but O’Hara died of the wounds received in the battle, during the march of the army to Wilmington. The whole army deeply lamented the loss of Webster, for he was one of the most efficient officers in the British service. He was the son of an eminent physician in Edinburgh, and came to America with Cornwallis. During the operations in New Jersey, in 1777, he was very active. In 1779, he had charge of Fort La Fayette at Verplanck’s Point, and sustained the attack of General Robert Howe upon that post. He commanded the right wing in the battle at Camden; and, as we have seen, bore a conspicuous part in the pursuit of Greene previous to the battle in which he received his death wound. Webster was buried near Elizabeth, on the Cape Fear River, now Bladen county. Captains Goodrych, Maitland, Peter, Lord Douglas, and Eichenbrocht, who were wounded, recovered. Among the wounded was Adjutant Fox, a brother of the eminent statesman, Charles J. Fox.

The Americans lost in killed and wounded about three hundred of the Continentals, and one hundred of the Virginia militia. Among the killed was Major Anderson, of the Maryland line;, and among the wounded were Generals Stevens and Huger. Of the North Carolina militia, six were killed and three wounded, and five hundred and fifty-two missing. Of the Virginia militia, two hundred and ninety-four were missing. The missing, "as is always the case with militia after a battle," according to Lee, might be found "safe at their own firesides." By these desertions, Greene’s army suffered a greater diminution than that of the British, whose loss in action was so much greater. They did not, however, desert "by thousands," as the editor of the Pictorial History of England avers.

Events such as are generally overlooked by the historian, but which exhibit a prominent trait in the character of the people of North Carolina, occurred during this battle, and deserve great prominence in a description of the gloomy picture, for they form a few touches of radiant light in the midst of the somber coloring. While the roar of cannon boomed over the country, groups of women, in the Buffalo and Allamance congregations, who were under the pastoral charge of Dr. Caldwell, might have been seen engaged in common prayer to the God of Hosts for his protection and aid; and in many places, the solitary voice of a pious woman went up to the Divine Ear, with the earnest pleadings of faith, for the success of the Americans. The battling hosts were surrounded by a cordon of praying women during those dreadful hours of contest!

34 This victory of Cornwallis was considered by many British statesmen equivalent to a defeat. In the Parliament, the intelligence of the battle produced a great sensation. Ministers were dissatisfied, and the opposition had a theme for just denunciation against the policy of government. Fox moved in committee, "That his Majesty’s ministers ought immediately to take every possible measure for concluding peace with our American colonies;" and in the course of an animated debate, he declared, "Another such victory will ruin the British army." William Pitt, the successor of his father, the Earl of Chatham, inveighed eloquently against a further prosecution of the war. He averred that it was "wicked, barbarous, unjust, and diabolical – conceived in injustice, nurtured in folly – a monstrous thing that contained every characteristic of moral depravity and human turpitude – as mischievous to the unhappy people of England as to the Americans." Fox’s motion was rejected by one hundred and seventy-two against ninety-nine.

35 "No magazines were opened for our accommodation," says Lee in his Memoirs; "rest to our wearied limbs was the only boon within his gift. Our tattered garments could not be exchanged; nor could our worn out shoes be replaced. The exhilarating cordial was not within his reach, nor wholesome provision in abundance within his grasp. The meager beef of the pine barrens, with corn ash-cakes, was our food, and water our drink; yet we were content; we were more than content – we were happy." – Page 189.

36 The marriage ceremony of the Quakers is very simple. The parties give notice at a monthly meeting of the society that on a certain day they intend to enter into the holy estate of matrimony. On the day appointed, they, with their friends, repair to the meeting-house, where they arise before the whole congregation and say, the bridegroom first, "I, A B, do take thee, C D, to be my wedded wife, and promise, through Divine assistance, to be unto thee a loving husband, until separated by death." The bride then repeats the same, only changing the person. A certificate of the marriage is then read by a person appointed for the purpose, and is signed by as many present as may choose to do so. These simple proceedings compose the whole marriage ceremony, which is as binding in the sight of God and man as the most elaborate formalities of priest or magistrate. The groomsman and bridesmaid are called waiters among the Quakers of New Garden.

37 These ridge roads, or rather ridges upon which they are constructed, are curious features in the upper country of the Carolinas. Although the whole country is hilly upon every side, these roads may be traveled a score of miles, sometimes, with hardly ten feet of variation from a continuous level. The ridges are of sand, and continue, unbroken by the ravines which cleave the hills in all directions for miles, upon almost a uniform level. The roads following their summits are exceedingly sinuous, but being level and hard, the greater distance is more easily accomplished than if they were constructed in straight lines over the hills. The country has the appearance of vast waves of the sea suddenly turned into sand.

38 The Yadkin rises in North Carolina, on the east of the Alleghany range, and flows east and southeast into South Carolina. A few miles below the Narrows, in Montgomery county, it receives the Rocky River, and from thence to its mouth at Winyaw Bay, near Georgetown, it bears the name of the Great Pedee.

39 An ancient stone wall exists at Salisbury, but tradition has no knowledge of its origin. It is laid in cement, and plastered on both sides. It is from twelve to fourteen feet high, and twenty-two inches thick The top of the wall is a foot below the surface of the earth at present. It has been traced for three hundred feet. Six miles from Salisbury there is a similar wall, and may connect with the other. Conjecture alone can read its history. May it not be a part of the circumvallation of a city of the mound builders?

40 Charlotte is the capital of Mecklenburg county, and contains about fourteen hundred inhabitants. It is pleasantly situated upon a rolling plain, on the east side of the Sugar or Sugaw Creek, a small tributary of the Catawba. It is in the midst of the gold region of North Carolina, and here a branch of the United States Mint is established. Eastward of Charlotte are several productive gold mines, which are now but little worked, partly on account of the more inviting field for miners in California. The first settlers in Mecklenburg county were principally the descendants of the Puritans, Scotch-Irish, and Roundheads; and, near Charlotte, the "Sugar Creek Congregation," the first on the Catawba, was established. I passed the brick meeting-house about three miles from the village, where worshiped the PARENT of the seven congregations from which came delegates to meet in political convention in 1775. * This meeting-house is the third erected by the Sugar Creek Congregation. The first stood about half a mile west from this, and the second a few feet south of the present edifice. In the second, the mother of Andrew Jackson, late president of the United States, worshiped for a-while, when she took refuge in the Sugar Creek Congregation, after the massacre of Burford’s regiment, near her residence on the Waxhaw, in May, 1780. Near the site of the first church is the ancient burying-ground. Therein is the grave of Alexander Craighead, the first minister of the congregation. His only monument are two sassafras-trees, one at the head, the other at the foot of his grave, which are the living poles used as a bier for his coffin, and stuck in the ground to mark, temporarily, his resting-place.

* These were Sugar Creek, Steel Creek, Providence, Hopewell, Center, Rocky River, and Poplar Tent. – Foote, p. 190.

Ibid., p. 192.

41 Colonel Polk was great uncle to the late President Polk. His brother, Ezekiel Polk, whose name appears quite conspicuous in the annals of Mecklenburg county, was the president’s grandfather. "The house in which President Polk is supposed to have been born," says Honorable David L. Swain, in a letter to me of recent date, "is about two hundred yards south of Sugar Creek, and eleven miles south of Charlotte, on the lands of Nathan Orr. The house shown to me is of logs, was never weather-boarded, and is covered with a decaying shingle roof. It is formed by joining two houses together."

42 The court-house was a frame building, about fifty feet square, placed upon brick pillars, ten or twelve feet in height, with a stair-way on the outside. It stood in the center of the town, at the intersection of the two principal streets, now the village green. The lower part was a market-house; the upper part was used for public purposes. Stedman says it was a "large brick building," and Lee says it was of stone. Tradition of undoubted character pronounces it such as I have described. The village at that time contained about twenty houses.

43 Abraham Alexander was a leading magistrate in Mecklenburg county, and represented it in the Colonial Legislature. At the time of the convention, of which he was appointed chairman, he was almost threescore years of age. He died on the twenty-third of April, 1786, at the age of sixty-eight years. He was buried in the old church-yard, near Charlotte, where a plain slab, with an inscription, marks his grave.

Elijah Alexander, a relative of the chairman, and who was present when the Mecklenburg Resolutions were read to the people at Charlotte, died at the residence of his son-in-law, James Osborne, Esq., in Cornersville, Tennessee, on the eleventh of November, 1850, at the age of ninety years. He voted for every president of the United States, from Washington to Taylor. His widow, to whom he was married in 1784, was yet living. in 1851.

44 Ephraim Brevard was one of the "seven sons" of his widowed mother who were "in the rebel army." * He graduated at Princeton, and, after pursuing medical studies a proper time, settled as a physician in Charlotte. His talents commanded universal respect, and he was a leader in the movements in Mecklenburg toward independence, in 1775. When the British army invaded the Southern States, Dr. Brevard entered the Continental army as a surgeon, and was taken prisoner at Charleston, in May, 1780. Broken by disease, when set at liberty, Dr. Brevard returned to Charlotte, sought the repose of privacy in the family of his friend, John M‘Knitt Alexander, who had succeeded him as clerk of the Mecklenburg Committee, and there soon expired. His remains were buried in Hopewell grave-yard. No stone marks his resting-place, and "no man living," says Mr. Foote, "can lead the inquirer to the spot." He was a remarkable man, and, as the undoubted author of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and Constitution of Government, deserves the reverence of all patriots. His pen was often employed in the cause of freedom, and he was probably the most accomplished writer, of his day, in Western Carolina.

Minute biographical sketches of these leading patriots of Mecklenburg, if they could be obtained, would make an exceedingly useful and entertaining volume. Of the general character of the people in that vicinity at the period of the Revolution, J. G. M. Ramsey, M. D., the historian of Tennessee, who has studied the character of the Mecklenburg patriots with great care, writes thus appreciatingly to me, under date of January 19, 1852: "In regard to the people, then residing between the Yadkin and the Catawba, it is almost impossible to conceive, at this day, the incalculable benefits the country received from their immigration and settlement in it; nor the happy influences, secular, civil, religious, and literary, they uniformly diffused in their respective neighborhoods. To these are we indebted, in a great measure, for the enterprise, industry, thrift, skill, frugality, love of order, sobriety, regard for wholesome laws, family and social government, establishment of schools, churches, and a high standard of education and training for youth, attachment to well-regulated liberty, and the representative principle in government."

* When Cornwallis was in pursuit of Greene, he passed near the plantation of the Widow Brevard, and ordered it to be desolated. When asked why he was so cruel toward a poor widow, he replied, "She has seven sons in the rebel army!" What higher compliment could that noble mother have received.


The Wilsons were all stanch Scotch-Irish, and sturdy Republicans. The wife of Robert Wilson, a brother of Zacheus, like the Widow Brevard, had "seven sons In the rebel army," and also her husband. When Cornwallis retired from Charlotte, he halted upon Wilson’s plantation, and himself and staff quartered at the house of the patriot. Mrs. Wilson was very courteous, and Cornwallis endeavored to win her to the royal cause by flattering words. Her reply deserves to be inscribed upon brass and marble: "I have seven sons who are now, or have been bearing arms; indeed, my seventh son, Zacheus, who is only fifteen years old, I yesterday assisted to get ready to go and join his brothers in Sumter’s army. Now, sooner than see one of my family turn back from the glorious enterprise, I would take these boys (pointing to three or four small sons), and with them would myself enlist under Sumter’s standard and show my husband and sons how to fight, and, if necessary, to die for their country!" "Ah, general," said the cruel Tarleton, "I think you’ve got into a hornet’s nest! Never mind; when we get to Camden, I’ll take good care that old Robin Wilson never gets back again. "Mrs. Wilson died in Williamson county, Kentucky, on the 20th of April, 1853, aged ninety years. – See Mrs. Ellet’s Women of the Revolution, iii., 347.

46 I am indebted to the kindness of the Honorable David L. Swain, of Chapel Hall, John H. Wheeler, Esq., author of Historical Sketches of North Carolina and James W. Osborne, Esq., superintendent of the Branch Mint at Charlotte, for the originals from which these fac similes are made.

47 It was the regular court day when Captain Jack passed through Salisbury. Mr. Kennon, a member of the convention, was in attendance there, and persuaded Jack to permit the resolutions to be publicly read. They were generally approved; but two men (John Dunn and Benjamin Boote) pronounced them treasonable, and proposed the forcible detention of Captain Jack. For this act, Dunn and Boote were arrested by some armed men sent by the committee at Charlotte for the purpose. They were first sent to Camden, in South Carolina, to be kept in confinement as "persons inimical to the country." They were afterward sent to Charleston for better security.

48 The papers were referred to a committee, who reported on the first of September. After some discussion, the Congress resolved that "the present Association ought to be further relied on for bringing about a reconciliation with the parent state." No further notice was taken of the matter, and this brilliant spark was lost in the blaze of the Federal Declaration of Independence published the following year.

49 Almost fifty years this brilliant event in Mecklenburg county remained in obscurity, and when its radiance appeared, it was believed to be only reflected light. There appeared in the Raleigh Register, April 30, 1819, a statement over the signature of J. M‘Knitt, that a convention of representatives of the people of Mecklenburg county met at Charlotte, on the nineteenth and twentieth of May, 1775, and by a series of resolutions substantially declared themselves free and independent. * He alleged that Captain Jack bore those resolutions to the Continental Congress, and placed them in the hands of the delegates from North Carolina in that body, who thought them premature. Mr. M‘Knitt also stated that John M‘Knitt Alexander was the secretary of the convention, and that all of the original papers were destroyed when the house of that gentleman was burned in April, 1800, but that copies of the proceedings were made, one of which was sent to Dr. Hugh Williamson, of New York, who was writing a history of North Carolina, and one to General William R. Davie. This statement was copied from the Raleigh Register by the Essex Register, of Massachusetts, and was brought to the notice of the venerable John Adams. Mr. Adams sent the paper to Mr. Jefferson, accompanied with the remark that he thought it genuine. On the ninth of July, 1819, Mr. Jefferson replied to Mr. Adams’s letter at some length, disclaiming all knowledge of such proceedings, and giving his decided opinion that the article in the Register was a "very unjustifiable quiz." Among his reasons for not believing the thing genuine, he mentioned the fact that no historian, not even Williamson (whose History of North Carolina was published in 1812), alluded to any such proceedings. Such was the fact, and public opinion was divided. It was singular, indeed, that such an important event should not have been mentioned by Williamson, if he believed the resolutions sent to him by Mr. Alexander to be true copies of those adopted in convention at Charlotte. Because of a similarity of expressions and sentiments in these resolutions and the Federal Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson was charged with gross plagiarism, § while the North Carolinians were charged with attempting to arrogate to themselves a glory which did not belong to them.

In 1829, Judge Martin’s History of North Carolina appeared, and in vol. ii., pages 272-274, inclusive, he publishes an account of the Mecklenburg proceedings, with the resolutions. These resolutions differ materially from those which were possessed by General Davie, and published as authentic in a state pamphlet, prepared by order of the North Carolina Legislature, in 1831. Whence Judge Martin procured his copy, is not known. In 1830, a publication appeared denying the statements of the Raleigh Register in 1819, and also denying that a convention, with such results, was ever held at Charlotte. The friends of those patriots whose names appeared as members of the convention in question, very properly tender of their reputation and the honor of the state, sought for proof that such a convention, with such glorious results, was held in Charlotte. The testimonies of several living witnesses of the fact were procured, some of them as early as 1819-20, and some as late as 1830. Their certificates all agree as to the main fact that such a convention was held, but all are not explicit as to date, and some evidently point to other resolves than those referred to. These discrepancies caused doubts, and the public mind was still unsatisfied. To set the matter at rest, the Legislature of North Carolina appointed a committee to investigate the subject. The result was published in pamphlet form in 1831, and the statement made in the Raleigh Register in 1819 was endorsed as true. The certificates alluded to (which also appear in Force’s American Archives, ii., 855) are published therein, together with the names of the Mecklenburg Committee appended thereto. Yet one stubborn fact remained in the way – a fact favorable to a belief in the undoubted truth and sincerity of Mr. Jefferson in his denial – namely, that in no public records or files of newspapers of the day had the resolutions of the twentieth, or an account of the convention, been discovered. Some of the most important of those of the thirty-first were published in the Massachusetts Spy in 1775. Doubt still hung over the genuineness of the published resolutions, and eminent men in North Carolina made earnest searches for further testimony, but in vain.

In 1847, the Reverend Thomas Smyth, D. D., of Charleston, published an inquiry into "The true Origin and Source of the Mecklenburg and National Declaration of Independence," in which, assuming the published resolutions, purporting to have been adopted at Charlotte, on the twentieth of May, 1775, to be genuine copies of the originals prepared by Dr. Brevard, he advances an ingenious theory, by which Mr. Jefferson is impliedly defended against the charge of plagiarism and subsequent misrepresentation. Assuming that both Jefferson and Dr. Brevard were, as students of history, familiar with the confessions, covenants, and bands (declarations and pledges) of the Presbyterian Reformers of Scotland and Ireland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, he draws the conclusion that their ideas, and even their expressions, were copied from those instruments of a people struggling for religious freedom. As a proof that such forms were appealed to, he quotes Jefferson’s acknowledgment (Memoirs, &c., i., 2), that to a Scotch Presbyterian tutor he was indebted for his republican bias; and his statement (p. 6) that, in preparing a resolution at Williamsburg, recommending a fast on the first of June, 1774, they "rummaged over" Rushworth "for the revolutionary precedents and forms of the Puritans of that day." Upon these premises, Dr. Smyth argues that Mr. Jefferson and Dr. Brevard doubtless drew water from the same well, without a knowledge of each other’s act – a well from which copious draughts were made by the Father of our Republic.

While these inquiries were in progress, the discovery of documentary evidence settled the main question beyond cavil, and established the fact that, on the thirty-first of May, 1775, the people of Mecklenburg, in a representative convention assembled, passed resolutions equivalent in spirit to a declaration of independence, and organized a civil government upon the basis of political independence. Among the most indefatigable searchers after the truth, was the Honorable David L. Swain, late governor of North Carolina. A manuscript proclamation of Governor Martin, dated August 8, 1775, which was deposited in the archives of the state by Reverend Francis L. Hawks, D. D., was found to contain the following words: "And whereas, I have also seen a most infamous publication in the Cape Fear Mercury, importing to be resolves of a set of people styling themselves a committee for the county of Mecklenburg, most traitorously declaring the entire dissolution of the laws, government, and Constitution of this country, and setting up a system of rule and regulation repugnant to the laws, and subversive of his majesty’s government," &c., &c. Here was a clue. After repeated searches at the instance of Mr. Swain, a copy of the South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal, dated "Tuesday, June 13, 1775," and containing the entire set of resolutions printed on pages 412-415 {original text has "620-21".}, bearing date of May 31, 1775, was discovered by Dr. Joseph Johnson, in the Charleston Library. These were copied, and sent to Mr. Swain, who immediately forwarded a copy to Mr. Bancroft, the historian, then the American minister at the court of St. James. Before they reached Mr. Bancroft at London, that gentleman had discovered in the State Paper Office a copy of the same South Carolina paper, containing the resolutions. This paper was sent to Lord Dartmouth, the secretary of state for the colonies, by Sir James Wright, then governor of Georgia. In a letter which accompanied the papers, Governor Wright said, "By the inclosed paper your lordship will see the extraordinary resolves of the people of Charlotte-town, in Mecklenburg county; and I should not be surprised if the same should be done every where else." These facts Mr. Bancroft communicated in a letter to Mr. Swain, written on the fourth of July, 1848.

The only question unsettled now is, Whether the Mecklenburg Committee assembled at an earlier date than the thirty-first of May, 1775, and adopted the resolutions which were in possession of General Davie, and published in the Raleigh Register in 1819. It is a question of minor historical importance, since the great fact is established beyond cavil, that more than a year previous to the promulgation of the Federal Declaration, the people of Mecklenburg declared their entire independence of the British crown, and, in pursuance of that declaration, organized a civil government.

* The following is a copy of the resolutions, which were in the possession of General William R. Davie, and are now in the archives of the state, at Raleigh:

"Resolved, 1. That whoever directly or indirectly abetted, or in any way, form, or manner, countenanced the unchartered and dangerous invasion of our rights, as claimed by Great Britain, is an enemy to this country – to America – and to the inherent and inalienable rights of man.

"Resolved, 2. That we, the citizens of Mecklenburg county, do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the mother country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British crown, and abjure all political connection, contract, or association with that nation, who have wantonly trampled on our rights and liberties, and inhumanly shed the blood of American patriots at Lexington.

"Resolved, 3. That we do hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people; are, and of right ought to be, a sovereign and self-governing association, under the control of no power, other than that of our God, and the general government of the Congress; to the maintenance of which independence we solemnly pledge to each other our mutual co-operation, our lives, our fortunes, and our most sacred honor.

"Resolved, 4. That as we acknowledge the existence and control of no law or legal officer, civil or military, within this county, we do hereby ordain and adopt, as a rule of life, all, each, and every of our former laws; wherein, nevertheless, the crown of Great Britain never can be considered as holding rights, privileges, immunities, or authority therein.

"Resolved, 5. That it is also further decreed, that all, each, and every military officer in this county is hereby retained in his former command and authority, he acting conformably to these regulations. And that every member present of this delegation shall henceforth be a civil officer, viz., a justice of the peace, in the character of a ‘committee-man,’ to issue process, hear and determine all matters of controversy, according to said adopted laws; and to preserve peace, and union, and harmony in said county; and to use every exertion to spread the love of country and fire of freedom throughout America, until a more general organized government be established in this province."

To these resolutions, it is said, a number of by-laws were appended to regulate the general conduct of citizens.

The house of Mr. Alexander was destroyed in April, 1800. The date of the earliest copy of the resolutions is September of the same year.

Jefferson’s Memoirs and Correspondence, iv., 322.

§ The chief ground upon which this charge was predicated, was the identity of expression in the last clause of the third resolution, and the closing of the Federal Declaration – "We pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our most sacred honor." This charge has no weight when it is considered that this was a common parliamentary suffix. Gibbon, writing to his friend Sheffield concerning the Boston Port Bill, in 1774, said, "We voted an address of lives and fortunes, &c." See volume i. of this work, page 503 {original text has "515".}.

Dr. Johnson, in his Traditions and Reminiscences of the Revolution (Charleston, 1851), gives a fac simile of a hand-bill, containing the first three of the Mecklenburg Resolutions published in the state pamphlet, together with the names ox the committee. Dr. Johnson says it is "the oldest publication of the Mecklenburg Declaration yet found in print." This is a significant fact, The hand-bill was printed by Heiskell and Brown, who established their printing-office at Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1816. This document is not now (1852) more than thirty-five years old. It was probably printed at about the time (1819) when the resolutions appeared in the Raleigh Register.

50 Colonel Polk was then commissary of provisions. His suspected acceptance of protection from the British was considered equivalent to a renunciation of republicanism. He was, therefore, denounced as a Tory. Among Gates’s papers in the New York Historical Society is the following order, issued after Cornwallis had retreated to Winnsborough: "From a number of suspicious circumstances respecting the conduct and behavior of Colonel Thomas Polk, commissary general of provisions for the State of North Carolina. and commissary of purchases for the Continental troops, it is our opinion that the said Colonel Polk should be directly ordered to Salisbury to answer for his conduct; and that the persons of Duncan Ochiltree and William M‘Aferty * be likewise brought under guard to Salisbury. Given unanimously as our opinion, this twelfth day of November, 1780."

* M‘Cafferty, as the name is properly spelled, was a wealthy Scotchman, and was employed by Cornwallis as a guide when he left Charlotte.

51 William Richardson Davie was born at Egremont, near Whitehaven, England, on the twentieth of June, 1756. He came with his father to America at the age of five years, and was adopted by William Richardson, a maternal uncle, who lived near the Catawba, in South Carolina. He commenced study at Princeton, but during the summer of 1776 entered the army as a volunteer. He resumed his studies after the battle of Long Island, graduated in the autumn of 1776, and returned to Carolina, where he commenced the study of law in Salisbury. He was elected lieutenant of a troop of horse in 1779, and was attached to Pulaski’s legion. He soon rose to the rank of major. At Stono, below Charleston, he was wounded in the thigh. When he recovered, he returned to Salisbury and resumed his books. In the winter of 1780, he raised a troop of cavalry, with which he was very active in beating back the enemy, while forcing his way northward. He was in the battle at Hanging Rock; with Rutherford at Ramsour’s Mills, and nobly confronted the British army at Charlotte, after a brilliant display of courage and skill at Wahab’s plantation. General Greene appointed Davie commissary general of the Southern army; and he was with that officer in his Retreat, and at the battles at Guilford, Hobkirk’s Hill, and Ninety-Six. In 1783, he commenced his career as a lawyer, and the same year married the daughter of General Allen Jones. He was a member of the convention which framed the Federal Constitution. He was instrumental in procuring the erection of the buildings of the University at Chapel Hill, and as grand master of the Masonic Fraternity, he laid the corner stone. He received the commission of major general of militia in 1797, and in 1798 was appointed a brigadier in the army of the United States. He was elected governor of North Carolina the same year, and in 1799 was appointed an embassador to France by President Adams. On his return, he was engaged in some Indian treaties, but on the death of his wife in 1803, he withdrew from public life. He died at Tivoli, near Landsford, in South Carolina, in December, 1820, in the sixty-fourth year of his age.

52 Captain Wahab was with Davie on this occasion, and for the first time in many months had the opportunity of embracing his wife and children. Before he was out of sight of his dwelling, he saw his dear ones driven from it by the foe, and their shelter burned to the ground, without the power to protect them.

53 Provisions soon became scarce in the British camp, for the people in the neighborhood refused a supply. In Colonel Polk’s mill, two miles from the town, they found twenty-eight thousand weight of flour, and a quantity of wheat. Foraging parties went out daily for cattle and other necessaries, but so hostile were the people that Webster’s and Rawdon’s brigades were obliged to move, on alternate days, as a covering party. There were few sheep, and the cattle were so lean that they killed one hundred head a day. On one day, according to Stedman (who was commissary), they killed thirty-seven cows with calf. Frequent skirmishes occurred. On one occasion, the plantation of Mr. M‘Intyre, seven miles north of Charlotte, on the road to Beattie’s Ford, was plundered, the family having barely time to escape. While loading their wagons with plunder, a bee-hive was overturned, and the insects made a furious attack upon the soldiers. While their commander stood in the door laughing at the scene, a party of twelve patriots approached; * in a moment, the captain, nine men, and two horses lay dead upon the ground The British hastily retreated to their camp, believing that a large American force was concealed near.

* One of the twelve was George Graham, brother of General Joseph Graham. He was born in Pennsylvania, in 1758, and went to North Carolina, with his widowed mother, when six years of age. He was educated at Queen’s Museum, and was strongly imbued with the republican principles of the Scotch-Irish of that region. He was one of the party who rode from Charlotte to Salisbury and arrested those who proposed to detain Captain Jack, as mentioned on page 415. He was active in partisan duties while the British were at Charlotte. After the war, he rose to the rank of major general of militia, and often served his country in the State Legislature. He died at Charlotte, on the twenty-ninth of March, 1826 ,in the sixty-eighth year of his age.

54 On one occasion, the young ladies of Mecklenburg and Rowan entered into a pledge not to receive the attentions of young men who would not volunteer in defense of the country, they "being of opinion that such persons as stay loitering at home, when the important calls of the country demand their military services abroad, must certainly be destitute of that nobleness of sentiment, that brave and manly spirit which would qualify them to be the defenders and guardians of the fair sex." – South Carolina and American General Gazette, February, 1780.



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