The American Revolution in North Carolina

North Carolina's Provincial and State Troops (Not Militia)

 
Reenactment of the Battle of Hanging Rock
On September 1, 1775, North Carolina's 1,000 Provincial Troops were arranged in two regiments, each consisting of three field officers, an adjutant, and ten companies. The companies assembled at Salisbury beginning in October.  On November 28, 1775 the Continental Congress ordered both North Carolina regiments reorganized on the new Continental eight-company structure and placed on the Continental Line

1st NC Regiment 

2nd NC Regiment

On September 9, 1775, the Third Provincial Congress authorized the creation of six battalions of "Minutemen" (aka Minute Men) for a duration of six months. North Carolina legislators were not too keen on the decades-old process of mustering local Militias that were generally considered not all that effective anyway, but they could not fight over a century of local tradition, so each county continued to field their Militia regiments.

Each "battalion" of Minutemen were to consist of ten companies of fifty men each, and these were to be trained for fourteen days, then mustered once per fortnight. Each county provided one, two, or three companies of Militia to fill Minutemen battalions. The six battalions were to be established in each of the six existing judicial districts - Edenton, Halifax, Hillsborough, New Bern, Salisbury, Wilmington. This was a "standing army" paid full time by the Province. At the time of the American Revolution, the terms "battalion" and "regiment" were synonymous.

This "new concept" did not continue past the originally planned six-month duration. With two regiments of Provincial Troops placed on the Continental Line, and a request for more Continentals, along with the overall populace chronically calling the Minutemen as "Militia," the General Assembly gave in and resolved to establish new rules for the traditional Militia. Many of the officers in the now-defunct Minutemen were appointed to newer regiments created for the NC Continental Line.

At the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in February of 1776, the previously unwanted Militia acquitted themselves so well that the General Assembly reconsidered their previous stance and dropped the Minutemen in favor of each county maintaining Militia units. However, the General Assembly introduced the "Brigade" concept with a Brigadier General over each judicial (now also military) district.

Minutemen Battalions:

Edenton District

Halifax District

Hillsborough District

New Bern District
 

Salisbury District

Wilmington District
 
On December 21, 1775, the NC General Assembly split the Salisbury District Minutemen into two separate and distinct battalions, the 1st Salisbury District Minutemen and the 2nd Salisbury District Minutemen. All Minutemen battalions were abolished on April 10, 1776.
On April 16, 1776, the General Assembly authorized the creation of three companies of NC Light Dragoons. These units were placed onto the NC Continental Line on March 7, 1777. They were later removed from the NC Continental Line on January 1, 1779 and retained to ultimately be formed, along with other units, into the NC Light Dragoons Regiment. This new regiment may have been considered to be Militia, but this Author assigns them to State Troops since officers and horsemen were recruited from all over the state.
On April 29, 1776, the General Assembly authorized the creation of five (5) Independent Companies of Provincial Troops to protect the coast from Currituck to Cape Fear.
On May 9, 1776, the General Assembly authorized the creation of one company of NC Artillery. On January 7, 1777, the General Assembly authorized the creation of a second company of NC Artillery. These units were placed onto the NC Continental Line on July 10, 1777.
On November 21, 1776, two of the five Independent Companies were disbanded - Bogue Inlet and Cape Fear.
Some historians claim that North Carolina became a free and independent State with the issuance of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. With the approval of the State Constitution in late December of 1776, many historians consider that "Statehood" actually began when the State government was launched in early 1777.
In December of 1777, the three remaining Independent Companies along the coast were disbanded.
On April 24, 1778, the General Assembly approved the creation of the French Refugees Regiment by Monsieur Chariol DePlacer. He could never assemble enough men to really make this regiment useful, and it was officially disbanded in August of 1778, having never seen active duty.
On April 30, 1778, the General Assembly approved garrisons for Fort Hancock on Cape Lookout and Fort Johnston on Cape Fear. The Fort Hancock garrison was led by Capt. John Tillman, until it was disbanded on June 1, 1780. The Fort Johnston garrison was led by Capt. Robert Ellis for the duration of the war.
In January of 1779, the General Assembly created the NC State Regiment, which was assigned to patrol specific Loyalist hotspots within the State. They are not authorized to leave the State. This regiment was disbanded in October of 1779. It was recreated once again in 1781.
In February of 1779, the NC Light Dragoons companies that had been removed from the NC Continental Line were assembled, along with other units, into a new NC Light Dragoons Regiment. Some considered this regiment to be Militia, while others considered them to be NC State Troops since units from all across the State were integrated into this regiment. 
On July 30, 1779, the Council of State authorized the re-establishment of the Ocracoke Independent Company, which remained active for the remainder of the war. Capt. Adam Gaskill led this unit.
On September 5, 1780, the General Assembly authorized the creation of the NC State Cavalry-Western District, a new special regiment led by Col. William Richardson Davie. This unit remained in existence until December of 1780 or January of 1781. Once again, some consider this unit to be Militia, while others consider it to be State Troops since so many units came from all across the State.
On February 7, 1781, the General Assembly authorized the creation of the new NC Light Horse Regiment, led by Maj. James Read (soon to become a Colonel). This regiment was originally created with units from the Halifax District Brigade of Militia, but it soon integrated units from all across the State. Most consider this regiment to be Militia, but since it ultimately grew with other units, some consider it to be State Troops.
In July of 1781, the General Assembly authorized the re-instatement of the old NC State Regiment, this time led by Col. Benjamin Williams. Also during July or August of 1781, the NC State Legion Regiment was created with Col. Robert Smith of Lincoln County as its commander. There are no records of this unit within available NC State Records. Some consider this unit to be Militia, while others consider it to be State Troops since it included both Infantry and Light Horse units from all across the State.


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