The American Revolution in North Carolina


Signers of the Declaration of Independence


Timeline of Key Events


Forts in North Carolina

Known Battles & Skirmishes

The Patriots and Their Forces

The British Forces & Their Allies / Loyalists

Maps of Revolutionary War Battles/Skirmishes in North Carolina

Roads and Trails as of 1775

NC Government During the Revolution 

NC Counties During the Revolution

North Carolinians reacted strongly to British taxation and reorganization schemes introduced in 1763. The Stamp Act and the Townshend Act drew the growing radical element's ire in particular and led to the emergence of a Sons of Liberty group. Pressure was exerted on colonial officials in the colony, which forced them to abandon efforts to implement the Stamp Act; only the royal governor held firm and attempted to enforce the law.

North Carolina responded to the Tea Act of 1773 by creating and enforcing non-importation agreements that forced merchants to drop trade with Britain. In the following year, when Massachusetts was punished by Parliament for the destruction of a shipload of tea in Boston Harbor, sympathetic North Carolinians sent food and other supplies to its beleaguered northern neighbor.

North Carolina Royal Governor Josiah Martin opposed his colony’s participation in the First Continental Congress. However, local delegates met at New Bern and adopted a resolution that opposed all Parliamentary taxation in the American colonies and, in direct defiance of the governor, elected delegates to the Congress.

During the War for Independence, the opposing sides in North Carolina took on the names of English Parliamentary parties. The "Whigs" were the Patriots and the "Tories" were the Loyalists. Tory forces were defeated in the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in February of 1776, the first military action in North Carolina and the last for over four years.

The Fifth Provincial Congress met in Halifax in late 1776 and adopted a State Constitution and Bill of Rights, which were notable for the establishment of a strong legislature and a weak executive — clearly a reaction to their recent history under royal governors.

The North Carolina Militia did see action in neighboring Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia. In March of 1781, American forces under Continental Army Major General Nathanael Greene engaged Lt. General Charles, Lord Cornwallis' forces at Guilford Court House, which soon prompted the British to vacate the Carolinas. 

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