The American Revolution in North Carolina

September 15, 1775

October 25, 1775

November 28, 1775

December 22, 1775

February 27, 1776

May 15, 1776

June 15, 1776

November 30, 1776

December 31, 1776

February 15, 1777

May 1, 1777

August 1, 1777

October 15, 1777

December 20, 1777

May 10, 1778

August 17, 1778

February 15, 1779

June 1, 1779

December 31, 1779

May 12, 1780

August 16, 1780

September 10, 1780

February 15, 1781

August 10, 1781

April 24, 1782

June 15, 1782

January 15, 1783

May 15, 1783


Since the early days of the colony, North Carolinians had organized militias to defend against the Indians and Spanish raiders. For nearly 100 years, the militia had a formal structure that evolved over time in concert with the political divisions of the colony, typically by counties. It was not until the Third Provincial Congress that met in August and September of 1775 did the inexperienced new government really begin taking active steps in providing for its self defense. However, local civic leaders allegedly began assembling their militias as early as September of 1774, immediately after the First Provincial Congress.

Since these folks were volunteers, there were not many demands placed upon them at these early dates. Some units actually met frequently and went through the motions of training as well as outfitting themselves properly. Other units seldom, if ever, actually got together formally - perhaps individuals knew each other and they met at church or at the local tavern to discuss the "state of affairs" as men usually do. Although it took some time for "news" to travel from other colonies to North Carolina, by the summer and early fall of 1775 there was virtually no one within the colony who did not know what was going on all across the thirteen colonies.

The war "officially started" with the "Shot Heard Around the World" - at Lexington, Massachusetts on April 18, 1775 - however, for more than a year all participants across the thirteen colonies hoped for a reconciliation with "mother England," and all interim fighting seemed to reflect that sentiment on both sides. With the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, this sentiment no longer held true for either side, and the fighting became both intense and brutal. While it is possible that some of the men who volunteered in early 1775 might have foreseen what was to come, the greatest majority of them simply volunteered expecting "very little," if anything, to actually happen. And, this is exactly what happened within North Carolina for the first year.

At this early time, many men and women "struggled" with the decision as to whether to back the Patriots or to back the King. As might be expected, about 1/3 were staunch Patriots, about 1/3 were staunch Loyalists, and about 1/3 were sitting on the fence - either truly non-committed or waiting to see how things proceeded. "Very little" of consequence did happen within the first six months of 1775 - that is, until Royal Governor Josiah Martin finally realized that his position in New Bern was not very safe, and he hastily went to the Cape Fear where a British sloop of war - the HMS Cruizer - was stationed . He remained on board the HMS Cruizer for well over a year, hoping to retake the reins of North Carolina's government.

The Patriots in North Carolina were more than determined to see that his hopes never materialized.

© 2014 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved