The American Revolution in North Carolina

March 10, 1775

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

September 10, 1780

February 15, 1781

August 10, 1781

April 24, 1782

June 15, 1782

January 15, 1783

May 15, 1783


August 16, 1780 was another terrible day for North Carolina military units - this time it was the Militia that suffered greatly. Since the NC Continental Line was almost wiped out earlier at the Fall of Charleston on May 12th, the few remaining NC Continentals were mostly at home recruiting. A couple of NC Continental officers led NC Militia units under Major General Richard Caswell, who joined up with the new commander of the Southern Department - Major General Horatio Gates, who had come south to replace Major General Benjamin Lincoln who was captured at the Fall of Charleston, SC.

It was on this fateful day that the battle of Camden, SC took place. Over 2,000 NC Militiamen were involved in this infamous battle, also known as "Gates's Defeat." Most fled without firing a shot. Those led by NC Continental Lt. Col. Henry "Hal" Dixon acquitted themselves with honor and fought valiantly, but were soon overwhelmed and also forced to retreat.

Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford was taken prisoner on this day. Lt. Col. Stephen Moore of the Caswell County Regiment was also a prisoner. Two Majors and nine Captains were also prisoners, three of which later died of Smallpox while in captivity. During Rutherford's absence, the NC General Assembly commissioned Brigadier General (Pro Tempore) Henry William Harrington to oversee the Salisbury District Brigade of Militia back home. With Brigadier General William Caswell in South Carolina, they also commissioned Brigadier General (Pro Tempore) John Simpson to oversee the New Bern District Brigade of Militia back home.

Although many men were killed and wounded at the battle of Camden, the greatest impact to the North Carolina war effort was the loss of so many stand of arms and the loss of over 90% of the State's wagons and carts. North Carolina now had major problems trying to field new recruits of any type - Militia or Continentals.

In the meantime, the garrison at Fort Hancock on Cape Lookout was disbanded on June 1st, never to be reconstituted. The rationale for this inane decision has been lost to posterity.

Prior to the battle of Camden, SC, the State hurriedly created two new special regiments of Militia on June 2nd, both placed under the command of Brigadier General Isaac Gregory. Most of these men were actively engaged in the battle of Camden, SC. However, many units took too long to assemble and learned of Gates's Defeat before they could participate, so they turned around. 29 companies of NC Militia are known to have been too late and most went to Salisbury to await new orders. An interesting "what if?" - what if these 750+ men had made it in time? Would the outcome had been any different? We will never know.

Sometime in early August, the 2nd Mecklenburg County Regiment was disbanded, never to be reconstituted. Also during August, the NC General Assembly authorized the creation of a new unit, called the "Mounted Volunteers," a new regiment of Light Horse led by Col. Philip Taylor of Granville County. This unit was active from August to December of 1780 and mostly patrolled in the Salisbury District while Lord Cornwallis was in North Carolina.

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