|Location||5083 NC 62 S|
North Carolina’s War of Regulation started when many of the farmers of Piedmont disagreed with the rising taxes and ideas of the government officials. They were opposed to the seizing of their property and were unable to speak to their representatives about repayment for their losses. These farmers created the group of the Regulators who tried to obtain these freedoms through peaceful opposing to the colonial assembly and to Royal Governor William Tyron. As these meetings came up with fruitless efforts, violence came as well. Regulators became rebellious, making threats to burn the town of Hillsborough and assaulting officials. After two Regulator leaders were arrested and released, the group grew and decided to take action. Governor William Tyron started to gather a militia to stop the Regulators in March of 1771. The Alamance Battleground is a historic site dating back to 1771, four years before the start of the Revolutionary War. It is now a North Carolina State Historic Site because of the bloodshed that occurred between Piedmont’s Regulation movement and Royal Governor William Tyron’s colonial militia. It was part of North Carolina’s War of Regulation from about 1768 to 1771 and was the only true war throughout that time period. This battle changed American history greatly in the years to come, paving the way towards independence from Great Britain.
Two groups of militiamen were formed, one led by General Hugh Waddell and one led by Governor William Tyron. Many of the militiamen did not want to fight their own people and did not show up to help the Governor and General, leaving the groups smaller than expected. After gathering together and finding where the Regulators were located, Tyron, Waddell, and the militiamen advanced towards Alamance Creek with approximately one thousand men.
The militiamen were faced with two thousand Regulators, many of them with little to no weapons, on the morning of May 16th, 1771. The opposing side had powerful cannon and formal lines while approaching their enemies. As a sign of peace, Regulators sent over three of their men to negotiate with Governor William Tyron. However, the governor killed one of them and captured the other two, stating across the enemy line for them to leave or he would engage his men to fight. The Regulators refused to surrender to the militiamen.
The militiamen had to be told twice by Governor William Tyron to begin attacking because they did not want to fight men from their own state. They were given the option of either killing the Regulators or killing the general. Fearing the consequences of killing royalty, they began to attack their opponents. The battle was approximately two hours long, leaving many Regulators who were unarmed to flee the field before the militia advanced. The ones that stayed fought from behind trees but their efforts were unsuccessful. The militia continued to advance with cannons and their lines.
Ultimately, Governor William Tyron won the battle against the Regulators. However, sixty-one of his men were wounded and nine were killed. The Regulators lost a greater amount of men than the militia, but it is still not known how many. The militia captured around twelve Regulators and six of them were hanged later. The governor then started to destroy the Piedmont area after the battle, devastating many families.
It is debated whether or not this battle was the start of the American Revolution, but it did spread word around the different colonies to rise above the oppression that was happening in the area.
The Alamance Battlefield can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM and is free admission.
To find more information about the battleground, call 336-227-4785 or email [email protected]v