The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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cannon ready to fire. Burns, with heartfelt chagrin, was compelled to surrender. Thus he and his crew were taken prisoners.

        After the close of the war he was released, and he returned home. With the characteristic extravagance of a sailor, he squandered his property and was very poor in the declining years of his life. His generous qualities and social temperament, with the fame of his daring exploits at sea, (about which he was very fond of talking,) made him a great favorite of the people. He was "sudden and quick in quarrel," full of frolic, fun and fight, and towards the close of his life became very dissipated. He died in 1849, while in command of a light boat. His eventful life was so interesting that it once formed the subject of a lecture by Governor Swain.


        THIS county having been formed since our Declaration of Independence, her revolutionary history is connected with that of Orange County, from which it was taken. It preserves the name of Richard Caswell, who was one of the most active and efficient patriots of that eventful epoch. He was the first governor after the Royal governor had left, and did great service, not only as governor, but as a soldier and statesman.

        He was a native of Maryland; born in Cecil County on August 3, 1729. The year in which the Lord Proprietors of North Carolina surrendered their charter to the Crown, George II. then being King.

        Mr. Caswell came to North Carolina when quite a youth to seek fame and fortune. He was duly appreciated, and appointed clerk of Orange County, and deputy surveyor of the colony.

        He read law, and practiced it with great success. He settled in Lenoir County, then Dobbs, where he married Mary McIlweane, and afterwards he removed to Johnston County. The people were not slow to discern his abilities, and he was elected to represent them in the assembly in 1754. So acceptable were his services that he was continued until 1771, being chosen speaker during the last two sessions. He was the colonel of the county, and as such commanded the rightwing of Tryon's army at Alamance, May 16, 1771. This was his first appearance in the profession of arms, which was congenial to his nature, and in which he was destined to be so conspicuous.

        Like many other patriots of that day, they forbore, as long as patience would allow them, the cruelties of the mother country towards the colonies, but when the attempts of England to subjugate the liberties of the people became too oppressive he did not hesitate to advocate the rights of the many thus threatened by power and oppression.

        By the first Provincial Congress that organized in opposition to the Royal Government, (August 25th, 1774, at New Berne,) he was, with William Hooper and Joseph Hewes, appointed delegate to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, and attended for three years.

        He was looked upon with great respect by the Royal Governor, Martin, and his course
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