The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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lines to represent rapine, robbery, and cold-blooded butchery in the pen portraits of the two last named.

        We therefore turn to characters moving in a higher plane, and at the bare mention of John Hamilton's name we have brought before us on the camera a character noted for brave action in the field, generosity to a foe when fallen, and all the nobler qualities typical of a soldier, although he was a loyalist and so frequently denounced for serving against the liberties of his adopted colony.

        Moore tells us (History of North Carolina, I., 249,) that after the battle of Moore's Creek the tories no longer dared open embodiment, but Lieutenant Colonel John Hamilton, a scotch merchant, late of Halifax, repaired to St. Augustine, in Florida, and established a camp, where a regiment of loyalists was organized. He soon raised a disciplined force, which proved to be a formidable aid to the royal arms in America. Colonel Hamilton had seen much military service. He had fought at Culloden; a man of large fortune and of fine social qualities, he was beloved by his troops, and respected by his opponents, to whom he was generous and humane. Even Governor Burke acknowledged his kindness to him while a prisoner. In the attack on Savannah, December 26, 1778, he was confronted by General Howe, gallantly sustaining the brunt of this battle, and Howe was defeated.

        He came to North Carolina at the same time with James Frazer, who settled at Frazer's Cross Roads, in Hertford County, and who had served under him as captain, at Culloden, and they were life long friends. Dr. G. C. Moore states that he knew Colonel Hamilton, who was for a long time after the war the British consul at Norfolk, Virginia; that he was a short, red faced man, full of gaiety, and fond of high living. He enjoyed the respect of all parties, and was of a generous, kind disposition.

        Against this picture we set the character of William Richardson Davie. None were more distinguished for gallantry and enterprise. He was tall, well made, and remarkable for his manly beauty and the dignity of his manners. He was studious in his habits, and of most refined tastes. He was a typical soldier of the southern patriots. He excelled in feats of horsemanship, and his eloquent and sonorous voice, so distinct in articulation and so commanding in delivery, could be heard over a wide field. So heartily did he espouse the cause of liberty that in organizing his command for the field, he expended the whole of his patrimonial estates. To his daring courage, his extreme vigilance, and unrelenting activity, the cause of American independence, is deeply indebted. The terror with which he inspired the tories prevented their forming in any considerable bodies, until Lord Cornwallis approached the Mecklenburg section, and his lordship found in Colonel Davie and his gallant command, as obstinate an enemy as he met in any of his campaigns. Many are the incidents of his gallantry in the field, and the graphic description of the defence of Charlotte, September 26, 1780, where, with his celebrated corps, he checked the advance of the whole of Cornwallis' army, has so frequently been recited as to become "familiar as household words."*

        * Wheeler's History of North Carolina, II., 195.

It was by such heavy blows as this that he severely crippled the enemy, and made their march so tedious and irksome as to break the spirit of their troops and make the subjugation of North Carolina an impossibility. Not the creature of circumstance, but an elegant soldier, ever brave in the defence of his country's liberty, was William Richardson Dave.

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