The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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to raise the Militia, until we returned home, (the orders to raise the Militia came to me about the middle of June, 1776, and we did not return until about the last of October or first of November, 1776,) being about four months in service in all.

        After our return he had some little relaxation, until an express was sent to me from our Court House, that Tories in the south end of the County, now called Randolph County, were in a state of insurrection with one William Fields, their head Colonel, and wished to go to the British at Wilmington. I repaired to the Court House directly and ordered out Samuel Gilaspie, our Captain of Light Horse Company and took Fields, their leader and brother, and three or four more of their leaders, and brought them prisoners to the Court House, and our jail not being sufficient I sent them to Hillsboro' jail, and previously I had ordered all their guns taken from them and all they could find among the disaffected and bring them to the Court House and give them to the honest Whig party that had none, and the time I spent at the Court House to order the suppression of the Tories in our County could not be less than six weeks, off and on, and I returned home to Dan River where I then lived; this is from recollection, as I said before, for I kept no journal.

        In 1781, about the 1st of January or the last of December, 1780, I was ordered and commanded by General Green to raise and call upon the Guilford Militia en masse, and to equip themselves as the law directs, and for me to come and join in his camp under the regular service and not to report without leave, but guns were wanting by a number of the men, and I had to have recourse to impress and borrow as many as I could get, and I could raise only about 200 to go with me to camp and they hearing that the British were marching towards us in Guilford, it struck such a terror on them that some of that number deserted before the battle at Old Martinsville; however I marched and joined General Green with what I had, and we retreated before the British until we came to Roanoke and crossed the river at Boyd's Ferry and come to Halifax Court-House in Virginia and encamped two or three weeks. The British had followed us in sight of the river, and sometimes were facing our rear, but no skirmishes took place at that time and they returned again to Guilford County where they harrassed and plundered the inhabitants as they pleased; and General Green, in Halifax, had encamped more than three weeks, and re-crossed the Roanoke River and marched back in Caswell County and thence to part of Guilford, just manoeuvering about until he could collect all the Militia of the different counties of the State, and also from Virginia, to meet the enemy for battle. And I came and marched with General Greene to the High Rock Ford on the Dan River and camped there on the east side of it, and the British manoeuvering on the west side of the County, and General Greene after halting there about three weeks thought he had collected all the forces from Virginia and lower counties of the State resolved to move toward the British to give them battle, as he did.

        He came to Guilford's old Court-House where he made a halt, and hearing that the British was moving towards him he drew up his men in three lines about 100 yards behind each other and waited the advance of the British. I was posted in the front line with scarce a complete Captain's company, commanded by Captain Forbes, a brave, undaunted fellow. We were posted behind a fence and I told the men to set down until the British, who were advancing, came near enough to shoot; when they came in about 100 yards, a British officer with a drawn sword, driving up his men. I asked Captain Forbes if he could take him down; he said he could for he had a good rifle, and asked me if he should shoot then; I told him to let him come in 50 yards and then take him down, which he did. It was a captain of the British army, and at that instant General Greene sent his aid-de-camp for me to go to him, and I went and asked him his command. He told me as he had begun battle, and I had not a complete regiment, he wished me to go with Major Hunter to the Court House in case of a defeat, to rally the men, which we did, and collected about 500, and was marching them to the battle ground when I met General Stephens, of the Virginia Corps, retreating. I asked him if the retreat was by General Greene's orders. He said it was. I then retreated with him and ordered the men to repair to the Troublesome Iron Works to outfit as General Greene had ordered me, which we obeyed The British then took possession at the Court-House, and after a few days they moved off towards Wilmington. General Greene hearing of their movements, started after them, but our Militia of the country being so disheartened I could not bring any to join him again. This was in 1781;
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