Streaker & The Revolution
©2010 R C Burnham
[words and photos]
At present, I am hanging my hat on Cornwallis Drive in Greensboro, NC just a couple of miles from the Guilford County Courthouse and National Military Park. Today, March 15, 2010 was a reasonable quiet and peaceful day on the rolling green hills of the park. However, the same cannot be said for March 15th, two-hundred and twenty-nine years ago. On that day in 1781, General Cornwallis of his Majesty’s army was on a march north.
The morning arrived clear and cold but due to recent winter rains the ground was soggy, not frozen, making Cornwallis’s march a slow and wearing one. In the damp woods just west of Guilford Courthouse, the hub of an isolated and little known farming village along the main road through North Carolina, some 4400 American troops, in uniforms, country clothes and in a few cases bedclothes, waited for battle under their leader and commander of the Continental Army South, General Nathanael Green.
The battle, now remembered as ‘The Battle of GuilfordCourthouse’, was fierce, bloodied and left a quarter of Cornwallis’s British troops dead or dying upon the soggy grass. In the end, General Greene opting to keep most of his army intact, gave up the field and withdrew to fight another day. Cornwallis, perhaps undeservedly and definitely wretchedly, was said to have collected another victory. The outcome was anything but a British victory.
“Another such victory will ruin the British Army”
These prophetic words were the words used by Charles James Fox before the English House of Commons when news reached London of the battle the British forces had won at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina. The so-called victory had devastatingly weakened the British and started Cornwallis on his ill-fated road to Yorktown, where he would ultimately surrender, ending the war and giving America its independence.
Yesterday, Streaker and I decided to go walk the park and had no knowledge of the battle fought or the fact that this weekend was its 229th anniversary. Imagine our surprise when we crested a small knoll and peering just beyond the trees, found ourselves overlooking a gaggle of dastardly “Redcoats”. It would seem, Streaker continues to have impeccable timing…
Thanks for coming along. Streaker says if you would like to read the definitive account of this two-hour but war-turning battle then you should check out "Another Such Victory" by author Thomas E. Baker.