Alamance Battleground, North Carolina

Alamance Battleground preserves the site of an 1771 battle between armed farmers from the North carolina backcountry, called “Regulators,” and the colonial militia led by royal governor William Tryon. The Regulators had a number of grievances against the colonial government. These grievances were not yet, as they would be in a few years, with the form of the government itself, but rather with official abuses such as excessive taxes, dishonest sheriffs, imposition of illegal fees, and even the scarcity of money with which to pay the taxes and fees they owed. The association of “Regulators” was formed in the backcountry in 1768 to address the farmers’ grievances to officials in the eastern part of the colony. When their appeals to the government failed, the Regulators refused to pay taxes and fees, resisted administration of the law, and disrupted court proceedings. Governor Tryon mustered the militia, and marched against the Regulators in the spring of 1771. On May 16, the militia confronted about 2,000 Regulators on the banks of Alamance Creek in the heart of the backcountry. The relatively undisciplined Regulators were completely unable to hold their own against the colonial militia (who were about to prove in a few years that they could not stand in the field against real professional soldiers). The militia lost nine killed and sixty-one wounded; Regulator losses were much greater. Tryon executed seven of the fifteen prisoners he took. Many Regulators moved on to other frontier areas beyond North Carolina. Those who stayed were offered pardons by the governor in exchange for pledging an oath of allegiance to the royal government. Alamance Battleground is preserved today with a granite monument that was erected as a memorial in 1880. The park grounds also contain the Allen House, a log dwelling characteristic of the frontier, built by backcountry farmer John Allen around 1780 for his family. The house was moved to Alamance Battleground and restored after John Allen’s descendants donated it to the state of North Carolina in 1967.

Alamance Battleground is located in Burlington, North Carolina 27215. Burlington is in central North Carolina, off Interstate 40/85 between Durham and Greensboro. From Interstate 40/85 in Burlington take N.C. 62 south (exit 143). Follow the directional signs on N.C. 62 for approximately six miles. The site entrance is located on the right.

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