north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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Essay:
      In May of 1771, Governor William Tryon led over one thousand colonial militiamen from New Bern to Orange County to quell the rebellion known as the Regulator movement. The Regulators were a group of frontiersmen who had taken up arms in protest of unfair practices of the local government. Tryon’s Camp, also known as Camp Alamance, is the site where Tryon and his men camped in the days before and after the Battle of Alamance.

      A small force of Tryon’s men arrived at the camp on May 13 and was joined by the rest of Tryon’s army the following day. Located on the south bank of Alamance Creek, the camp was approximately two miles from the community of Alamance and six miles from the Regulators’s encampment. Messages between the opposing parties aimed at producing negotiations were exchanged. Governor Tryon demanded that the Regulators surrender and the Regulators continued to petition for reforms that would ensure frontiersmen basic freedoms. Negotiations failed and, on the morning of May 16, the colonial militia advanced against the rebels. Tryon’s 2,000 Regulators met them. After once again rejecting Tryon’s terms of surrender, the Regulators were defeated and scattered from their position in under two hours. Triumphant, Tryon and his men returned to Alamance Camp that evening and brought with them several wounded Regulators to be treated by Tryon’s physicians.

      The day after the battle the governor offered a proclamation of pardon to the captured Regulators who would submit and pledge an oath of allegiance. James Few was hanged at the camp on May 17, after refusing to pledge allegiance to the king. Tryon and his troops, some in small parties of rangers, left the camp to take vengeance on known Regulators. As they marched, the men destroyed Regulators’ crops, burned their barns and homes, and stole valuable goods from people in the communities that supported the insurgents.


References:
William Edwards Fitch, Some Neglected History of North Carolina: Being an Account of the Revolution of the Regulators and the Battle of Alamance (1905)
William S. Powell, ed., The Correspondence of William Tryon and Other Selected Papers, II (1981)
William S. Powell, James K. Huhta, Thomas J. Farnham, The Regulators in North Carolina (1971)
Marjoleine Kars, Breaking Loose Together: The Regulator Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina (2002)
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William Tryon

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources