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



Marker Text:

     In September of 1780, coming off his victory at Camden, Cornwallis marched into North Carolina. His forces, stricken by illness, halted for two weeks in the area known as the Waxhaws, setting up camp on the north side of Waxhaw Creek. A corps of locally recruited Tories and British light troops protected his right flank. Early on the morning of September 21 (contrary to the date recorded on the sign), twenty-four-year-old William R. Davie, only days earlier appointed the commander of all cavalry in North Carolina, initiated a daring surprise attack.

     Familiar with the terrain from his boyhood, Colonel Davie found the “lawless Marauders” around 2:00 A.M. on the plantation of Capt. James Wauchope, one of his own men. At sunrise, appearing from the corn that grew right up to the house, Davie and his corps of 150 surprised the band of 300 to 400 Tories, mounted and awaiting their orders to ride. The plan worked and the enemy fled in confusion, but not before setting fire to the house and other buildings.

     By Davie’s own account, confirmed by the reports of Jethro Sumner and William Lee Davidson, sixty Tories were left on the ground, twenty of them dead. There were no Patriots killed and only one wounded. Davie’s forces captured ninety-six horses and 120 weapons. The attack was a prelude to the Battle of Charlotte on September 26 and the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7. Today a large 1869 Greek Revival style house, built by a descendant of Captain Wauchope, stands on the site. The Daughters of the American Revolution erected a marker to the “Battle of the Waxhaws” in 1941.

Blackwell P. Robinson, William R. Davie (1957)
Blackwell P. Robinson, ed., The Revolutionary War Sketches of William R. Davie (1976)
R. D. W. Connor, History of North Carolina, Vol. I: Colonial and Revolutionary Periods, 1584-1783 (1919)
Franklin and Mary Wickwire, Cornwallis: The American Adventure (1970)
H. Nelson Walden, History of Union County (1964)
Location: County:

Original Date Cast:




north carolina highway historical marker program

William R. Davie

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