Alamance Creek

Other names:

3/5/1781 *Capt. Robert Kirkwood vs. Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton

Where: 36.005878, -79.52851 Alamance Creek

Maps: [map notes]


  • Alamance Cr

  • Desmarais, Norman, The Guide to the American Revolutionary War in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginis, and North Carolina, p.218. Ithaca: 2011, Busca Inc.
    Alamance River:

  • O'Kelley, Patrick, Nothing But Blood and Slaughter, The Revolutionary War in the Carolinas, Vol. Three, 1781. p.112, 124, Bradenton, FL, 2005.
    RevList post: "225 years ago today - Guilford Campaign - Alamance River, NC"
    Alamance River, North Carolina
    7 March 1781
    A day after the skirmish at Wetzell’s Mill Williams decided to try his hand at surprising Tarleton’s camp. Williams assigned Captain Robert Kirkwood and his Delaware Continentals to raid the Provincial camp. Captain Kirkwood took forty riflemen with him. After conducting a reconnaissance of the camp Kirkwood moved against Tarleton’s force at one o’clock in the morning. Tarleton’s sentries challenged Kirkwood’s men, but they received no answer. They “immediately discharged their pieces and ran in to their guard.” Kirkwood’s men captured one of the sentries, and he guided them to the guard post. The Patriots “fired very briskly at them.” Tarleton quickly formed his men and moved his camp two miles away to the main army. As he marched to his new camp Tarleton ran into a large group of Loyalists, marching in to join Cornwallis. Tarleton thought that they were rebels and began to cut them down. The Loyalists thought that the British Legion were Patriot forces and began to fight back. Sergeant Major Seymour wrote, “There commenced a smart skirmish in which great numbers of the Tories were sent to the lower regions.” This was the last straw for many of the Loyalists. After Pyle’s massacre and Tarleton’s fratricide very few came to fight for Cornwallis. Kirkwood’s raiders marched back to their camp, and arrived there at daybreak. Seymour wrote that they had “marched all night through deep swamps, morasses, and thickets, which rendered our marching unpleasant and tiresome, twenty-six miles.”

  • Sherman, "Calendar..." . To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".

    3 March (also given as the 5th , and 6th ). [skirmish] Alamance Picket (Alamance County, N.C.) Otho Williams’ light troops, including Kirkwood’s Delaware company, in the evening of the 3rd , surprised a British picket, capturing 2 and killing and wounding a small number. American losses, if any, are not recorded. Greene wrote to von Steuben on the 5 March: “On the evening of the 3rd , one of the enemy pickets were surprised by Captain Kirkwood.”
    Kirkwood: “March 3d Some few were killed but only 2 Prisoners were taken.
    “March 4th We came up with the Enemy at Allmance...[marched] 60 [miles]
    “March 5th Marched this night to the old Regulation ground and attack’d the advance picquet. Brought off one of their Centinells & returned to Camp by morning...[marched] 24 [miles].”
    Note: Kirkwood identifies the place of the action as the 1771 Alamance battleground. Basis of location.

    Search for alamance creek (12 returns).

  • RevWar75 RevWar75  
  • Mar 1781 listing: 3/5/1781 Alamance River. American victory.

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