LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

smoke from a cannon

After the Continentals fire their cannon at a reenactment of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, smoke obscures their view of the battlefield. Photograph by David Walbert. About the photograph

Nothing but blood and slaughter have prevailed among the Whigs and Tories, and their inveteracy against each other, must if it continues depopulate this Country. – Major General Nathanael Greene, March 30, 1781

Many residents of the southern backcountry did not support independence and remained loyal to the king. Some Loyalists were former Regulators who still distrusted eastern elites; others were ethnic or religious minorities who didn’t trust the colonial majority to treat them fairly.

In 1780, the British army turned its attention to the South. This “Southern Campaign” was fought not only between the British and Continental armies but between Patriot and Loyalist militias and between neighbors. In this chapter you’ll learn how these battles, large and small, were fought. You’ll learn about the experiences of some of the men and women who lived through this time, and about how some of them fought for civility in the midst of a bloody “civil war.”