Battle of Guilford Courthouse Facts

Battle of Guilford Courthouse Facts
The Battle of Guilford Courthouse was fought on March 15, 1781 in Guilford County in what is today Greensboro, North Carolina. It was the largest battle in the Southern Theater of operations during the American Revolution and highly important because it set up the final confrontation between generals Washington and Cornwallis at Yorktown. Although General Cornwallis and the British were technically victorious, it came at great expense as ninety-three British soldiers were killed and more than 400 wounded. Cornwallis was forced to leave the territory and link up with Benedict Arnold's forces in Virginia to begin their final march to Yorktown. American General Nathanael Greene's forced suffered 126 killed and nearly 200 wounded, but were able to march into South Carolina and recover most of the south from Loyalist forces.
Interesting Battle of Guilford Courthouse Facts:
The British victory was considered "Pyrrhic" because the amount of losses they suffered made Cornwallis' force largely ineffective.
The term "Pyrrhic Victory" is derived from the third century BC king of Epirus, Pyrrhus, who defeated the Romans in a series of battles in Italy, but had to retreat to Greece because he lost most of his army in the process.
Greene's army was about twice as large with over 4,000 men to Cornwallis' 2,000 men. The majority of Greene's force was inexperienced and unreliable North Carolina and Virginia militias, though.
Besides having a more experienced core of fighters, the British also had three cannons. The Americans had two cannons
The Americans had the advantage of holding higher ground above an open field.
Greene positioned his weaker militia units on the first two lines with his stronger, more experienced Continentals on the third line.
Cornwallis attacked the lines with a frontal charge and suffered heavy casualties. Many of the militia then ran into the surrounding forests.
The battle only lasted for about an hour and a half.
General Cornwallis had his horse shot from underneath him but was uninjured.
At one point late in the battle the British fired their cannons into a skirmish, killing both Americans and British in process.
Although he lost the ground, Greene oversaw an orderly retreat that allowed him to keep his Continental regulars and a good share of the militia intact and available for action in South Carolina.
The most seasoned and solid American regiment was the 1st Maryland. It was the regiment that held the line at the Battle of Long Island, allowing for an orderly American retreat.
The battle took place in the early afternoon.
Along with the British regulars was the British Legion, led by Colonel Banastre Tarleton. The Legion was a Loyalist dragoon militia that had requited itself quite well in previous battles in the Southern Theater.
Colonel Tarleton lost two fingers in the battle
The battle was part of the larger Carolinas Campaign and Cornwallis' plan to eliminate all Patriot opposition in the south. Although Georgia and South Carolina had fallen, partially due to large numbers of Loyalists, North Carolina proved to be more divided with large pockets of the population sympathetic to the Patriot cause.
The area where the battle was fought is now part of the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. Reenactments of the battle are done every year.

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