During the War for Independence,

Halifax may have been

the liveliest town in the new state. It certainly was the most

important in the year 1776, when North Carolina became

the first state to go on record urging the United States to

seek independence.

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North Carolinians did not always earn praise

during the southern phase

of the War for Independence. Robert Howe of Brunswick had been made

the ranking American general in the Carolinas by the Continental Congress.

Howe, however, lost Savannah, Georgia, to the British in late 1778.

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North Carolinians Defend Their Homeland

Faced with an enemy at their doorsteps, North Carolinians gathered

their courage and their resources and fought back. Even before the battle

at Camden, Whigs along the Catawba River had attacked a large contingent

of Tories gathered to go join Cornwallis. On June 20, 1780, more

than a thousand Tories were defeated at Ramsour’s Mill, at the site of

present-day Lincolnton.

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The British Chase the American Army

With Cornwallis in retreat, the small group of American troops left in

Salisbury advanced to Charlotte. In the winter of 1780, their new commander,

Nathanael Greene, arrived. Greene found the army almost starving

to death. To find supplies, he split it in two, sending one division

west under General Daniel Morgan and taking the other east himself.

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