Monday, November 10, 2014

"Fire and be damned"

16 May 1771
Alamance Creek, North Carolina

Final Battle of the War of Regulation

North Carolina Farmers vs The Colonial Government of North Carolina



Angered by excessive taxation and corrupt government officials, North Carolina citizens expressed "Grievances affecting the daily lives of the colonists included excessive taxes, dishonest sheriffs, and illegal fees.”[1]

Regulators: James Hunter, Rednap Howell, William Butler, and Herman Husband.  Herman Husband was a follower of Benjamin Franklin.

Colonial Militia: Governor William Tryon, Gen. Hugh Waddell

Governor Tryon orders the Regulators to disband, after 1 hour the Regulators return their reply “Fire and be damned.”  Governor Tryon orders the militia to fire, they hesitate and Governor Tryon stands orders them “Either fire on them, or fire on me!”  The Militias fires its canon and after a short battle the Regulators retreat.

15 Regulators are captured and 7 are hung. “The executed men included James Few, Benjamin Merrell, James Pugh, Robert Matear, "Captain" Robert Messer, and two others. Six other convicted Regulators – Forrester Mercer, James Stewart, James Emmerson, Herman Cox, William Brown, and James Copeland – were pardoned by King George III and released by Tryon.”[2]

Although this battle was not fought against the governments right to tax, or even the laws imposed by the British government, it did provide an example of how a small group of protestors could stand up to the government.

Aftermath: Governor Tyron would leave the North Carolina Colony and become Governor of New York in June of 1771.  He would serve as Governor of New York until General Howe imposes martial law in 1776.

Herman Husband would return to Pennsylvania and later be jailed by the newly formed United States Government for the Whiskey Rebellion.


[1] Source http://www.nchistoricsites.org/alamance/main.htm accessed 10 November 2014 0614am
[2] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tryon accessed 10 November 2014 0634






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