The American Revolution in North Carolina

NC Government During the American Revolution - 1783

With the British now gone from Charlestown, South Carolina and a long-awaited cessation of all hostilities by Loyalists in the Southern Department, Major General Nathanael Greene started sending home much of his fairly extensive army. The North Carolina Continental Line was reduced to a single regiment, which was led by Lt. Col. Archibald Lytle.

Although all fifty-one (51) regiments of Militia remained vigilant, none saw any active duty except for a handful of units still engaged in gathering cattle and other provisions for Major General Nathanael Greene's shrinking army in and around Charlestown.

Very soon after the New Year, word arrived about the Preliminary Peace Treaty with Great Britain, and all civil and military authorities within North Carolina anxiously awaited news of the Final Peace Treaty.

As shown in the example below, the NC Continental Line soon received vouchers, commonly called warrants, for "bounty land" that they had been promised and recently authorized by the NC General Assembly. Privates were authorized 640 acres. Non-commissioned officers were authorized 1,000 acres. Subaltern officers were authorized 2,560 acres. Surgeon Mates were authorized 2,560 acres. Captains were authorized 3,840 acres. Majors were authorized 4,800 acres. Surgeons were authorized 4,800 acres. Lt. Colonels were authorized 5,760 acres. Lt. Colonel/Commandants and full Colonels were authorized 7,200 acres. Chaplains were authorized 7,200 acres. Brigadier Generals were authorized 12,000 acres.

Governor Alexander Martin was an early advocate for "forgiveness" to all but the most-ardent Loyalists within North Carolina. Many trespassers who were in jails all across the state for relatively minor offenses were soon pardoned and their lands restored. This helped tremendously to improve conditions all over the state, and it helped tremendously to reduce the over-crowding of many small county jailhouses and the backlog of county court proceedings.

On April 18th, the 1783 North Carolina General Assembly convened again in Hillsborough, and they remained in session until May 17th. During this fairly lengthy session they completed a large number of legislation that was required to get the state going in the right direction once again. Of the fifty-nine (59) laws enacted, one was intended to alleviate the potential fears of Loyalists. Also during this session, they established two (2) new counties - Greene County and Davidson County - both in what is now Tennessee. Davidson County was primarily designated as the location for all Continental soldiers' land bounties.

Also during this session of the NC General Assembly, they re-elected Alexander Martin as governor once again. They also committed to reconvene in October, and once again like last year, they did not.

On June 26th, Major General Nathanael Greene received the March 25th resolution from the Continental Congress - go ahead and furlough all troops as quickly as possible and place all military stores in appropriate magazines. The remaining North Carolina Continentals began their relatively-short march northward. The end came quietly; there was only a gradual disappearance of the few remaining soldiers. There were no more grand parades or twenty-one gun salutes.

On his way northward, Major General Nathanael Greene stopped in Wilmington, North Carolina on August 11th, and the townfolk honored him with bonfires and the firing of guns. After staying much longer than he really wanted, he resumed his ride northward on August 24th, escorted by Major Reading Blount of the North Carolina Continental Line. At every stop along the way in North Carolina, including Tarborough and Halifax, he was lavishly entertained.

On September 3rd, the final peace treaty was signed in Paris. Official news of this event did not reach North Carolina until much later, however.

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