Battle of Guilford Courthouse

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The website of the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park includes the information you'll need for a visit to the park and its visitors' center, as well as historical background.

On March 15, 1781, in what is now Greensboro, the British won the Battle of Guilford Courthouse but were greatly weakened, which helped the Americans to win the War for Independence. If you would like to learn more about this famous local battle, take a look at these books. 

For a description of events here in Guilford County, try these books:

Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford CourthouseBabits, Lawrence E., and Joshua B. Howard. Long, Obstinate, and Bloody: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2009.

This is the longest, most complete book on the battle. It draws on pension documents, muster rolls, and personal accounts, getting down to such details as where particular individuals stood on the battlefield, when they were there, and what they probably saw. Babits teaches history at East Carolina University, and Howard is a research historian at the NC Office of Archives and History.

Baker, Thomas E. Another Such Victory. Eastern National, 1981.

Tom Baker, a historian who worked for the National Park Service at the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, used to travel to West Point to teach this book to the cadets. He illustrated his outstanding description of the battle with the National Park Service’s troop movement plans.

Hatch, Charles E., Jr. The Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Washington, DC: United States Department of the Interior, 1971.

This study of the battle, drawing on personal accounts, includes drawings of battle plans.

Newlin, Algie I. The Battle of New Garden. Greensboro: North Carolina Friends Historical Society and North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, 1977.

This book tells about a battle which was fought near the present-day Guilford College campus on the morning before the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

To put the local battles into perspective, read these:

The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the CarolinasBuchanan, John. The Road to Guilford Courthouse: The American Revolution in the Carolinas. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997.

This is an extensive account of events in North and South Carolina. An interesting feature is the collection of biographical sketches of the story’s main characters.

Davis, Burke. The Cowpens-Guilford Courthouse Campaign. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1962.

Davis was a North Carolina writer known for histories and biographies. He studied at Guilford College. His home, near Greensboro, had been used as Cornwallis’ headquarters and as a hospital after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

Rankin, Hugh F. Greene and Cornwallis: The Campaign in the Carolinas. Raleigh: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1976.

Here’s a good summary of the campaign.