The Battle of Alamance was fought on May 16, 1771, at a site located 10 miles south of Gibsonville, NC on State Highway 62 in Alamance County. It officially ended the “Regulator” movement that began in the late 1760’s.
About 1,000 militia troops from Coastal Carolina under the command of Royal Governor William Tryon were engaged in the two-hour battle against approximately 2,000 backcountry Western Carolina “Regulators.” The militia had eight cannon, and military training, while the “Regulators” were disorganized. Governor Tryon reported that nine of his men were killed and sixty-one wounded in the battle, while the Regulator casualties were undocumented, but much greater.
Corrupt appointed government officials, and the lack of representation were the primary concerns of the Regulators. In most cases, government officials (sheriffs, tax collectors, clerks of court, registers of deeds) were appointed by the King’s men in power, not by elections involving the citizenry of the colony. The Regulators sought fairer government officials and more control of their own affairs
Fifteen Regulators were taken prisoners during the brief battle and seven were executed by hanging. Governor Tryon ordered that James Few be hanged at the militia campsite without holding a trial. The remaining six men were tried and hanged in Hillsborough, NC on June 19, 1771.
Although the Battle of Alamance was not the first battle of the American Revolution, it did provide military experience for those who would subsequently fight for independence from British rule.