Battle of Guilford

What was going on in 1781?

In 1775, the American Revolutionary War had begun. From 1775 to 1781, American army fought many battles against the British army. Both sides won a few battles and lost the others. In 1781, war was going on in different parts of America.

In the South, Britain had a better army while American army was not as well-trained or well-equipped. So the strategy of the American army was simply to inflict as much damage as possible on the British army. It was at such a time that the Battle of Guilford Courthouse took place.

When and where did the battle take place?

The battle took place at Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina. The British army under General Charles Cornwallis was camped in North Carolina at the time and the American army under General Nathaniel Greene arrived to engage it. The battle took place on March 15, 1781.

Before the Battle

The American army under General Nathaniel had 4400 soldiers. On the other hand, the British army under General Cornwallis had 1900 soldiers. General Nathaniel led his army from Virginia and arrived in North Carolina. Here, the American army set up its defenses at Guilford Courthouse. When the British learned that the American army was camped at the Courthouse, they decided to attack. This was when the Battle of Guilford Courthouse took place.

The Fighting

The strategy of the American army under General Nathaniel was to inflict maximum damage on the British army and retreat. For this purpose, General Nathaniel divided up his army into three parts. The front-line was comprised of militiamen who had muskets.

The second line also comprised of more soldiers who had muskets. Finally, the third line was the main force of the American army. When the British army attacked, the first line fired two rounds at them and then retreated.

The British continued to attack. They then faced the second line which also fired at the British soldiers and then retreated. Finally, the British encountered the third line of the American army. The third line fought back for a time and then General Nathanial ordered the American army to retreat.

The Result

The British army won the battle but they did so at a heavy cost. This was precisely the American strategy. American army knew that their chances of winning were low, so they simply wanted to damage the British army and retreat. This they accomplished, even when the British won. In total, nearly 500 British soldiers were killed and around 2000 were wounded. This was a severe blow to General Cornwallis’ British army.

The Aftermath of the Battle

Despite their victory, the British army was so weakened after this battle that they couldn’t risk another battle. So General Cornwallis simply marched his army to Yorktown hoping to get reinforcements and help. This eliminated British presence in the Carolinas and allowed American forces to focus on Yorktown. Finally, later in the year, most of the American army laid siege to Yorktown and forced the British army to surrender. This surrender ended the war with American victory.