Today’s post has the potential to run long, even book-length! But don’t worry, I’m not going to let that happen. I certainly learned enough yesterday and there is so much I’d like to share.
First, there’s this constant tension between what I find fascinating and what I believe is right. I love history, and the stories surrounding great battles are compelling, but I can’t begin to understand violence and the brutal events that play out when nations make war.
So this year, as Rebekah and I are enjoying our staycation here in North Carolina, we’ve planned some day-trips. Tuesday was Greensboro and the Guildford Courthouse National Battlefield.
When we think Revolutionary War we tend to think Pennsylvania and the northeast. It’s easy to forget how much of the drama played out in the Carolinas, especially the continual wearing down of the British military, a strategy with much more staying power than the more limited success of winning one actual battle.
Guilford Courthouse is a prime example. At the end of the day it was the British who held the field. But in the long struggle – farmers formed into militia versus professional soldiers and mercenaries, Nathanael Greene versus Cornwallis, England versus a fledgling America, colonial control versus freedom, a Declaration of Independence versus empire – bullying and repression were being worn down and there was nothing King George and his parliament could do to stop the rising tide of liberty.
Guilford Courthouse was the exclamation point at the end of a long campaign through the south, where Cornwallis won battles but lost authority, and momentum, and purpose, and any enthusiasm the Tories may have been holding on to.
One of the largest and most important engagements of the war, the battle featured names like Cornwallis, Greene, Banastre Tarleton, and “Light-horse Harry” Lee.
The battlefield site is wonderfully preserved, with drives, pathways, viewing points, and interpretive signs facilitating engagement both with history and with the beauty of the land.
Unbelievably for the second week of June, the temperatures remained in the 60’s and barely reached 70-degrees. It was the perfect day to explore.
My photographs only tell a part of the story. You will have to take a look around yourself. But when you do make sure and schedule an hour in the visitors’ center to view the videos and read the explanations.
Enjoy the slides… and – please – never forget what can happen when we think that we cannot work things out via diplomacy.
Grace and peace – DEREK