Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guilford Courthouse in Miniature (2)

This is the second in a series of posts depicting the battle of Guilford Courthouse in miniature. Previous posts: Part 1

While the British advanced towards Guilford Courthouse, the Americans formed in three defensive lines. The first line abutted several fields belonging to one Joseph Hoskins. This line was defended by Butler’s and Eaton’s brigades of North Carolina militia in front. Two corps commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Lee and Lieutenant-Colonel William Washington respectively defended the North Carolinians' left and right flanks.

Just ahead of the North Carolina militia, on the New Garden road, was a 2-gun section of 6-pounders commanded by Captain Anthony Singleton of the 1st Continental Artillery.

Singleton's battery, at the center of the American first line.

Singleton’s guns fired at the head of the head of the British column as soon as it came into view. The British promptly brought up guns of their own (two 3-pounders and probably at least one 6-pounder) and began peppering the American line.

British artillery open fires. The Royal Artillery is supported by jaegers and light infantry. Nearby, General Cornwallis contemplates his deployment.

Some of the British cannonballs overshot the first line, and landed among the men of Brigadier-General Robert Lawson's Virginia brigade, on the second line.

The first two American lines. The North Carolina militia is at center. Lee's flank corps is at extreme left. The Virginia militia brigades of Edward Stevens and Robert Lawson are in the foreground. The British vanguard is partially visible at the top of the image.

Meanwhile, the British commander, Lieutenant-General Charles Cornwallis, began deploying his infantry on either side of the road in a line that paralleled the Americans.

The 71st Regiment of Foot Deploys. The 71st was directed to form on the eastern end of Hoskins' fields, to the right of the artillery. The 23rd Foot has formed on the opposite side of the road.

One American standing near Singleton's guns remembered how his men were exhorted by Lee during the artillery exchange:

...just before the battle commenced Colonel Lee rode up to the lines where [I] stood & read something like these words, "My brave boys, your lands, your lives & your country depend on your conduct this day -- I have given Tarleton hell this morning & I will give him more of it before night." & speaking of the roaring of the British canon he said "You hear damnation roaring over all these woods & after all they are no more than we."

For more on this project, see here. For details on the composition of the American army, see here.

The quoted passage is from the pension application of William Leslie.