A moment in history: The Battle of Elizabethtown during the Revolutionary War

Published: Aug. 16, 2013 at 8:45 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2013 at 8:48 PM EDT
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There will be an event this weekend to remember the battle that was fought in Elizabethtown...
There will be an event this weekend to remember the battle that was fought in Elizabethtown during the Revolutionary War.

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WECT) - While many people are familiar with the battles that took place around North Carolina during the Civil War, a short but important skirmish took place in Bladen County years earlier, during the fight for our country's independence.

Elizabethtown is the 15th oldest town in North Carolina. Today, it is the heart of commerce and center of government in Bladen County. But an event here over 230 years ago helped win the war for our country's independence from England.

We are all familiar with many of the great battles of the Revolutionary War, at places like Lexington, Concord, Yorktown and Valley Forge, but many of the encounters were like the Battle of Elizabethtown.

In the early morning hours of August 27, 1781, almost 70 members of a local Whig militia attacked a 400 strong Tory fortification and ran them out of the town, down into a ravine near the Cape Fear River.

"The battle land has been filled in quite a bit up in town, but this gully, right back in here, has been called Tory Hole every since that battle and the battle climaxed right here," said Bobby Lewis, of the Bladen County Historical Society.

The Patriots victory ended Tory control in the area.

"This battle took place on August 27 or 28 in 1781, and it was later in 1781 when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown," said Sunday Allen, of the Bladen County Historical Society. "So, in fact, this is one of those end runs that helped Cornwallis' coffin being nailed shut in Yorktown."

There are several monuments about the battle that took place in Elizabethtown around the area.

The battlefield is now known as Tory Hole Park. The citizens of Elizabethtown have built a recreation center at the site, for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.

This weekend, however, it will be a battlefield again, at least for a little while, to remember the small but determined group of landowners who stood together, to end suppression from outsiders and join the fight to form a new country, the United States of America.

Among a list of activities this weekend, the Bladen County Historical Society will have re-enactments of the Battle of Elizabethtown, both Saturday and Sunday afternoons, at Tory Hole Park.

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