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IO A F R E E STATE HE DEPARTURE of the armies of Nathanael Greene and Lord Charles Cornwallis left North Carolina at the mercy of many loosely organized, undisciplined bands of armed men. For more than a year they carried on a relentless civil war, and the state was the victim of as much or more pillage, murder, and general disorder as came during Reconstruction after the CivilWar. Each side was guilty of abuses and crimes that often served as excuses for merciless retaliation. Gangs of robbers, masquerading as Whigs or Tories, as suited their purposes at the moment, robbed people, burned houses, murdered men, and attacked women indiscriminately. These midnight raids and neighborhood battles were all the more criminal, whether committed by Whigs or Tories, as they could not by any possible means affect the outcome of the war. The most notorious of the Tory raiderswasDavid Fanning, who held a commission ascolonel of the loyal militia issued byMajor JamesH. Craig, the British commander in Wilmington. A nativeofAmelia County, Virginia, Fanning grew up in Johnston County, North Carolina, where heserved an apprenticeship. He ran away to Orange County, it has been said, because of harsh treatment. As a partisan leader he wasunexcelled on either side in the Carolinas. During the war Fanning led bands of Tories on raids, terrorizing large areas of both states, and sometimes marched with Cornwallis or other British leaders. In July 1781 he dashed into Pittsboro, where a court-martial of several Loyalists was about to begin, and seized more than fifty prisoners—amongthem severalmilitiamen and Continental officers and three members of the General Assembly. On 12 September during a raid on Hillsborough he took around two hundred prisoners, including Governor Thomas Burke. These captives were sent to the British at Wilmington; later the governor was transferred to Charles Town where he was regarded as a hostage for the safety of Fanning, kept in close confinement, and denied the right ofexchange.' After Great Britain and the American states signed i. After protesting his treatment, Burkewastransferred from a prison compound on one island to another where he wascloselywatched. On one occasion hisroom was fired into. He escaped in mid-January 1782, violating an oath not to do so. On returning to North Carolina he was criticized for this violation and soon withdrew from publicservicein considerable disgrace; he died at age thirty-six. 207 T 208 North Carolina, throitgb Four Centuries the termsof peace, Fanningsought a pardon, but his petition wasturned down. He then moved to Nova Scotia where many Highland Scots and other Loyalists from North Carolina already lived. Before his death in 1825 he was tried for serious crimes committed in the Canadian province. Along with Fanning, Major Craig (later prominent in Africa and India, and governor of Canada) wasresponsible for unsettled conditions in North Carolina. Craig and his force of 450 regulars led raids throughout the eastern part of the state, causing extensive damage. They also furnished and encouraged Tories to engage in hostile acts. Among Craig's prisoners were John Ashe and Cornelius Harnett; held under unhealthy conditions, both men becameilland diedwithin a few daysafter their release. Griffith Rutherford's militia forced the evacuation of Wilmington by Craig on 18 November 1781, bringing to an end the American Revolution in North Carolina, but not until Fanning left in May 1782 did conditions begin to approach normalcy. On 19 April 1783 Governor Alexander Martin informed the General Assembly that Great Britain had acknowledged American independence . While encouraging the people of the state "to enjoy the fruits of uninterrupted Constitutional Freedom," he urged them to remember the sacrifices made by the soldiers. He also recommended that the Loyalists, who "through ignorance and delusion" had also suffered, be forgiven. These people, he stressed, "have fresh claims to your Clemency on this happy occasion." Thousands of cultured, intelligent people left the state during the Revolution and, with the passage of an "Act of Pardon and Oblivion," many returned. Their former neighbors, some of whom had acquired abandoned or confiscated property , did not always welcome them and the formerLoyalists had to makethe best of a difficult situation, move elsewhere in the state, or go back to their recent place of refuge. Many, of course, returned to their former homes and had no serious problems with their neighbors. Unsettled Conditions Between the end of the Revolution and 1789 North Carolina and the other American states were in a precarious situation. England and Spain particularly, but France and other nations...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469604466
Related ISBN
9780807818466
MARC Record
OCLC
966898551
Pages
670
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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