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At the battle of Alamance, N. C., fought May 16, 1771, was shed the first blood of the great struggle which was to result in the establishment of American independence.

 

All honor to Lexington, where the "embattled farmers" fired shots that were "heard around the world," but let it not be forgotten that other farmers, almost four years before the day of Lexington, opened the fight of which Lexington was only the continuation.

The principles for which the North Carolina farmers fought at Alamance were identified with those for which Massachusetts farmers fought at Lexington. Of the Massachusetts patriots nineteen were killed and wounded, while of the Carolina patriots over 200 lay killed or crippled upon the field and six, later on, died upon the scaffold, yet, while all the world has heard of Lexington, not one person in a thousand knows anything to speak of about Alamance.

William Tryon, the royal Governor of North Carolina, was so mean that they called him the "Wolf." In the name of his royal master and for the furtherance of his own greedy instincts Tryon oppressed the people of his province to the point where they were obliged to do one or two things--resist him or become slaves. They resolved to resist and formed themselves into an organization known as "Regulators," a body of as pure patriots as ever shouldered a gun.

Having protested time and again against the unlawful taxation under which they groaned, they finally quit groaning, raised the cry of freedom and rose in arms against Tryon and King George.

To the number of 2,000 or 3,000 the Regulators, only partly armed and without organization, met the forces of the royal Governor at Alamance.

"Lay down your guns or I will fire!" shouted the British commander. "Fire and be damned!" shouted back the leader of the Regulators. At once the battle opened, and, of course, the Regulators were defeated and dispersed. But old Tryon received the lesson he had so long needed--that, while Americans could be shot down on the battlefield, they could not be made tamely to submit to the high-handed oppression of King George and his creatures.