The old saying, “He won the battle, but lost the war” certainly applies to British Lord Charles Cornwallis.
On the Ides of March, 1781, Cornwallis led 1,900 men against 4,500 American militia and Continental soldiers at Guilford Courthouse. It would prove to be one of the fiercest battles of the Southern Campaign during the Revolutionary War.
Cornwallis pummeled the Americans for over two hours. He would later report, “The Americans fought like demons.” Major General Nathanael Greene eventually pulled his troops off the field. His strategic retreat protected the Continental army, while Cornwallis lost more than a quarter of his men.
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park commemorates this pivotal battle, which eventually turned the British out of North Carolina and presaged Cornwallis’s surrender to George Washington seven months later. A film and tactical battle map in the visitor center detail the conflict, minute by minute.
From the visitor center, you can explore the battlefield by car, on bicycle, or by foot along 2.5 miles of trail. The site includes eight interpretive stops, as well as 28 monuments to notable figures from the Revolutionary War.