General Joseph Martin Chapter
Cumberland Gap, TN
Cumberland Gap Patriot
Harmon Hopper, NC militia soldier of the Revolutionary
war, was born in April 1760 in Farquar County Virginia. Hopper's
grandfather, William had helped survey Granville County NC and most of
North Carolina for Lord Granville. Sometime before 1781, the Hopper
family is in Caswell County NC. In February 1781, Hopper joined the NC
militia under the command of Josiah Cole.
In February 1781, there were skirmishes with Tories in Alamance and Haw River, but Hopper was too sick to participate. Camp life was difficult for most new recruits. Diseases ran rampant killing more soldiers than bullets or cannon shot. hopper asked to go home to recuperate, and was granted leave.
In March 1781, Hopper returned to his unit. Hopper's first battle would be the battle of Guilford Courthouse fought on March 15, 1781.
Guilford was a wilderness outpost in 1781, nothing like the great metropolis of Greensboro NC which it is apart today. Only one road ran through the town, the Salisbury road. Hopper was apart of the NC militia line which consisted of 1060 soldiers situated on the first line of defense behind a rail fence located beside the Salisbury road.
the NC militia's main adversary during the battle would be the 71st Highlander regiment of the British Regiment. the British began marching about 1pm. The NC militia fired the first volley of the battle. Between one half- one third of the 71st regiment was killed or wounded during the first initial volley. However this didn't stop the 71st highlander regiment. The 71st regrouped and started a bayonet charge.
Panic soon ensued in the NC line. different sources give different reasons for the panic. Some sources say that the panic was due to the bayonet charge. Bayonet charges were the most effective military maneuver during the revolutionary war. Most battles of he Revolutionary war were won or lost due to the bayonet charge than more any other maneuver. There were also men in the NC militia at Guilford who had been at Kings Mountain and had fought back 3 bayonet charges of the British who couldn't understand why the men were now in a panic due to the bayonet charge. Another cause of the panic was due to a Nc Militia colonel who shouted" I am being surrounded". what men were not already in a panic began to flee the field of battle. The 71st highlander regiment cleared the field of NC militia and the second line of Virginia militia without any support of any other British Regiment.
The Americans would lose the battle of Guilford courthouse only due the fact they were the first to leave the field of battle.
Nathaniel Greene , Commander of the American forces could have won the battle if he had been more aggressive. Some military tacticians say that Greene should have sent the cavalry of William Washington and Lee against the demoralized disorganized Webster of the British army, who had just lost most of his men in a bayonet charge against the third line of continentals, while charging British commanders Leslie and Ohara with the third line of Continentals.
Hopper's next battle was the battle of Lindley's Mill NC fought on September 13, 1781. a group of Tories were escorting the colonial Governor of NC, Gov. Thomas Burke and his cabinet. Hopper was apart of the rescue group that ambushed the Tories at Lindley mill. The patriots were soon able to free Gov. Burke and his cabinet after a brief skirmish.
Hopper's next and last battle was the battle of Raft swamp NC. fought on October 15,1781. Raft swamp was one of the battles of a group of skirmishes nicknamed the Tory war because it involved mostly Tories against patriots. It was a Civil war that split NC into two factions, one who supported the Crown of England and one who supported the patriots.. In this battle of Raft swamp, 600 loyalists fought off a cavalry unit of Major Graham of which Hopper was apart. 16 loyalists were killed and 50 wounded..
After the war, Hopper returned to Caswell county where he married Sarah Cole on August 13, 1783. they would have 5 children from this union. Sometime between 1820-1830, Hopper moved to Claiborne county. Hopper died in Claiborne county on February 28,1844 was buried at Pleasant Point cemetery.
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