American Revolutionary War
Continental Regiments

North Carolina Regiments in the Continental Army

On November 28, 1775 the Continental Congress ordered North Carolina to provide sufficient numbers of men to help the Continental Army, to be paid by the Continental Congress and not the state.

North Carolina rose to the occasion and provided the regiments over a period of two years. These regiments fought in both theaters of the American Revolution, the Northern Department and the Southern Department.

On March 7, 1777, the Continental Congress approved placing three companies of NC Light Dragoons onto the Continental Line, not to be assigned to any existing regiment. On July 10, 1777, the Continental Congress approved placing the two companies of NC Artillery onto the Continental Line.

NC Light Dragoons - 1st Company commanded by Capt. Samuel Ashe, Jr.
NC Light Dragoons - 2nd Company commanded by Capt. Martin Phifer
NC Light Dragoons - 3rd Company commanded by Capt. Cosmo Medici
NC Artillery - 1st Company commanded by Capt. John Vance
NC Artillery - 2nd Company commanded by Capt. Thomas Clark

North Carolina fell into the Southern Department of the Continental Army - and the first national commander of the Southern Department was Pennsylvanian Brigadier General John Armstrong on March 1, 1776.

Major General Charles Lee was appointed in May of 1776 as the new commander of the Southern Department, and he arrived in Charlestown on June 4th, after a brief stop along the Cape Fear River. He helped to enhance the defenses of Charlestown just prior to the British arrival later that same month.

Since Major General Charles Lee was never to return to Charlestown, the Continental Congress named Brigadier General Robert Howe as his replacement to command the Southern Department in late 1776 - and he was promoted to Major General on October 20, 1777.

The NC Artillery - 2nd Company was disbanded in June of 1779.

On May 12, 1780, the British accepted the surrender of Charlestown, including almost all North Carolina Continental troops under the command of Major General Benjamin Lincoln.

The North Carolina Continentals saw virtually no action within the Tarheel State. They performed quite well in the Northern Campaign from 1777 to 1779, then they were dispatched to help South Carolina and Georgia.

Most of the NC Continentals were captured and imprisoned at the Fall of Charleston in May of 1780. Four regiments were ultimately recreated afterwards and they continued to support Major General Nathanael Greene in South Carolina until he furloughed them in the Spring of 1783.

1st North Carolina Regiment

  • The Regiment was authorized on September 1, 1775 in the Continental Army as the 1st North Carolina Regiment.
  • Organized in fall 1775 at Salisbury and Wilmington to consist of 10 companies.
  • Reorganized on January 4, 1776 to consist of 8 companies.
  • It was assigned on February 27, 1776 to the Southern Department.
  • Relieved on February 5, 1777 from the Southern Department and assigned to the Main Continental Army.
  • It was assigned on July 8, 1777 to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army.
  • Reorganized on June 1, 1778 to consist of nine companies.
  • North Carolina Brigade relieved on July 19, 1779 from the Main Continental Army and assigned to the Highlands Department .
  • North Carolina Brigade relieved on November 11, 1779 from the Highlands Department and assigned to the Southern Department
  • Captured on May 12, 1780 at Charleston, South Carolina, by the British Army.
  • Reorganized in summer of 1781 at Hillborough and Salsbury to consist of nine companies and assigned to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Southern Department.
  • Furloughed on April 23, 1783 at James Island, South Carolina.
  • Disbanded on November 15, 1783.

Significant Campaigns and Battles

Detachment's additionally served in:

Unit History

The 1st North Carolina Regiment was raised on September 1, 1775 at Wilmington, North Carolina for service with the Continental Army. The regiment would see action at the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Siege of Charleston. The regiment would be captured by the British Army at Charlestown, South Carolina on May 12, 1780. The regiment was reformed in the summer of 1781, furloughed April 23, 1783 at James Island, South Carolina and disbanded on November 15, 1783.

Further Reading

2nd North Carolina Regiment

  • The Regiment was authorized on September 1, 1775 in the Continental Army as the 2nd North Carolina Regiment.
  • Organized in fall 1775 at Salisbury Edenton and Newbern to consist of ten companies.
  • Reorganized on January 4, 1776 to consist of eight companies.
    It was assigned on February 27, 1776 to the Southern Department.
  • Relieved on February 5, 1777 from the Southern Department and assigned to the Main Continental Army.
    It was assigned on July 8, 1777 to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army.
  • Reorganized on June 1, 1778 to consist of 9 companies.
  • North Carolina Brigade relieved on July 19, 1779 from the Main Continental Army and assigned to the Highlands Department .
  • North Carolina Brigade relieved on November 11, 1779 from the Highlands Department and assigned to the Southern Department
  • Captured on May 12, 1780 at Charleston, South Carolina, by the British Army.
  • Reorganized in summer of 1781 at Hillborough and Salisbury to consist of nine companies and assigned to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Southern Department.
  • Furloughed on January 1, 1783 at James Island, South Carolina.
  • Disbanded on November 15, 1783.

Significant Campaigns and Battles

Detachment's additionally served in:

Unit History

The 2nd North Carolina Regiment was formed by order of the North Carolina Provincial Congress on September 1, 1775. Intended originally as one of two 500-man state defense units, the regiment was taken into the newly organized Continental Line on November 28, 1775. As a Continental Line unit, the regiment would be under the command of and paid by the Continental Congress rather than the North Carolina provincial Congress.

The 1775 regulations called for a Continental Line Regiment to consist of 728 men divided into eight companies. Each company was to have a captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, four sergeants, four corporals, two drummers or fifers, and 76 privates.

From December 1775- May 1777, the North Carolina Regiments remained in the South. The 2nd Regt. served in Virginia at the siege of Norfolk and also had detachments in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. They were assigned to guard the coast from British invasion and help round up the local Tories. Detachments of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th North Carolina Regiments were at the defense of Charleston, South Carolina in June 1776.

In May 1777, the 2nd North Carolina Regiment as part of the North Carolina Brigade (which now consisted of nine regiments), was ordered north to join the troops under General Washington. The NC Brigade marched through Williamsburg and Richmond VA and paused at Alexandria to undergo inoculations for smallpox. By July the Brigade was in New Jersey. In July and August the troops were marched northward into New Jersey and then again south to Wilmington, DE to help counter a British thrust toward Philadelphia from the south.

The North Carolina Brigade was at the Battle of Brandywine, but saw little action as it had been assigned to the reserves under General Greene. However, men from the North Carolina Brigade serving in the recently organized Corps of Light Infantry did see heavy action during the battle as they defended Chad's Ford.

On October 3, 1777, the North Carolina Brigade was in the Battle of Germantown, where it again formed the reserve along with the Corps of Light Infantry. When called up, the Brigade saw intense fighting in which its commander, Brig. Gen. Francis Nash, had his leg nearly shot off by a British cannon ball. Nash died on October 9. He was buried with full military honors along with several other North Carolina officers killed in the battle.

The actions at Brandywine and Germantown left the North Carolina Regiments in need of a commanding general as well as other field officer positions. Disagreements as to who should receive promotions caused many officers to resign their commissions and return to North Carolina. Eventually a system of promotions within regiments and the North Carolina Brigade was established, however the command of the North Carolina Brigade was given to Brig. Gen. Lachlan McIntoch of Georgia as it went into winter quarters with the army at Valley Forge.

Troop returns for the North Carolina Brigade at valley Forge for January 1778 give an idea of the suffering they endured. Out of 1188 men, 323 were listed as sick and 249 as unfit for duty for want of clothing. General Washington declared the North Carolina Brigade was sicklier, for want of clothing and provisions, than any other unit at Valley Forge. The nine North Carolina Regiments were so under strength they were consolidated into four regiments with the men of the 4th Regiment being reassigned to the 2nd North Carolina Regiment.

In June 1778, the 2nd North Carolina Regiment fought in the Battle of Monmouth, as part of Scott's division in LaFayette's brigade. During the remainder of the year, it was stationed at various posts around the Hudson River Highlands and at West Point. Although no major battles occurred, the men saw constant skirmishing with British foraging parties.

In July 1779, the Light Infantry companies of the 1st and 2nd North Carolina Regiments were an important part of the assault on the British fort at Stoney Point, NY. The North Carolina Light Infantry companies were commanded by Major Hardee Murfee of the 2nd North Carolina Regiment. They were to make a diversionary frontal attack on the fort while the main columns, using only bayonet, attacked the fort from the flanks. In less than half an hour the fort was taken.

After Stoney Point, the NC Regiments were stationed on Constitution Island in the Hudson River at West Point. As it became clear the British would make the southern colonies their next objective, the North Carolina Brigade was ordered south in November 1779. Marching in bitter winter, with snow at times three feet deep, the North Carolina Brigade reached Charleston, South Carolina on March 3, 1780. The British army laid siege to the city. After two months, and with no hope of relief, Brig. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln surrendered the city to the British. Over 5,000 men of the colonies southern army were taken prisoner by the British. This included all the North Carolina Continental Line Regiments then in the field.

In August 1781, a new 2nd North Carolina Regiment was raised at Salisbury, North Carolina. Poorly uniformed and armed largely with personal weapons, the new 2nd North Carolina Regt. was soon in action at the Battle of Eutaw Springs. During this engagement, the North Carolina Regiments suffered greater losses than any other of the units engaged.

After Cornwallis surrendered to Washington at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781, the North Carolina Regiments diminished rapidly as enlistments expired and it became evident that the war was drawing to a close. Near the end of 1782, most of the North Carolina troops were ordered home.

By June 1783, the remaining troops were furloughed at James Island, South Carolina while awaiting the final signing of the peace treaty with Great Britain. The 2nd North Carolina Regiment of the Continental Line was officially disbanded on November 15, 1783.

Further Reading

3rd North Carolina Regiment

  • The Regiment was authorized on January 16, 1776 in the Continental Army as the 3d North Carolina Regiment.
    It was assigned on February 27, 1776 to the Southern Department.
  • Organized in spring 1776 at Wilmington to consist of eight companies from Halifax, Edenton and Hillsborough Districts.
  • Relieved on February 5, 1777 from the Southern Department and assigned to the Main Continental Army.
    It was assigned on July 8, 1777 to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army.
  • Reduced to a cadre on June 1, 1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and relieved from the North Carolina Brigade.
  • Reorganized on July 9, 1778 at Halifax to consist of nine companies.
  • Relieved on December 7, 1778 from the Highlands Department and assigned to the Middle Department.
  • Reduced to a cadre on April 17, 1779 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and relieved from the Middle Department and assigned to the Southern Department.
  • Reorganized on November 5, 1779 at Halifax to consist of nine companies.
    It was assigned on February 14, 1780 to Parker's Brigade, an element of the Southern Department.
  • Relieved on March 6, 1780 from Parker's Brigade and assigned to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Southern Department
  • Captured on May 12, 1780 at Charleston, South Carolina, by the British Army.
  • Disbanded on January 1, 1783.

Significant Campaigns and Battles

Unit History

The 3rd North Carolina Regiment was raised, on January 16, 1776, at Wilmington, North Carolina for service with the Continental Army. The regiment would see action at the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Siege of Charleston. The regiment would be captured by the British Army at Charlestown, South Carolina, on May 12, 1780. The regiment was disbanded on November 15, 1783.

Further Reading

4th North Carolina Regiment

  • The Regiment was authorized on March 26, 1776 in the Continental Army as the 4th North Carolina Regiment and assigned to the Southern Department.
  • Organized in spring 1776 at Wilmington to consist of 8 companies from Salisbury, Edenton and Wilmington Districts.
  • Relieved on February 5, 1777 from the Southern Department and assigned to the Main Continental Army.
    It was assigned on July 8, 1777 to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army.
  • Reduced to a cadre on June 1, 1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and relieved from the Main Continental Army and assigned to the Southern Department.
  • Reorganized in fall 1778 at Halifax to consist of 9 companies.
    It was assigned on January 11, 1779 to Sumner's Brigade, an element of the Southern Department.
  • Sumner's Brigade re-designated on June 3, 1779 as Armstrong's Brigade.
  • Captured on May 12, 1780 at Charleston, South Carolina, by the British Army.
  • Disbanded on January 1, 1783.

Significant Campaigns and Battles

Unit History

The 4th North Carolina Regiment was raised on January 16, 1776 at Wilmington, North Carolina for service with the Continental Army. The regiment saw action at the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Siege of Charleston. The regiment was captured by the British Army at Charlestown, South Carolina on May 12, 1780. The regiment was disbanded on January 1, 1783.

Further Reading

Search Connecticut Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 from The National Archives: These documents include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.

Search Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served from Connecticut in the American Army During the Revolution from The National Archives: NARA M881. Compiled service records of soldiers who served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783.

Search the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files of Connecticut Veterans from The National Archives:: NARA M804. The records in this collection include entire pension files for soldiers and sailors who served in the Revolutionary War. Unlike selected service records, which were typically chosen subjectively for genealogical content, these records reveal more details about each veteran's history and service, as well as more information about his family, state of health, and life after the war.

6th North Carolina Regiment

  • The Regiment was authorized on April 13, 1776 in the North Carolina State Troops as the 6th North Carolina Regiment.
  • Organized in spring and summer 1776 at Wilmington to consist of eight companies from Wilmington and Hillsborough Districts.
  • Adopted on May 7, 1776 into the Continental Army and assigned to the Southern Department.
  • Relieved on February 5, 1777 from the Southern Department and assigned to the Main Continental Army.
  • It was assigned on July 8, 1777 to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army.
  • Reduced to a cadre 1 June 1, 1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and relieved from the Main Continental Army and assigned to the Southern Department.
  • Reorganized in fall 1778 at Halifax to consist of 9 companies.
    It was assigned on January 11, 1779 to Sumner's Brigade, an element of the Southern Department.
  • Reduced to a cadre on February 11, 1779 at Purysburg, South Carolina.
  • Disbanded on January 1, 1781.

Significant Campaigns and Battles

Unit History

Formation of North Carolina's first two continental regiments was authorized by the Provincial Congress in 1775, in response to a proposal by the Continental Congress to form a Continental Army. After the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge and later British forays in the lower Cape Fear region in the spring of 1776, the Continental Congress resolved that North Carolina could raise two additional regiments--the North Carolina Assembly decided to raise four more regiments.

Thus, the 6th North Carolina Regiment was formed in 1776. It was formed from men from the Wilmington and Hillsborough Military Districts, which made up nearly one-half the state including much of the backcountry. They were organized at Halifax, North Carolina, under the command of Col. Alexander Lillington, hero of the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge.

When ready to march north to join the Main Continental Army, they were instead called south to defend Charleston against a suspected second assault in 1776 (after the lst attack was repulsed in June). In the meantime, Col. Lillington stepped down due to ill health. He was replaced by Col. Gideon Lamb. The British did not return in 1776. The North Carolina Line spent a miserable winter near Charleston without the supplies promised by South Carolina.

The 6th North Carolina Regiment marched north in the spring and joined the Main Continental Army, brigaded under Gen. Francis Nash. They were in the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown, being at the Chew House in the latter and serving as rear guard for the American withdrawal during which Brig. Gen. ?? Nash was mortally wounded. They were noted by one diarist as having captured sixteen guns during the attack, but having had to abandon them in the retreat.

They wintered at Valley Forge in Brig. Gen. Lachlan Macintosh's Brigade. The North Carolina troops were noted by Washington to be the poorest supplied of all the destitute men there. Their desertion rate was 10%, the lowest in an Army that averaged 18%.

In the reductions of 1778, the 6th North Carolina Regiment was merged with the 1st North Carolina, assuming the lower regimental number. The supernumerary officers of the 6th were sent home to North Carolina to recruit. All troops recruited by the 6th North Carolina Regiment for the next several years were taken immediately into the other North Carolina units. The 6th North Carolina Regiment ceased to exist officially in early 1781.

In the meantime, the men of the 6th North Carolina Regiment, now the lst, served at Monmouth, being engaged early and again late in the day, and in the Hudson Highlands. Some of them took part in the frontal assault by North Carolina troops of Wayne's Light Infantry on Stony Point.

In November of 1779, they were ordered south to Charleston during the worst winter of the war. They arrived in time to take part in the defense and, along with the Virginians, took part in the only sortie during the siege.

On May 12, 1780, they went into captivity with the fall of Charleston. Many of them were sent to the prison hulks in the harbor while others were imprisoned on John's Island. The 6th North Carolina Regiment disappeared from the field and on paper.

Further Reading

7th North Carolina Regiment

  • The Regiment was authorized on September 16, 1776 in the Continental Army as the 7th North Carolina Regiment and assigned to the Southern Department.
  • Organized in spring 1776 at Halifax to consist of 8 companies from Halifax and Edenton Districts.
  • Relieved on February 5, 1777 from the Southern Department and assigned to the Main Continental Army.
  • It was assigned on July 8, 1777 to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army.

Significant Campaigns and Battles

The 7th North Carolina Regiment was raised on September 16, 1776 at Halifax, North Carolina for service with the Continental Army. The regiment saw action at the Battle of Brandywine and Battle of Germantown.

The regiment was disbanded on June 1, 1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Further Reading

8th North Carolina Regiment

  • The Regiment was authorized on September 16, 1776 in the Continental Army as the 8th North Carolina Regiment and assigned to the Southern Department.
  • Organized in spring 1776 at Halifax to consist of 8 companies from Newbern and Wilmington Districts.
  • Relieved on February 5, 1777 from the Southern Department and assigned to the Main Continental Army.
  • It was assigned on July 8, 1777 to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army.

Significant Campaigns and Battles

The 8th North Carolina Regiment was raised on September 16, 1776 at Halifax, North Carolina for service with the Continental Army. The saw action at the Battle of Brandywine and Battle of Germantown. The regiment was disbanded on June 1, 1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Further Reading

9th North Carolina Regiment

  • The Regiment was authorized on September 16, 1776 in the Continental Army as the 9th North Carolina Regiment and assigned to the Southern Department.
  • Organized in spring 1776 at Halifax to consist of 8 companies from Hillsborough and Salisbury Districts.
  • Relieved on February 5, 1777 from the Southern Department and assigned to the Main Continental Army.
  • It was assigned on July 8, 1777 to the North Carolina Brigade, an element of the Main Continental Army.
  • Disbanded on June 1, 1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

Significant Campaigns and Battles

Unit History

The 9th North Carolina Regiment was raised, on September 16, 1776, at Halifax, North Carolina for service with the Continental Army. The regiment saw action at the Battle of Brandywine and Battle of Germantown. The regiment was disbanded, on June 1, 1778, at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Further Reading

Misc Militia Units

  • Collier's Regiment of Militia, 1780
  • Graham's Tryon County Regiment, 1776
  • Hillsborough District militia, 1776–1783
  • Lytle's Regiment of Levies (Caswell County), 1778

  • 1st Mecklenburg County Regiment
  • 2nd Mecklenburg County Regiment
  • Seawell's Regiment of Militia, Pitt County, 1780

Links to North Carolina Units in the Revolutionary War

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