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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Greensboro in Guilford County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Legend vs. Reality

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

 
 
Legend vs. Reality Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2006
1. Legend vs. Reality Marker
Inscription. According to the Guilford Battle Ground Company, the British Guards emerged from the woods, crossed this open field, and clashed on the right with the American third line. In the 1880s this version of the battle seemed to agree with the historical research of Company founder David Schenck. Convinced that the third line action occurred here within the original boundaries of the park, he placed the American Cavalry obelisk on this hill.

Benefiting from historical information that has come to light since Schenck’s time, park historians now have a different picture of what happened here. In 1781 the cleared area was significantly larger, extending toward the courthouse. Taking advantage of the terrain, the American third line was actually a ridgeline ¼ mile east near Tour Stop 6. By focusing on historically accurate terrain, you can better follow the chaotic battle action and its implications.
 
Erected by Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, National Park Service.
 
Location. 36° 7.979′ N, 79° 50.383′ W. Marker is in Greensboro, North Carolina, in Guilford County. Marker is on Guilford Courthouse Tour Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in Guilford Courthouse National
Legend vs. Reality Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 1, 2010
2. Legend vs. Reality Marker
Military Park, on the Auto Tour at stop 5. Marker is in this post office area: Greensboro NC 27410, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Peter Francisco / Marquis of Bretigny and Col. Wm. Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); Death of Stewart (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hon. Lieut. Colonel Stuart (about 600 feet away); 1st Virginia Cavalry (approx. 0.2 miles away); Maryland Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); Regulars’ Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); The British Perspective (approx. 0.2 miles away); Delaware Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greensboro.
 
More about this marker. The right of the marker contains an aerial photograph of Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. Indicated on the photo are the locations of the American First, Second and Third Lines, the place where Scheneck believed the Third Line to be, and the site of the Courthouse. The position of the marker is also indicated.

Two portraits appear on the left side of the marker. The first is of Lt. Col. William Washington, cousin of George Washington. The caption notes that he “led American cavalry against the British Guards at a critical moment in the battle.
Marker in Guilford Courthouse NMP image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 1, 2010
3. Marker in Guilford Courthouse NMP
The American Cavalry monument can be seen in this photo next to the marker.
The Third Line Trail from Tour Stop 6 leads to the actual site of the dragoons’ charge.” Next to this is a picture of Peter Francisco. “I killed four of the enemy in the presence of Col. Washington …”   -   Peter Francisco.

The discrepancy between legend and reality applies to some of the battle’s heroes. The Cavalry Monument also honors the American “giant” Peter Francisco with an inscription claiming he killed eleven of the enemy. Francisco’s own report says that he killed four.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study the marker shown.
 
Also see . . .
1. Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. National Park Service. (Submitted on September 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. The Battle of Guilford Courthouse. The American Revolutionary War website. (Submitted on September 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. The Battle of Guilford Courthouse 1781. An account of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse from a British perspective from BritishBattles.com. (Submitted on September 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. Notable EventsNotable PlacesWar, US Revolutionary
 
American Cavalry Monument image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2006
4. American Cavalry Monument
This monument honors Lt. Col. William Washington's cavalry which charged the British Guards toward the end of the battle. It was erected in 1904 at the site that was then believed to the American Third Line. The actual position of the cavalry charge was northeast of this monument, near Tour Stop 6.
Monuments near the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 19, 2006
5. Monuments near the Marker
The Col. Stewart Death Monument can be seen in the field behind the Cavalry Monument.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 942 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   2, 3. submitted on August 1, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4, 5. submitted on September 19, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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