In 1780 (About 5 years after Mecklenburg officially declared it’s independence from England), William Richardson Davie and 150 American patriots set up camp around the courthouse at Trade and Tryon to wait for the invading British army led by General Lord Cornwallis.
On September 26th, 1780, Cornwallis’ forces confronted the militia at the Charlotte courthouse. Davie and his men were outnumbered almost 10 to 1 when he told the militia to give “some earnest of what Lord Cornwallis might expect in North Carolina.”
At least half of Davie’s men died during the Battle of Charlotte and Lord Cornwallis took control of our city. The initial resistance spirited up other residents and led to further attacks on occupying British forces.
After about 2 weeks of occupation with continued guerilla-style attacks by locals, General Cornwallis issued a full retreat upon receiving news of a major British defeat by backcountry militia at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780.
Lord Cornwallis later referred to Charlotte as “A Hornet’s Nest of Rebellion”. Davie, his men, and the other locals who gave their lives during Charlotte’s brief British Occupation helped to forever secure our independence and freedom.
Read more about the Battle of Charlotte and Battle of Kings Mountain here.