1. The battle was fought during the Revolutionary War
The Battle of Ramsour’s Mill was fought June 20, 1780, on what was Christian Reinhardt’s farm in Lincolnton. Loyalist soldiers outnumbered the Patriot forces that marched on their camp, but they were unprepared for the attack, according to information posted on the Lincoln County Historical Association (LCHA) website. The fighting was fierce, and often involved hand-to-hand combat. The battle ceased in less than two hours, with the Patriot forces gradually gaining the advantage and the Loyalist soldiers retreating into the countryside. An estimated 70 men were killed in the battle, with 200 more wounded. The battle was significant in that it lowered the morale of Loyalists in the South, weakening their support for the British.
2. The LCHA commemorates the battle annually
For more than 20 years the LCHA has organized a Ramsour’s Mill Battle Weekend to share the story of Lincoln County’s role in the Revolutionary War. “It’s kind of evolved into something way different now compared to what it was all those years ago,” said January Costa, the LCHA curator of archaeology and collections. “We do a lot more these days in an effort to make the event more historically accurate. We’re really trying to portray the history so that people get a better feel for what was actually going on at that time.”
3. A reenactment will be done
While a full reenactment won’t take place due to difficulties bringing in enough reenactors, militia groups will set up camp in the lower field to perform a smaller-scale demonstration. “A lot of times we don’t have enough people to actually have a big battle,” Costa said. “We’ve been trying to increase that over the years. We’ve changed the dates before and that could happen again because we find ourselves competing with big events at other battle sites, which is where a lot of the reenactors end up. What we do is a tactical presentation, which is a reenactment of the battle on a smaller scale.”
4. Sutlers will be on hand as well
Sutlers were civilian merchants who sold provisions to an army in the field or in camp. A number of sutlers will be set up on the Ramsour’s Mill battlefield, selling items like period clothing, herbs, books, household items, soaps, tinctures, salves, tools and pottery. There will also be groups in attendance demonstrating period tasks like hearth cooking, blacksmithing, indigo dyeing and woodworking. Tours of the battlefield will be offered as well, and two guest speakers are scheduled to share stories of the Revolutionary War era.
5. It’s a two-day event
Ramsour’s Mill Battle Weekend will run 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9. The camp will open Saturday morning with a wreath-laying ceremony at the mass gravesite on the battlefield, which is being organized by the Catawba Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Camp will open Sunday morning with a morning prayer service led by Dennis Voelker. The battlefield tours will be offered each day at noon and 3 p.m., with the tactical demonstration scheduled for 2 p.m. both days. The event is free to attend and $1 raffle tickets will be sold in support of the LCHA.