Planning North Carolina’s Revolutionary War Defense

On November 25, 1780, senior officers of the Southern Department of the Continental Army met at Camp New Providence, near Charlotte, to develop a strategy to respond to General Charles Cornwallis’s impending invasion of North Carolina.

Decisions made at the meeting led to the Battle of Cowpens, perhaps the most complete American victory of the Revolutionary War.  Between October and December 1780, the Americans took the opportunity provided by Cornwallis’s retreat into South Carolina to regroup their army at the winter encampment.

The number of men at Camp New Providence ranged from 1,300 to 2,600 and consisted of both militia and Continental forces. Most of the major historical players in the Southern Campaign, including Generals Horatio Gates, William Smallwood, and Daniel Morgan, as well as lesser-known but equally important figures such as Otho Holland Williams, John Eager Howard and Thaddeus Kosciuszko, were stationed there.

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