HISTORICAL BATTLE OF ELIZABETHTOWN
Tories had driven the Whigs from their homes
and even out of the county. They ravaged
the county in every direction, insulting
and plundering the most respectable families,
burning private dwellings and destroying
a great amount of valuable property.
was only a little band of patriots that struck
the blow of liberty at Elizabethtown. The
scantly clothed and half perished patriots
set out on their march toward Elizabethtown,
under a hot sun on August 28, 1781. The next
day they arrived on the east bank of the
Cape Fear River. They had not eaten anything
except berries and had only stopped to catch
a few hours of sleep while their horses grazed.
Thomas Robeson, the commander, knew that
everything depended upon the success of this
battle. He was unwilling to risk his seventy
men against four hundred Tory enemies until
he found out the exact situation in the opposing
in many great events in history, a woman
was to play an important part in the Battle
of Elizabethtown. Sallie Salter, of one of
the most influential families in the Cape
Fear section of Bladen County, volunteered
to enter the Tory Camp as a spy. Fetching
a basket of eggs, she walked down to the
ferry and called to the sentry on the other
side to row her over. After some delay, he
complied with her request and she entered
the camp and sold her eggs - all the while
collecting as much information as possible.
It never entered the minds of the Tories
that she was a spy. Returning safely with
the needed information, Colonel Robeson could
now begin planning the battle. The smallest
details were reviewed over and over, until
each man knew what part he was to perform.
midnight, the Whigs marched to a point about
one mile below the Tories, where they all
forded the river successfully.
Robeson formed his troops and led them into
battle. Advancing rapidly and keeping up
a well directed fire they were soon in the
midst of the enemy. Colonel Robeson and six
of his Whig officers took a central position.
The main body of men rushed to a point at
a distance on his right - fired and reloaded
with almost inconceivable rapidity and then
rushed to a point on his left and repeated
the procedure. They repeated this procedure
many times, until the Tories were convinced
they were being attacked by a thousand men
of the Tory officers were killed or badly
wounded and, after their leaders fell, men
scattered in every direction. A great number
of them jumped into a deep ravine which has
since become to be known as the Tory Hole,
and there they met their defeat, and the
Tory power was broken.
ravine runs from the main street of Elizabethtown
to the Cape Fear River. The citizens of Elizabethtown
built a recreation center at the Tory Hole
site, for the enjoyment of their residents,
visitors and tourists.