History of the Battle

Nathanael Greene was born in Rhode Island to a wealthy Quaker family on August 7, 1742. He and his family owned a mill, wharf, warehouse, and forge. . .

N4G Special Event Station

In order to celebrate the 235th anniversary of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and to further practice emergency communications skills, the Greensboro Amateur Radio Association will host and operate a Special Event Amateur Radio Station.

N4G Operations

Station N4G, commemorating the 235th anniversary of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, will be operating during the following times: 12 March 2016 1300 UTC to 13 March 2016 1900 UTC . . .

Amateur Radio

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the national association for Amateur Radio. The unique mix of fun, public service and convenience is the distinguishing characteristic of Amateur Radio.

History of the Battle

(Sources: National Park Service, and Nathanael Greene: A Biography of the American Revolution by Gerald Carbone)

     Nathanael Greene was born in Rhode Island to a wealthy Quaker family on August 7, 1742. He and his family owned a mill, wharf, warehouse, and forge. In 1772, the British Navy seized a ship belonging to Nathanael Greene's Company and confiscated its cargo of rum. This action helped galvanize Greene against the British rule of the American colonies. While the Boston Tea Party and other actions in Massachusetts were fanning the flames of the revolution, Rhode Islanders formed a militia company, where Greene ended up as a private. When the war broke out, the colony of Rhode Island formed an army of 1,500 men, and promoted Greene directly from private to general!

     In 1775, just after the battle of Bunker Hill, Congress named George Washington commander in chief of the Continental Army. In need of general officers, Washington named Greene as a brigadier general, at age 32, the youngest general in the Continental Army. In March of 1776, the British gave up Boston and Washington put Greene in command of the regiments there. He had yet done nothing spectacular other than simple competence, but in the early days of the revolution, his ability to keep a clean, well-regulated army camp had stood out.

     In July 1776, Greene was in New York, holding down the forts on Long Island, when he was incapacitated by dysentery. Shortly afterward, the British attacked and captured New York. Greene was one of many that advocated a retreat from New York, and that led to Washington's famous crossing of the Deleware and the Battle of Trenton in December, 1776. Greene was one of two infantry division commanders during this battle, where the entire force of Hessian mercenaries was captured with negligible American losses. This renewed confidence in the American cause.

     In the aftermath of a surprising American victory at Saratoga, New York in 1777, France became America's first significant ally. Knowing that French aid would make it more difficult to defeat the Americans, the British changed their strategy.

     Beginning in 1778, the British stopped actively pursuing their Northern Campaign and directed most of their efforts toward subjugating the southern colonies. In large measure, this decision was based on the mistaken belief that most Southerners were loyalists who would actively help the redcoats. Although this assumption proved false, the British did win many significant victories before fortune turned against them. They took the two greatest seaports in the South, Savannah and Charleston, and also destroyed two American armies.

     American fortunes began to improve in late 1780 when Gen. George Washington sent Greene to take command in the South. Knowing that the resistance in the South would collapse if he could destroy Greene's army, the British commanding general, Lord Charles Cornwallis, struggled to bring on a climactic battle. General Greene, equally determined to avoid a battle until his army had reached its peak strength, temporarily gave up great areas to British occupation to buy time. Finally, Greene decided that his army, consisting of 4,400 troops, was ready to confront Lord Cornwallis and his 1,900 redcoats. The place chosen for this engagement was Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, and the date was March 15, 1781.

     Early on the morning of March 15, General Greene deployed his men in three lines of battle across the Great Salisbury Wagon Road that led off to the southwest toward the camp of the British army. Although grossly outnumbered, Cornwallis nonetheless was certain that his redcoats, victors on scores of battlefields, could overcome the rebels.

     The battle began about noon and progressed unevenly. The first line of the North Carolina militia, its center deployed behind a rail fence facing cleared farm fields and its flanks extending into the forest, collapsed rapidly after the center of the line gave way. Before they retreated, however, the militia inflicted heavy casualties on the redcoats. One British officer later recalled that when his men of the 71st Highland Regiment were hit by a volley (a simultaneous discharge of firearms, in this case 1,500 muskets), "one half of the Highlanders dropped on that spot."

     The second line proved to be an even greater obstacle for the British. Located in heavy forest and with non-commissioned officers ordered to shoot any men who ran away, the Virginia militia grappled with their attackers for about an hour in an action a British writer later described as "a number of irregular, but hard fought and bloody skirmishes." After enduring more heavy losses, the redcoats finally were able to break through.

     The heaviest fighting took place on the third line where General Greene had stationed his Continentals. Even here the intensity of the fighting varied; some new Continentals retreated after offering only token resistance, while other, more experienced soldiers fought furiously. In the final stages of the fighting Lord Cornwallis found portions of his army under simultaneous attack from two directions, as if caught between hammer and anvil. He extricated his men by firing two cannon directly into the mass of struggling soldiers, as if to blast them apart. A number of his own soldiers were killed in the process (another British officer, Brig. Gen. Charles O'Hara, begged him not to do it), but when the smoke cleared the battle was over. General Greene had ordered his army to retreat, leaving the British in possession of the battlefield.

     Cornwallis wrote "I never saw such fighting since God made me. The Americans fought like demons." British Whig Party leader and war critic Charles James Fox wrote "Another such victory would ruin the British Army."

     In the months that followed, the results of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse became clear. Serious losses of manpower left the British too weak to occupy even outposts in North Carolina. Further, they were unable to pursue the defeated, but essentially intact, army of General Greene. Instead, after burying their dead and collecting the wounded, they marched away on March 18 toward the British outpost at Wilmington, North Carolina, where they hoped to find provisions shipped to them from Charleston. While at Wilmington, Lord Cornwallis made the fatal decision to lead his army into Virginia, where seven months later he would meet final defeat at Yorktown. Meanwhile, the "defeated" Americans at Guilford Courthouse marched south and fought battles that liberated South Carolina and Georgia from British control.

N4G Special Event Station

     Over the past few years, the news has been full of reports of amateur radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the tornadoes both here and across the south. During disasters, Amateur Radio, often called "Ham Radio" - is often the ONLY way emergency responders, disaster aid services, public officials, and other public servants can promptly coordinate their essential duties and communicate, through volunteer amateur radio operators, when the normal infrastructure is damaged or destroyed.

     There are over 685,000 amateur radio operators in the US, and more than 2.5 million around the world. Amateur radio volunteers provide both emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non-emergency community services, all for free.

     Setting up and operating special event radio stations is an excellent training tool for volunteer amateur radio operators to practice their communications skills that can be used in the event of an emergency.

     In order to help our community celebrate the 235th anniversary of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and to further practice emergency communications skills for service to our community, the Greensboro Amateur Radio Association in collaboration with Guilford Courthouse National Military Park will host and operate a Special Event Amateur Radio Station to commemorate this event in American history. A Special Event Station sparks interest among amateur radio operators who are interested in making contact with a station associated with an interesting significant public event and is only operated for a brief time. Amateur radio operators from all over the world will make contact with the station to help commemorate the event, ensuring significant publicity and recognition of our very own significant event during the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and celebrating this important event in American history.

     The Greensboro Amateur Radio Association (GARA) Special Event Amateur Radio Station will be operating using the special radio call sign N4G ("for Nathanael Greene") during the 2016 Commemoration of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (GCNMP), Greensboro, North Carolina, March 12th - March 13th 2016.

N4G Operations

Station N4G, commemorating the 235th anniversary of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, will be operating during the following times:

12 March 2016 1300 UTC to 13 March 2016 1900 UTC

Frequencies: (+/- QRM)
15 meters (21.325)
20 meters (14.325)
40 meters (7.235)
75 meters (3.900)
2 meters (W4GSO, 145.15 -, 100 Hz PL)
D-Star (Reflector 054C)

Physical Location

The physical location of the station will be in Tannenbaum Park at the southwest corner of Battleground Ave and New Garden Rd. in Greensboro, NC, behind the Colonial Heritage Museum.

Watch this page for updates as the event gets closer, and watch the spotting networks during the event!