Colonial Column (Battle of Alamance), Burlington
The Colonial Column, also known as the Battle of Alamance Monument, stands at the Alamance Battleground State Historic site. A tall granite and marble column is topped with a bronze statue described as that of a “Regulator,” or a “sturdy farmer.” This statue representing the farmer turned soldier is clad in traditional, colonial-style clothing and holds the muzzle of a musket with the butt of the gun resting on the ground. The memorial was built to honor the Regulators who were defeated during the 1771 battle and some of their leaders who were later hanged. There are four plaques on the sides of the granite column. The plaque on the left side shows a bas-relief image of a one of the leaders being hanged. The monument was moved amid controversy in 1962 from the Guilford Courthouse Battleground in Greensboro where it had stood since 1901.
Images: Front plaque | Rear plaque | Condemned Regulators Plaque | James Hunter plaque | Vintage postcard "N.C. Colonial Monument--Guilford Battle Ground" | Far-off view of James Hunter and Battle of Alamance monuments
Front: THE BATTLE / OF THE / ALAMANCE, / THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE / REVOLUTIONARY WAR, WAS / FOUGHT IN ORANGE COUNTY, / NORTH CAROLINA / MAY 16TH, 1771.
Right: 1771-1781 1901 / JAMES HUNTER / “GENERAL” OF THE REGULATORS / “THE COUNTRY IS AS MUCH MASTER NOW / AS EVER.” NOVEMBER 6TH, 1772 / ALAMANCE MAY 16TH, 1771 / CHEROKEE WAR OCTOBER 1776 / GUILFORD COURTHOUSE MARCH 15TH, 1781 / BORN 1740. DIED 1821.
Left: OF TWELVE REGULATORS CONDEMNED AT / HILLSBORO, THE FOLLOWING SIX WERE EXECUTED / BY THE BRITISH GOVERNOR: JAMES PUGH, ROBERT / MATEAR, BENJAMIN MERRILL, CAPTAIN MESSER, / AND TWO OTHERS, WHOSE NAMES ARE NOW / UNKNOWN. “OUR BLOOD WILL BE AS GOOD SEED IN / GOOD GROUND, THAT WILL SOON PRODUCE ONE / HUNDRED FOLD.”- JAMES PUGH, UNDER THE GALLOWS / AT HILLSBORO, N.C., JUNE 19TH, 1771.
Rear: 1773 WITHOUT COURTS AND BEYOND THE / GOVERNOR’S CONTROL, THE PEOPLE WERE A / LAW UNTO THEMSELVES. THEY CORRESPONDED / WITH ALL THE OTHER COLONIES AND WATCHED THE / PROCEEDING OF THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT. / 1774 A CONVENTION OF THE PEOPLE OF THE / PROVINCE ASSEMBLED- “THE FIRST / REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY THAT EVER MET / IN NORTH CAROLINA OR IN AMERICA, SAVE BY / ROYAL AUTHORITY. IT MET IN OPEN, FLAGRANT / DEFIANCE OF THE CROWN, ITS GOVERNOR, AND / HIS PROCLAMATIONS. / 1775 APRIL THE 8TH ENDED THE LAST ROYAL / LEGISLATIVE BODY THAT EVER MET IN NORTH / CAROLINA. MAY 20TH THE MECKLENBURG DECLARATION / WAS MADE. AUGUST 20- A POPULAR GOVERNMENT / FOR THE PROVINCE WAS ESTABLISHED, EVERY / COUNTY AND BOROUGH TOWN BEING / REPRESENTED IN THE CONVENTION. / 1776 FEBRUARY- THE FIRST VICTORY OF THE / REVOLUTIONARY WAR WAS GAINED AT MOORE’S / CREEK BRIDGE, NORTH CAROLINA, BY THE / PEOPLE OF THE PROVINCE. / APRIL 12TH- NORTH CAROLINA WAS THE FIRST TO / DECLARE FOR CONTINENTAL INDEPENDENCE
North Carolina Historic Sites
July 4, 1901
36.008300 , -79.520740 View in Geobrowse
“Monument Project Brings Dispute,” The Daily Times-News (Burlington, NC), November 5, 1962
"Alamance Battleground: Colonial Period – Revolutionary War," North Carolina Historic Sites, nchistoricsites.org, (accessed December 8, 2019) Link
"Battle of Alamance," The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed December 8, 2016) Link
"The Battle of the Alamance," The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed December 9, 2016) Link
"The Glorious Fourth," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), July 10, 1901, 1 Link
Folder 27a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 51-52 Link
Folder 39b in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 79, 81 Link
Folder 44a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 19 Link
Folder 45a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 90-91 Link
Folder 46a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 56, 61, 82 Link
Folder 55b in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 4 Link
Morehead, Joseph Motley. Address of Joseph M. Morehead, Esq., of Guilford, on the Life and Times of James Hunter, “General” of the Regulators, at Guilford Battle Ground, Saturday, July 3, 1897, (Greensboro, NC: C. F. Thomas, 1898), (accessed February 6, 2012) Link
Photograph in the Charles Randolph Thomas Papers, #1814, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Link
Stockard Sallie W. “Ante Revolutionary History,” The Morning Post (Raleigh, NC), January 27, 1901
Troxler, George W. "Alamance, Battle of," NCPedia.org, (accessed December 8, 2016) Link
“Monument for Guilford,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), February 25, 1901
Granite base and shaft, bronze statue
Shaft and base $550 plus donated material. Original estimated cost was $1,000
The dedication was held at the annual July 4th celebration at the Guilford Courthouse battleground that also saw the unveiling the James Morehead monument (#129). Governor James B. Aycock gave the days principal and spoke on the Colonial history of North Carolina. During the speech he argued that the first blood shed during the Revolution had been at the Battle of Alamance where the “Regulators” stood “against foreign oppression…” Governor Aycock was followed by R.F. Beasley, editor of the Monroe Journal, who made a “scholarly” presentation on the Battle of Elizabethtown fought in 1781.
The Regulators Monument
The monument's inscription combines the records of two different James Hunters active in North Carolina during the Revolutionary era: one a regulator and the other a legislator. The correct identities of both men were established by Vearl Guymon Alger in 1977.
It does not appear the statue was in place when the monument was dedicated. Several news descriptions from the time exist and none mention it although an article in The Charlotte News on February 25, 1901 mentions a proposed statue. In February 1902 a news article mentions that a Colonial soldier statue was “soon” to be placed on the battleground. No current memorials on the battleground fit the description of this statue so it may reference the statue now present on the Colonial Column. The first mention found of a statue on the monument was from early 1903 so it would be safe to say the statue was in place by some time in 1902. No evidence was found that the statue was representative of James Hunter as later claimed by his descendants.
A controversy arose when descendants of James Hunter, known as the “General of the Regulators,” and members of the James Hunter Chapter of the DAR became upset that the Alamance Battleground Chapter of the DAR had arranged for moving the monument from Guilford Courthouse Battleground to the Alamance Battleground in 1962. Hunter’s relatives claimed that the statue was of Hunter and that monument had been funded by his relatives. The facts as pointed out by historians in 1962 and current research do not support either assertion. Efforts by the James Hunter Chapter to have it returned to Guilford Courthouse failed. The Alamance people were referred to as “the memorial snatching group,” by one of Hunter’s relatives.
The memorial is located on North Carolina Route 62 east of Clapp Mill Road, Alamance, NC, on the left when traveling west. It stands app. nine miles from Burlington, N.C.
The monument stands on the site of the actual Alamance battleground. The Battle of Alamance Monument is within 300 feet.
The monument was originally dedicated in 1901 at the Guilford Courthouse battleground, and it was relocated in 1962 to the Alamance Battleground Historic site.