to order

announces its publication of

Pyle’s Defeat: Deception at the Racepath by Dr. Carole W. Troxler, Professor of History, Elon University.  80 pages, paper bound, 8 ½ ” x 11.”  15 maps and illustrations.

Questions and controversies have peppered the lore of a Revolutionary engagement fought on the outskirts of Burlington, North Carolina in 1781.  As late as about 1850, residents could point out the location of the battle and of mass graves of some who were killed.  Thereafter, stone markers placed on one of the mass graves in 1880 continued to locate the general area.  Even after the markers were removed, periwinkle that had been planted on the grave continued to mark its location and to spread among the surrounding cedars.

The fighting occurred while revolutionary forces under Henry Lee and Andrew Pickens were looking for Banastre Tarleton and his feared British Legion.  Instead, they came across about 400 area loyalists trying to reach Tarleton, who was supposed to escort them and other recruits to Cornwallis’s main force in Hillsborough.  The loyalists Lee encountered were from what is now southern and western Alamance County and adjoining areas of Chatham, Guilford and Randolph counties. They were led by John Pyle, a physician and former Regulator leader who lived on Cane Creek.
Lee managed to trick Pyle and his recruits and to attack them at close range.  The controversial engagement, known as “Pyle’s Massacre,” “Pyle’s Hacking Match” and “Pyle’s Defeat,” is explored here in the context of its setting and sources and with an eye to issues that link the events with the twenty-first century.
Copies of Pyle’s Defeat: Deception at the Racepath
are available for $12.00 at the Alamance County Historical Museum and Alamance Battleground State Historic Site.
Or by mail: send $12.00 check to
Alamance County Historical Association
7519-C Lindley Mill Rd.
Graham, N.C. 27253