ELIZABETHTOWN — More than 230 years ago, an Elizabethtown site became forever famous when Patriots sneaked into a camp and turned the course of the Revolutionary War.
Today, the tide is turning on the site once again, and perhaps in some small measure, a contributor to its revival as a place of renown may once again be the Battle of Elizabethtown.
“There will be cannon shots, musket shots, and plenty of history,” said Elizabethtown Parks and Recreation planner and architect Rod Fritz, referring to the commemoration of the Battle of Elizabethtown currently in the works.
On Aug. 26, the newly refurbished Tory Holy Park will come alive with a ceremony intended to pay homage to one of Elizabethtown’s most famous claims to fame. This year marks the 237th anniversary of the Patriot Whigs’ breaking of Loyalist Tory power in the Cape Fear region.
The small battle took place Aug. 27, 1781, in the area of town between the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market and the natural ravine which runs into Tory Hole behind Wells Fargo and the downtown area.
In the early morning hours, a small but determined group of Patriots surprised a group of Loyalists nearly four times their size and were able to overtake the group with nearly no bloodshed or loss of life. Their success breathed much-needed life into the region and into the Patriot cause.
Town staff are hoping the same life will be breathed back into the region with the commemorative ceremony planned for the site.
“I’m very excited about it,” said Fritz, a self-described history buff and descendant of a Revolutionary War soldier. “Not just because of my ancestry, but because this is important to the town of Elizabethtown.”
Participants in this 237th anniversary celebration will include the Battle of Elizabethtown Chapter of National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, volunteers and staff from Moore’s Creek National Battleground, members of Harmony Hall Plantation Village, and others.
The ceremony will take place at Tory Hole from 2-3 p.m.
On the same day, but at a different location, will be a second event intended to honor another Bladen County point of pride — its vineyards.
“This is the Grape Escape, a tour of Bladen County by bike,” explained Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden. “The two main stops will be Cape Fear Vineyard and Lu Mil Vineyard.”
The metric and half century bike ride will begin and end at Cape Fear Vineyard & Winery in Elizabethtown. Entry fee is $45, with a T-shirt guaranteed to the first 100 entrants. For all riders, the fee includes rider support at all SAG stops.
“People will be coming from all over for this,” Madden remarked.
Food and entertainment will be provided after the event at Cape Fear Vineyard.
Money raised from the bike ride will be used to provide scholarship opportunities for deserving Bladen County students. It is a joint effort of Bladen Community College and the town of Elizabethtown.
For additional information about registering for the ride, contact the town of Elizabethtown at 910-862-2066.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.