Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, at 2332 New Garden Road in Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina, commemorates the Battle of Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781. This battle opened the campaign that led to an American victory in the War of Independence. The British defeat in this battle contributed to their surrender at Yorktown seven months later. The battlefield was preserved as a national military park and is maintained by the National Park Service (NPS). Based on the examination of historical evidence, the interpretation of the battle has changed since the late 20th century, affecting the placement of monuments and markers. In 1886, local resident David Schenck began a plan to acquire land to commemorate the Guilford Courthouse as a battlefield park.
The following year, he chartered the non-profit Guilford Battle Ground Company (GBGC) to further these efforts. From an early day, he planned for the group to donate the property it bought to the federal government. When the US Congress finally designated Guilford Courthouse as a National Military Park in 1917, the GBGC gave away 125 acres (0.51 km2) for free. Without the generosity of David Schenck, it is entirely possible that the park would not exist today. Although the park’s founding was generous, GBGC’s management over the years has left a mixed legacy. First, Schenck did not preserve the landscape in its approximate historical state, but beautified the landscape into a pleasant experience. Before the site was established as a military park, national historical societies began erecting monuments on the grounds purchased by the GBGC. Although these monuments and interpretations were well designed, they were not based on researched evidence and were often built in convenient, if imprecise, locations. Second, he adopted an interpretation of the battle that involved a much smaller area than current accounts indicate. Historians believe that his limited resources and the demanding top dollar of landowners influenced his interpretation. This misled scholars and historical groups who relied on his work; they put historical monuments and markers in the wrong places. It also blocked government efforts to acquire land or oppose development in territory outside Schenck’s original battlefield. Since his time, the expanding city of Greensboro has approached the park and surrounded it with private development, destroying some of the battlefield areas. When the National Park Service assumed responsibility for the park, its historians and researchers sought to clarify the accuracy of the battle sites. The updated accuracy places many of the monuments in places that had very little reference to the actual battle. Today, the National Park Service has moved beyond Schenck’s interpretation of the battle and has a better understanding of the events of the battle. He hopes to reconstruct the battlefield and its monuments to match the historical evidence. The revived Guilford Battleground Company supports the preservation of the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park and Colonial Heritage Center, where British troops gathered for the advance. The park is connected by a bike path to the adjacent Greensboro Country Park, and residents enjoy both jogging and biking.
The National Park Service preserves intact the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service works with partners to extend the benefits of natural resource conservation and recreation across the country and the world. National parks are great places to explore anything kids can imagine. Go on an adventure outside. Walk in the footsteps of famous people. Admire unique landscapes. Discover new interests. Experience real places you may have only heard about. But most of all, national parks are places to have fun and make memories that last a lifetime. This park is a battlefield of the Revolutionary War, celebrating the March 15, 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse (Battle of Guilford Courthouse) between the army of Major General Nathanael Greene and the Continental Army against the British and Hessian armies of Lord Charles Earl Cornwallis . Whether you’re looking for soldiers’ tracks or enjoying a walk in the woods, the park offers a reflective space for you to reflect on and explore this battle in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. You can choose between several activities for young people, adults, individuals and families.
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