other might be prevented;’ that the Governor
would give them leave to present ‘their Petition,’ and to treat for peace.
The next day Tryon
crossed Alamance River, and marched out to meet the Regulators.
As he approached, James Hunter
and Benjamin Merrill
a Captain of militia, ‘a man in general esteem for his honesty, integrity, piety and moral good life,’ received from him this answer: ‘I require you to lay down your arms, surrender up the outlawed ringleaders, submit yourselves to the laws, and rest on the lenity of the Government
By accepting these terms in one hour, you will prevent an effusion of blood, as you are at this time in a state of war and rebellion.’2
The demands were utterly unjustifiable.
No one of the Regulators had been legally outlawed; or even legally indicted.
The Governor acted against law as against right; and by every rule deserved to be resisted.
Yet the Regulators reluctantly accepted the appeal to arms; for they had nothing to hope from victory itself.
Their courage was the courage of martyrs.
The action began before noon, by firing a fieldpiece into the midst of the people.
Many of the Regulators, perhaps the larger number, retired; but those who remained, disputed the field for two hours, fighting first in the open ground and then from behind trees, till at last having nearly expended their ammunition,3 Hunter
and his men were compelled to