Quakers at the Battlefield

Seems strange, doesn’t it? After all, one thing Quakers are known for is promoting peace and nonviolence.

But, sometimes, war and battles, with soldiers wounded and dying and dead, come to you.

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That’s what happened at the Battle of Lindley’s Mill during the Revolutionary War. September 13, 1781. The battle was fought very near Spring Friends Meeting. So yesterday, there was a pilgrimage, after meeting for worship, out to the site.

Before we went and while we were there, Ron Osborne taught us the history: The battle had been a part of an attempt to rescue Governor Burke and other North Carolina government officials while their captors prepared to bring them across Cane Creek, on the way to Wilmington. They had been captured in Hillsborough.

Because the goal was to get the prisoners to Wilmington (or rescue them before they got there), both armies continued moving on. The people who lived in the area cared for the wounded. The dead were buried, both at the battlefield and at the Quaker cemetery. Between 200 and 250 soldiers had been wounded or killed during the four-hour battle.

Today, the immediate area of the battlefield is still undeveloped. For us, it was a beautiful and peaceful trek.

 

Chuck Fager watching over the kids. (Don't worry. The truck ride was just down the trail, closer to the monuments and off the road).
Chuck Fager watching over the kids. (Don’t worry. The truck ride was just down the trail, closer to the monuments, and off of the road. And, Chuck was sitting down.)

 

Ron Osborne teaching the history and pointing out favorable elevation from which to stage an ambush. Limited options for crossing waterways such as Cane Creek, allowing the opposing army to predict the route.
Ron Osborne teaching the history and pointing out favorable elevation from which to stage an ambush. Limited options for crossing waterways, such as Cane Creek, allowed the opposing army to predict the route.

 

Kara VanHooser bravely crossed the muddy shored Stafford Branch of Cane Creek first.
Kara VanHooser bravely crossed the muddy-shored offshoot of Stafford Branch (of Cane Creek) first.

 

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Then, she turned back to place rocks as stepping stones to assist those of us following her.

 

One other thought lingering from yesterday: A long time ago, I went up to the mountains of Tennessee for a long weekend. One of my best memories of that trip is of an open-air chapel. It wasn’t much — a floor, benches, walls that came as high as a window sill would, posts continuing up, framing what would have been windows if there were panes or screens in them, and a roof.

That was the epitome of worship for me, although I was mostly among strangers. Yesterday was similar (with a more worshipful focus prior to our outing), and I was among Friends.

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