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A historical marker is found at 115 Mount Mourne (Iredell County) near present day Mooresville. After the Cowan's Ford and Beattie's Ford incidents, General Cornwallis sent Banistre Tarleton on patrol to look for informants on the Patriots and militia. As he made his way toward Salisbury, he ordered his men to wait due to heavy rain and muddy roads. He learned that militia from Rowan and Mecklenburg Counties were meeting at Torrence's (Tarrant's) Tavern just down the road. Tarleton saw an opportunity to make a significant impact on the rebels. As they approached, Tarleton noted the militia was vigilant and prepared for an attack. As Tarleton told it, his troops directly charged through the center of the rebel positions. He claimed to have killed 50, and wounded many more in the ensuing chase. Over 500 rebels dispersed into the area. Tarleton also claimed to have broke into small groups and dispended such fear among the inhabitants that the troops passed through the most hostile spot in North Carolina without the militia firing a shot. General Joseph Graham begged to differ with Tarleton's account. Graham said a large group of refugees and militia from Beattie's Ford and Cowan's Ford were at the tavern. They were wet, cold, and hungry. The road was crowded with wagons and people to the point it was hard to move along. The alarm was given that Tarleton was coming. Graham said Capt. Nathaniel K. Martin and several others rode to meet the enemy, and called for the other men to get over the fences and face the enemy. Most of the men started moving off. Martin was captured while Tarleton's troops charged through the lane. Graham said about 10 were killed, some of whom were unarmed old men who just happened to be there looking for news. After pursuing the militia, the British returned to the tavern and burned the remaining wagons, and ripped up the beds of the refugees until the road was littered with feathers. Tarleton spared the tavern but Cornwallis ordered it burned when he arrived the next day. Unknown to him, Tarleton just missed capturing General Greene by a few minutes.

Tarleton and the British Legion at Tarrant's Tavern

Tarrant's Tavern

North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program