Brunswick County is where the first open armed resistance to the Stamp Act occurred on November 28, 1765 – eight years before the Boston Tea Party in 1773. In 1763, England sent 10,000 new Red Coats to the Colonies and began taxing the Colonies to pay for this expense. The British imposed the Stamp Act in 1765 and this infuriated the colonists. Residents in Brunswick County led the first revolt against British ships. The revolt here led to England repealing the Stamp Act in the Spring of 1766.


The Colonies seized control of the thirteen colonial governments in 1775, established the Second Continental Congress, and formed a Continental Army. A year later, the Colonists declared their independence and formed the United States of America. The Revolutionary War officially began on July 4, 1776. The first American victory against the British occurred in Brunswick County – at Moore’s Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776. Formed in 1764, Brunswick County played an active strategic role in the Revolutionary War. General Robert Howe, a resident of Brunswick County, was a lead commander in General George Washington’s army.

Throughout the Revolutionary War, the British used their naval superiority to capture and occupy coastal cities, but control of the countryside, where 90 percent of the population lived, largely eluded them due to their relatively small land army. General Francis Marion, the Revolutionary War “Swamp Fox” visited Brunswick County often as he ambushed British Redcoats in swamps in South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina. General Francis Marion was a great guerilla warfare commander who did create serious problems for British Colonel Benestre Tarleton.


From 1773 to 1776, over 300 cargo vessels entered and cleared the port at Brunswick Town located just up the river from Southport. Many of the vessels came right by Ocean Isle Beach. Brunswick Town was a major supply base for the Colonists and that is why British Redcoats from the Royal Navy ship Cruizer burned Brunswick Town to the ground in the Spring of 1776.


The British army finally surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 officially ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west. At the end of the Revolutionary War, there was not a single town in Brunswick County, because Brunswick Town had been destroyed. The town was never rebuilt. In fact, Fort Anderson during the Civil War was built on top of old Brunswick Town.