When the first battles occurred at Lexington and Concord, the royalist govern-ment in North Carolina was quickly disposed. Governor Martin fled to an anchored British ship at the mouth of the Cape Fear. Yet, the governor planned to retake the colony by force, and suprisingly the Scotch settlers on the Cape Fear were his closest allies. Many had taken the "blood oath" after Culloden vowing to defend the King forever. The bitter consequences of defeat were still remembered. Also, many had prospered in North Carolina since the Crown had generously granted the settlers vast acreage. To oppose King George at this time might mean eventual loss of these newly acquired properties.
These ideas were not so prevalent at Barbeque-"an island of Whigs in a sea of Tories." Torn by indecision, most of the Buies either sided with the revolutionary cause or chose to remain neutral. The reasons why they did not join their loyalist Highlander neighbors are unclear, but probably it was because they were not as af-fluent and did not own as much land as the McDonalds, McKays, McLeods, Campbells, and others. Also, the Buies had not suffered at Culloden and knew nothing of what opposition to British rule might bring. Only rarely did a Buie actively support the loyalist cause. Archibald Buie of Bladen County probably joined the Tory army in the early months of the war. John Buie enlisted in the Royal North Carolina Regiment at Hillsboro in 1781.
In February, 1776, the loyalist Highlanders grouped at Cross Creek under the command of General Donald McDonald. Other officers included Alexander McLeod and Allan McDonald, Flora's husband, who had embraced the royalist cause. The 1500-man army began to march to the sea to join with British forces at Wilmington. At Barbeque Campbell prayed for defeat of the Highlanders until one Sunday McAlpin Munn, a Tory, approached him after the service and threatened to kill him if he prayed for the American cause again. Daniel Buie, an ardent Whig, served the revolutionary army as a guide and led some troops under Hugh McDonald to a place called Moore's CIeek Bridge a few miles above Wilmington. There, on February 26, the Americans annihilated the Highlanders during a brief battle. Most of the Tories were killed or captured. Allan McDonald was led away in chains and would join Flora years later in Scotland. Archibald Buie, the Tory soldier, probably harassed by the Whigs, left North Carolina forever.
One John Buie of Cumberland County, an American patriot, then only 17 years old, recalled these times. "(I) entered the Army of North Carolina in the year 1776, in February, in Cumberland County, North Carolina under Capt. Clark for the term of six months as a substitute for (my) father Duncan Buie. (We) rendezvoused at Fayetteville, North Carolina then a placed called Cross Creek where Col. Thorton took command of the regiment and Israel Folian was major and Thomas Dobbins lieutenant...During the time of encampment at Fayetteville, Col. Thornton (Thackston) marched back again to the Cape Fear River to head the Tories who were fleeing in that direction after their defeat by Col. Caswell at Moore's Bridge. We fell in with the Tories who were submitted without any resistance to the number of about six hundred.., whom we made prisoners and sent their officers to Halifax, North Carolina. There was no other skirmishes and nothing else done except training and scouting parties occasionally scouring the country until my term of six months expired." John's military career did not end here, for in 1779 he moved to the 96th District in South Carolina, again enlisted in the American Army, and fought under the command of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln. John survived the war and later moved to Tennessee.
After Moore's Creek the Whigs controlled Cumberland County. Daniel Buie served as a captain of militia and helped organize the Whigs into military units. In June, 1776, Col. Philip Alston sent Daniel out to gather men for a muster. A 14-year old lad, Hugh McDonald, who had been forced to fight as a young Tory soldier at Moore's Creek by his father, recalled an encounter with Captain Daniel Buie in a field while young Hugh was plowing. "Five men on horseback appeared at the fence, one of whom, Daniel Buie, knew me and asked me what I was doing here. I answered that my father lived here; and he said he was not aware of that. 'Come', he says, 'you must go with us to pilot us through the settlement; for we have a boy here who has come far enough. He is six miles from home and is tired enough.' His name was Thomas Graham, and he lived near the head of McLendon's Creek. I told Mr. Buie that I dare not go, for if I did, my father would kill me. Mr. Buie then alighted from his horse, and walked into the field, ungeared the horse and took him outside the fence. He then put up the fence again, and, leading me by the hand, put me on behind one of the company, whose name was Gaster, and discharged the other boy." Hugh guided Daniel Buie and his men through the area and continued with them to Henry Eagle's house on Bear Creek where he was befriended by Col. Alston and his wife. Refusing to return to his father, Hugh went to Cross Creek with Daniel Buie and joined Capt. Arthur Council's Whig militia.
Since Daniel Buie and Thomas Dobbins were captains of the militia in the Bar-beque District, they were responsible for administering the provisional government in that area. The remainder of the Buies were still undecided about which side to adhere. Duncan Buie, who had served the Barbeque Church for so many years as an elder, left his neighbors probably because of his neutralist or loyalist feelings, and relocated on Raifords Creek near the Cape Fear opposite Bluff Church. In 1779 only half of the Buies had pledged an allegiance to the new government. As time passed, however, they became more accustomed to the revolutionary regime and by 1780 all but three Buies had taken the oath of loyalty to the state renouncing any obedience to the King.
After a period of relative quiet in Cumberland County, the war drew near again. After his costly victory at Guilford Courthouse on March 15, 1781, British Lord Cornwallis led his army southeast toward Cross Creek. The first redcoat legions entered Cumberland County on the northern boundary and camped near William Buie's home. The next day Banastre Tarleton's British dragoons approached Barbeque Church. They were met by Captain Daniel Buie and his small group of Whig militia including Jacob Gaster, Laurence Strodder, Duncan Buie, John Small and others. In the short skirmish which followed, Duncan Buie's scalp was split open by a sabre and was left for dead by the British. Later however, he recovered and lived many years. Most of the Whigs were captured and placed in a bull pen overnight. A few escaped from the pen that evening in the darkness. The remainder were led away with the British force to Wilmington. Gaster, Small, and Strodder were later exchanged. Daniel Buie died a few months later aboard a British prison ship anchored at Wilmington.
Lord Cornwallis was doomed. He pushed his army northward from Wilmington into Virginia. His campaign ended at Yorktown where on October 19, 1781 to the fife and drum tune of "The World Turned Upside Down" the English general surrendered his defeated men to General George Washington and his American army and French allies. The colonies including North Carolina and the Buies in Cumberland County were free at last to establish their own nation.