The roar of musquetry and cracking of rifles were almost perpetual and as heavy as any I ever heard.—COL. OTHO HOLLAND WILLIAMS, Maryland Continental Brigade, 16 March 1781
Exactly how long each British unit took to cover the 400 yards between the first and second lines cannot be determined precisely, because each unit moved at a different pace due to variations in ground cover, terrain, and American resistance. North of the road, the 33rd Foot was in woods from the time they formed their battle line, following a stream on their left and trying to maintain contact with the 23rd Foot, which moved across open fields, while fighting of a swarm of Virginia riflemen blazing away at their left flank and front. Even before they passed the axis of the first line, the 33rd had been forced to cross the stream and start fighting along the northern ridge. Once on the slope and crest, the 33rd turned east and began driving the flankers toward the rear. By the time they passed the now abandoned first line, the light infantry and the jaegers were covering the 33rd's left flank as they drove against Kirkwood's Continentals, scattered pockets of North Carolina militiamen, and, eventually, the fringes of the second line Virginia militia.
The Virginians along the second line could not see the advancing British army but were well aware of what had taken place on the first line. They heard the artillery exchange, and several cannonballs had fallen along their line.