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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Battle of Kings Mountain

It was 1780 when Cornwallis gave the command to take the southern colonies. He appointed a handsome soldier by the name of Patrick Ferguson to march across Virginia toward North Carolina and meet him in Charlotte.

Ferguson was confident most settlers were loyalists anxious for peace to be restored to their chaotic towns. Some refer to this as the first civil war because politics began to divide the people so intensely that violence broke out on both sides, breaking up friends and families.

Loyalists wanted to keep England in power, while patriots wanted to break from the mother country, about a third of the populace really didn't care, they just wanted to be left alone. The British cause was hurt by the means some officers took to quell rebellion Resistance was met with brute force and no quarter was given, the patriots were hanged. Despite the stories of oppression, Ferguson was certain loyalists would flock under his banner as he made his way toward the small town of Kings Mountain.

While some loyalists followed him, resistors, called mountain men followed with the intent of attack. Ferguson sent a threat to the settlers of North Carolina to either sign an oath of allegiance to the crown or their land and homes would be laid to waste, while their leaders were hanged.

This did not promote loyalty.

As Ferguson made camp on the top of King's pinnacle, the towns people promised to bring him down and reclaim what was theirs. While it was assumed the mountain top would give an advantage in battle, the gun fire sailed over the heads of patriots charging the hill. The mountain men used "Indian tactics" instead of fighting out in the open, they hid behind trees and rocks, advancing the whole time.

Said George Hanger of Ferguson's Provincial Corps:
"This distinguished race of men are more savage than the Indians, and posses every one of the vices, but none of the virtues. I have known these fellows to travel 200 miles through the woods never keeping any road or path, guided by the sun by day, and stars by night, to kill a particular person of the opposite party."

True to the reputation, men flocked to unseat Ferguson's troops, coming from miles around. Some kept their horses a mile from the battle ground and walked toward the skirmish, gun in hand.

The mountain was surrounded, the battle raged for about an hour before the English tried to surrender. White flags were raised, but some ignored them, while others may not have understood its meaning. Most of the Loyalists were shot down.

Ferguson rode his horse issuing commands the whole time. He was shot nine times and fell from his horse. He is buried on the mountain to this day.
The battle was commemorated by Thomas Jefferson as the battle that turned the tide of war. In later years, a memorial stone was erected in Ferguson's memory. He was a man of honor and we remember those who fell. Glad to commemorate the battle and our lasting friendship with the British Empire. The monument was erected in 1930.

3 comments:

catslady said...

I love learning facts like this - so much more interesting than what I learned in school. the mountain men definitely had the advantage and all's fair in love and war :) To defend one's own country is more of an incentive than trying to take over another.

Jen Childers said...

Absolutely!
HIstory should be the most interesting class a student has, but somehow it goes flat.
take care,
Jen

My Eclectic Reads said...

Very interesting. If I can remember correctly, I had a great (to the nth degree) uncle that died in that battle. Kings Mountain sounds right. :-) Nicce to learn some background to the event. Thank you!

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