Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Battle of Kings Mountain

The Battle of Kings Mountain was not an isolated action; it was the high spot of 1780 in the South. Most historians agree the Battle Of Kings Mountain in North Carolina was the turning point in the American Revolutionary War. The moment in time when the Patriots took the upper hand in force.

This battle in North Carolina, actually occurred on the 7th day of October, 1780, but the first brush with the Patriots came on September 12th, 1780 with a withdrawl to Kings Mountain. This later culminated in a fierce battle and resulted in the defeat of Lieutenant Colonel Ferguson, who commanded the Royal forces. Not one of his men escaping from the battle field. The thoroughness of this defeat to the English and the death of the brave and highly trusted leader, was by far the most serious blow to which the British forces operating in the Southern Provinces had been subjected. The immediate effect upon Cornwallis was to put an end, for the time being, to the further subjugation of the Province of North Carolina.

His contemplated advance from Charlotte Town to Salisbury was menaced by a new and unheard of enemy the men under Campbell, Shelby, Sevier, and others who came from the region of the mountains, and the back, waters that flow to the west; from places so remote and unknown to the British leaders as to be almost mythical. This avenging militia made necessary a hasty revision of Cornwallis's plans following Kings Mountain, which resulted in his immediate withdrawal to the South, and the concentration of his main army, detached posts, and flanking parties, into positions capable of rendering mutual assistance.

These hardy men of the Blue Ridge and Alleghenies, of deep religious convictions, were accustomed to the hardships and independence of a pioneer life, and in their mountain homes in the highlands and the backwaters they but seldom were concerned with affairs beyond their borders or interfered with by Crown or colony. When Ferguson approached their kingdom and threatened to invade their lands and lay waste their country with "fire and sword," and to "hang their leaders," he aroused their indignation and anger to such a degree that they determined to rid the country forever of this enemy, who menaced their independence and the safety of their homes and families. Had Cornwallis and his leaders known more about these mountain and backwater men, they would have carefully avoided all military and punitive measures which might tend to draw them from their mountain fastnesses to enroll amongst the enemies of the King.

The Battle of Kings Mountain was fought by men on both sides whose bravery should be a matter of pride to all posterity. The troops commanded by Ferguson were Americans, or persons who had come to the Provinces prior to the Revolution. His command consisted of about 125 picked officers and men, taken from several regular battalions raised in New York and New Jersey, and formed into a temporary Provincial Corps. These men were Loyalists, and they gave their services to the Crown with the same high sense of duty which prompted their brothers and neighbors to rebel against it. The Loyalist chose poorly and paid for it with their lives.

The willingness of the men to join the battle has been attributed to the fierce independent spirit of frontiersmen and to the provoked reaction of Ferguson's threat. In part that is true, after all these men had chosen to settle on Indian land without protection from the British to ensure their complete independence.
The reality of the situation: If the British won the war, their days of being Over Mountain Men would be over. If they were allowed to live, they would most certainly be removed from their home-places and shipped back east and possibly face extradition back to England. In truth, the Over Mountain Men were fighting for their right to live in a free land that was their very own.

When the Over Mountain Men, as they were called, met on September 25, 1780 where they were 1,000 men strong. The next day the march over the mountain begin. They soon learned Ferguson had fled after hearing of their approach. The leaders decided to pursue Ferguson as far as it was necessary to attack him and his troops. On October 7, 1780 the Patriots surrounded Ferguson and his troops who were staged on Kings Mountain.

Even though the Patriots had no military training, no orders, no uniforms or provisions, and no promise of pay, in a little more than an hour Ferguson and his troops were decimated by the Over Mountain Men. The frontiersmen were practiced at shooting moving targets as they hunted game to provide food for their families and the rifles of the Patriots made for easier and faster shooting than the muskets of Ferguson's troops.

A Mounument for Lieutenant Colonel Ferguson was placed by Americans in 1930.

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