Battle of Kings Mountain
The Battle of Kings Mountain, 7th October 1780, was a decisive
Patriot victory in the Southern campaign of the American
Revolutionary War. Frontier militia loyal to the United States
overwhelmed the Loyalist American militia led by British Major
Patrick Ferguson of the 71st Foot.
In The Winning of the
West, Theodore Roosevelt wrote of Kings Mountain, "This brilliant
victory marked the turning point of the American Revolution." Thomas
Jefferson called it, "The turn of the tide of success." Herbert
Hoover's address at Kings Mountain said, "This is a place of
inspiring memories. Here less than a thousand men, inspired by the
urge of freedom, defeated a superior force intrenched in this
strategic position. This small band of patriots turned back a
dangerous invasion well designed to separate and dismember the
united Colonies. It was a little army and a little battle, but it
was of mighty portent. History has done scant justice to its
significance, which rightly should place it beside Lexington, Bunker
Hill, Trenton and Yorktown."
The Battle of Kings Mountain
lasted 65 minutes. The Loyalists suffered 244 killed, 163 wounded,
and 668 taken prisoner. The Patriot militia suffered 29 killed and
58 wounded. The Rebels had to move out quickly for fear that
Cornwallis would advance to meet them. Loyalist prisoners well
enough to walk were herded to camps several miles from the
battlefield. The dead were buried in shallow graves and wounded were
left on the field. Both victors and vanquished came near to
starvation on the march due to a lack of supplies in the hastily
organized Patriot army.
On October 14, the retreating Patriot
force held drumhead courtmartials of various Loyalists on various
charges (treason, desertion from Patriot militias, incitement of
Indian rebellion), mostly due to a desire for revenge. Thirty-six
Loyalists were convicted and nine were hanged before Isaac Shelby
brought an end to the proceedings. As the Patriot army dispersed,
all but 130 Loyalist prisoners escaped before the column finally
reached camp at Salem, North Carolina.
Kings Mountain was a
pivotal moment in the history of the American Revolution. Coming
after a series of disasters and humiliations in the Carolinas—the
fall of Charleston and capture of the American army there, the
destruction of another American army at the Battle of Camden, the
Waxhaws Massacre—the surprising, decisive victory at Kings Mountain
was a great boost to Patriot morale. The Tories of the Carolina Back
Country were broken as a military force. Additionally, the
destruction of Ferguson's command and the looming threat of Patriot
militia in the mountains caused Lord Cornwallis to cancel his plans
to invade North Carolina; he instead evacuated Charlotte and
retreated to South Carolina. He would not return to North Carolina
until early 1781, when he was chasing Nathanael Greene after the
Americans had dealt British arms another devastating defeat at the
Battle of Cowpens.
In 1931, the Congress of the United States
created the Kings Mountain National Military Park on the site of the
battle. The park headquarters is in Blacksburg, South Carolina, and
hosts hundreds of thousands of people each year.
Amongst those who took part were:
- Edward Douglas
- James Douglas
- Johnathon Douglas
- Robert Douglas
Any contributions will be
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