When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
October 7, 1780 – BATTLE OF KINGS MOUNTAIN: Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia commanded by British Major Patrick Ferguson of the 71st Foot. Coming after a series of disasters and humiliations in the Carolinas the surprising decisive victory at Kings Mountain was a great boost to Patriot morale. The destruction of Ferguson’s command caused Lord Cornwallis to cancel his plans to invade North Carolina; he instead evacuated Charlotte and retreated to South Carolina.
Major Ferguson’s Tory force, made up mostly of American Loyalists from South Carolina and elsewhere, was the western wing of General Lord Cornwallis’ North Carolina invasion force. One thousand American frontiersmen under Colonel Campbell of Virginia gathered in the backcountry on the border of the two states to resist Ferguson’s advance. Pursued by the Patriots, Ferguson positioned his Tory force in defense of a rocky, treeless ridge named King’s Mountain. The Patriots charged the hillside multiple times, demonstrating lethal marksmanship against the surrounded Loyalists.
Unwilling to surrender to a “band of banditti,” Ferguson led a suicidal charge down the mountain and was cut down in a hail of bullets. After his death, some of his men tried to surrender, but they were slaughtered in cold blood by the frontiersmen, who were bitter over British excesses in the Carolinas. The Tories suffered 157 killed, 163 wounded, and 698 captured. Colonel Campbell’s force suffered just 28 killed and 60 wounded.
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