The Battle of Kings Mountain

The Battle of Kings Mountain is considered to be a major turning point in the American Revolution. This battle was in many ways unique to all the other battles that had taken place since the revolution started. Such as Bunker Hill, Princeton and Trenton, and even Camden. Kings Mountain was fought on October 7th, 1780, and was fought as a civil battle, meaning both sides were American Militia. The only British on the battlefield was Commander Patrick Ferguson, and 100+ regular troops.

Patrick Ferguson and the Events leading to battle

When Gen. Cornwallis invaded North Carolina, he imagined a clear path all the way to Virginia, and sent Patrick Ferguson to defend Cornwallis' left flank. He grabbed a handful of Tory soldiers, and a bunch of Loyalist militia, and set out for Western Carolina. On September 7th Ferguson arrived at Gilbert town, where he paroled a Patriot solider, sending him back to his militia with a message, "that if they did not desist from their opposition to the British arms, and take protection under his standard, he would march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders, and lay their country waste with fire and sword. "
This threat would lead to his undoing.
Enraged with the threat of being hanged and put to the sword, the patriot militia quickly rose to the challenge, and began their march to Kings Mountain.

Route of the Over-Mountain Men
Route of the Over-Mountain Men

The Search for Ferguson

On September 25th, 1780, Colonels Campbell, McDowell, Sevier, and Shelby left Sycamore Shoals in search of Patrick Ferguson. Their journey would take them Gap Creek Mountain, all the way to Toe River. Stopping to rest at Cathey's plantation, which is located between Grassy Creek and North Toe River, before they continued to march southward. After their rest, it's said that Campbell split the troops into two separate groups, having him and some men move southward towards Turkey Cove, it is said that Campbell and his men slept at a rich "Tory's" that night.

The following day the groups re-united at Quaker Meadows, along with Colonel Cleveland, bring the Patriots fighting force up to 1,400 men.

The Battle for Kings Mountain

Needing to make haste, the seven colonels elected Campbell to be Commander of the force. Campbell realized that if he did not act fast, he would miss his chance at Ferguson. He put around 900 men on horseback and made for Kings Mountain. They traveled through the night, and by the time the sun rose they were still 15 miles from Kings Mountain. They kept riding, until around mid-afternoon where they came upon where the loyalists were encamped and attacked.

Groups of 100 to 200 patriot men quickly surrounded the mountain, surprising Ferguson and his 1,100 troops who were stationed at the peak. No one was in charge once the firing started, everyone following the plan to attack and kill as many loyalists as possible. The Patriots would charge up the mountain, screaming at the top of their lungs, ducking behind cover and firing. Due to the steep decline the Tories were fighting upon, they would overshoot the Patriots, so instead they would put bayonets on their weapons and run a charge down the mountain. Having no choice but to flee, the patriots would sprint down, then sprint right back up, take cover, aim and fire, then sprint back down. The Loyalists had no where to retreat to, and did whatever they could to try and hold out. On one such charge, Colonel Williams was killed by the Loyalist militia, and Colonel McDowell was wounded.

After 60 minutes of combat, Tory causalities were heavy. Ferguson rode back and forth around the battle ground, blowing a whistle so he could signal his troops on when to charge. A troop of Patriots was able to sneak up and attack Ferguson's rear. At this point, the loyalists have decided it's time to start waving the white flags and run to their camp. This upset Ferguson so much, he drew his sword and started hacking down the white flags and chanting "Huzzah, brave boys, the day is ours!" He charged into the patriots group in an attempt to hack them down with his blade. Before he could raise his sword, he was shot seven times by Seviers men.