The results, immediate and remote, must be considered.
In his ‘Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World,’ beginning with Marathon
in 490 B. C., and ending with Waterloo
, in 1815, Creasy gives Burgoyne
's defeat at Saratoga
, where the Americans
largely outnumbered the British
, as the decisive battles of our Revolution, because it led to the French
recognition and alliance, which proved so opportune at Yorktown
Southern historians, with pardonable native pride, advance the claim of King's Mountains to the distinction Creasy accords to Saratoga
; and with much show of reason, because at King's Mountain
, the militia of the backwoods frontier of Southwest Virginia
and the adjacent country of Tennessee
, North Carolina
, to the number of 910, under such master spirits as Campbell
, Levier, Cleveland
, with their hunting rifles met and destroyed Cornwallis' advance guard under Colonel Ferguson
, composed of 1,016 of the flower of the British
army, equipped with muskets and bayonets.
Less than two thousand were here engaged and the battle lasted only an hour, but that hour was largely fraught with the nation's fate, in that it dispelled at once and forever, the fatal illusion that our colonial militia could not successfully contend with British regulars, and taught lessons infinite in value, and full of inspiration, to our struggle and dejected countrymen.
While none of the splendid triumphs achieved by Southern arms in the war between the States can be called ‘decisive’ in the sense, the terms applied to these battles of the Revolution, for the reason that the government for whose establishment they were fought, was finally overthrown, yet they will live in history forever as models of the highest attainment in the science of war; and in all the Southland, the names and deeds of its champions will be enshrined in the hearts of its people as long as men cherish honor and women love courage.
To understand a battle thoroughly, the train of events which led up to it, the circumstances under which it was fought, and what it accomplished, must be considered; or more briefly in the phrase of the military writers, the ‘Genesis or Prelude, the Battle, and the Results.’
Along these lines we shall try to describe Ball's Bluff, availing ourselves, largely, however, of the admirable history written by Colonel E. V. White
and dedicated to the Loudoun Chapter
of the U. D. C., for the benefit of the monument to the Loudoun soldiers.