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King's Mountain, battle on

Maj. Patrick Ferguson was sent by Lord Cornwallis to embody the Tory militia among the mountains west of the Broad River. Many profligate men joined his standard, and he crossed the river at the Cherokee Ford, Oct. 1, 1780, and encamped among the hills of King's Mountain, near the line between North and South Carolina, with 1,500 men. Several corps of Whig militia, under Colonels Shelby, Sevier, Campbell, and others, united to oppose Ferguson, and on Oct. 7 they fell upon his camp among a cluster of high, wooded, gravelly hills of King's Mountain. A severe engagement ensued, and the British forces were totally defeated. Ferguson was slain, and 300 of his men were killed or wounded. The spoils of victory were 800 prisoners and 1,500 stand of arms. The loss of the Americans was twenty men. The event was to Cornwallis what the defeat of the British near Bennington was to Burgoyne. Among the prisoners were some of the most cruel Tories of the western Carolinas, who had executed the severe orders of Cornwallis. Ten of them, after a trial by “drum-head [257] court-martial,” were hung on the limb of a great tulip-tree. On the spot where Ferguson fell, a small monument was erected to commemorate the event, and to the memory of some of the patriots killed in the battle.

The defeat of the British changed the aspects of the war in the South. It awed the Tories and encouraged the Whigs. The mustering of forces beyond the mountains to oppose his movements took Cornwallis by surprise. It quickened the North Carolina legislature into more vigorous action, and it caused a general uprising of the patriots of the South, and suddenly convinced their oppressor that his march through North Carolina to the conquest of Virginia was not to be a mere recreation. Met by North

Monument on King's Mountain.

Carolinians at Charlotte, he was compelled to fall back to the Catawba, and his experience in that winter campaign was marked by great perplexities and disasters.

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