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  • Writer's pictureMandy-Gentry

The Battle of Kings Mountain

Back in Bristol, TN, we visited the PEMBERTON OAK, where Raymond's 5x great grandfather gathered Patriot militia men to march to fight the Loyalists in what would become known as the Battle of Kings Mountain during the Revolutionary War.

Kings Mountain National Military Park is located in the very top of South Carolina, just over the North Carolina state line. The park does an excellent job preserving the site of this important battle. A 1.5 mile paved trail wraps its way around the battlefield. There are several signs and markers to help visitors understand the progression of the assault, and several graves are still marked with stones. Two large monuments stand at the top of Kings Mountain to honor the men that fought.

In 1780, over 1,000 militiamen gathered in what is now Tennessee to advance towards a Loyalist outpost in North Carolina. Since these men all came from west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, they were called the "Overmountain Men." Their foe, Major Patrick Ferguson, referred to this Patriot militia as "backwater banditi," and threatened to invade their countryside and hang their leaders. Perched atop Kings Mountain with 1/3 of the Loyalist soldiers in the south, Major Ferguson awaited reinforcements from Lord Cornwalis, and wrote that "all the Rebels in hell could not drive him from the summit."

On October 7th, the Patriots succeeded in encircling Kings Mountain without being spotted. With shrieks and whoops, they assaulted the hill. Many of the men fighting here were frontiersmen, with much of their experience coming from defending their homesteads. The brutal attack from the trees played in favor of the Patriots.

Major Ferguson was shot by several sharpshooters as he galloped through the smoke on his white horse. After his fall, the remaining Loyalists surrendered. In all, 290 men were killed, of which only 29 were Patriots. 74 sets of brothers and 29 sets of fathers and sons fought in the battle. This battle was fought almost entirely between Americans, their loyalties split between the two sides. Major Ferguson was the only Briton and his grave is still marked on the battle site with a stone cairn.

Although the battle only lasted for 65 minutes, Thomas Jefferson called the victory here "the turn of the tide of success" for the Patriots during the American Revolution.

This was one of our favorite stops so far. Not only was visiting this important site very moving and interesting, the walk around the battlefield was an enjoyable hike. We visited the trail everyday we were there, sometimes multiple times.

As part of school one day the kids all completed the junior ranger program booklet about the Battle of Kings Mountain to earn their certificate from the park ranger. Raymond and Pippa got in some stretching during school time as well.

While we were here, we stayed at the Kings Mountain State Park Campground just down the road and really loved it also. You can check out the post HERE!

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