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undertook personally to visit the settlements of the disaffected to ■ the American cause and to train their young men for service in the field. With these, at a proper season, he was to join hislordship, who advanced with his army from Camden to Waxhaws about the 8th of September. Ferguson having collected a considerable body of troops, principally from new raised corps, was detached by way of Burke's court-house to manoeuvre through the northern parts of South-Carolina, and to join Cornwallis at Charlotte, of which place his lordship took possession on the 26th of September, but not without being opposed on his route by the North and South-Carolina militia. Major Davie also, with his volunteer corps of horse, which served the militia as »' van-guard, contributed considerably to annoy him and insult his power. Ferguson extended his route into Tryon county in NorthCarolina, and by proclamation, and threats induced many to join him. He had under him a considerable proportion of those li-centious people, who, having collected from all parts of America into' these remote countries, were willing to take the opportunity of the prevailing confusion to carry on their usual depredations. As they marched, they plundered the whig inhabitants. Violences of this kind frequently repeated, induced many persona to consult their own safety by flying beyond the mountains. By such lively representations of their fufferings, as the distressed are alway ready to give, they added to that alarm and terror, which the total route of Gates's army had spread through the most distant parts of North-Carolina. The people conceived that their security depended upon their taking arms, and keeping the war as far from home as possible. Ferguson was tempted to stay near to the western mountains longer than necessary, under the hope of cutting off Clark in his retreat from Georgia. This delay gave an opportunity for the junction of several corps of militia, which proved his ruin. Col. Williams of Ninety-Six pursued him with 450 horse. The inhabitants about the western parts (north of North-Carolina, and west of the Alleghaney and Virginia) voluntarily mustered under their respective colonels in the different quarters where they lived. Being all mounted, and unencumbered with baggage, their motions were rapid. Each man set out with his blanket, knapsack and gun, in quest of major Ferguson, in the same manner he was used to pursue the wild beasts of the forest.- At night the earth afforded them a.bed, and the heavens a covering: the running stream quenched their thirst, white a few cattle driven in their rear, together with the supplies acquired by theit guns, secured them provision. They were under the command-of colonels Campbell, Cleveland,. Shelby and. Sevier. Tks i fta^nv>t ■■ fcrst
first junction of these mountainers was accidental. Williams wait informed, on the 2d of October, by one express from Shelby^ that 1500 were upon their march, and by another from Cldvc= land, that he was within ten miles with 800 men. When thej? iiad all joined near Gilbevt-town, they amounted to near 3000i They- soon found out Ferguson's encampment. This was on ait eminence, of a circular base, known by the name of King's Mountain, situated near the confines of North and South-Caro~ Jina. It being apprehended that Ferguson was hastening his march down the country to join Cornwallis, the Americans selected nine hundred and ten of their best men, and mounted! them on their fleetest horses. With this force they came B^ with Ferguson on the 7th of October. Some dispute had arisen" about the right of command; but it was finally agreed to be given to Campbell. The enterprise however, was conducted without regular military subordination, under the direction- of Campbe:!, Cleveland, Shelby, Sevier and Williams, each of whom respectively led on his own men. As they approacke<f tiie royal encampment, it was agreed to divide their force. Some? ascended the mountain, while others went found its base in tip** posite directions. Cleveland, in his progress round with one of the detachments, discovered an advanced picket of the wyat troops. On this occasion he addressed his meft in the following language—" My brave fellows, we have beat the tories, and wer Can beat them; they are all cowards. If they had the spirit of men, they would join with their fellow-citizens in supporting the independence of their country. When engaged, you are notto wait forthe word of command from me, I will show ytwi? by my example how to fight, lean undertake no more. Every man must consider himself as an officer, and act from his owif judgment. Fire as quick as you can, and stand your ground zs long as you can. When you can do no better, get behind trees*" or retreat; but I beg of you not to run quite off. If we are repulsed, let us make a point to return and renew the fight. Perhaps you may have better luck in the second attempt than the first. If any of you are afraid, such have leave to retire, and they are requested immediately to take themselves off."
The firing commenced about four o'clock in the evening. The picket gave way, and were pursued as they retired up the mountain to the main body. Ferguson, with the greatest bravery, ordered his men to charge. The Americans retired from the approaching bayonet. Soon after these had retreated, Shelby, with the other detachment, having completed the designed circuit, opportunely arrived, and from an unexpected quarter poured in a well directed fire. Ferguson desisted from the pursuit,
and engaged his new adversaries. The British bayonet waj agai;i successful, and caused them also to fall back. By this time the party commanded by Campbell bad ascended the mountain, and renewed the attack from that eminence. Ferguson presented a new front, and was again successful; but all his exertions were unavailing. At this moment Cleveland's men, having been rallied, renewed their fire. As often as one of the A-« mcrican parties was driven back, another returned to its station. Ferguson's unconquerable spirit reiused to surrender. However, after having repulsed a succession of adversaries, pouring in their fire from new directions, this officer received a mortal Tffpund, No chance of escape being left, and all prospect of successful resistance being at an end, the second in command sued for quarters. The bloody conflict continued forty-seven minutes The brave major, with 150 cf his men,, fell in the action; 810, including regulars, were made prisoners, 150 of whom Were, wounded; the remainder, about 440, escaped. The whole Bumber of British regulars was short of 100. The Americans took 1500 stand of arms. Their loss of men killed in the field, amounted to about twenty; but they had a great many wounded. The distinguished militia officer who has been repeatedly mentioned, colonel.Williams, was mortally wounded. 'Major Ferguson was overseen in making his stand on the mountain, which being much covered with woods, gave the miIkia, who were all riflemen, the opportunity of approaching near with greater safety to themselves than if they had been upon the open ground. The major however, might have made good his retreat, if not with the whole, at least with a great part of his men, had he pursued his march immediately upon his charging and driving the first detachment; for though die militia acted with spirit for undisciplined troops, it was with difficulty that they could be prevailed upon to renew their attack,, after being charged with the bayonet. They kept aloof, and continued popping; then gathered round and crept nearer, till at length they levelled the major with one of their shot.
Ten of the men who had surrendered, were hanged by the conquerors. Colonel Cleveland had early given out, that if he caught certain persons, who had forfeited their lives by the laws of the land, he would execute them. Among those whom he doomed to execution was a militia officer who had taken a British commission, though he had before been in the service of the state. The British officers finding what.was to be the fate of the party, would have remonstrated. The colonel cut them short with—" Gentlemen, you arc British officers, and shall be treated*
accordingly; therefore give your paroles, and march off immediately; the other person is a subject of the state." The spirited mountaineers having demolished their enemy, returned home.
Lord Cornwallis was so confident of the success of his schemes, that he did not wait the arrival of major Ferguson at Charlotte, but advanced toward Salisbury, and obliged the militia, for security, to cross the Yadkin, and take post on its north bank; he was deliberate however, in his march. He halted short of Salisbury; and upon hearing of major Ferguson's fate, faced about and returned to Charlotte. About the 14-th of October he retreated to Wynsborough. This was the more needful, as major Davie's corps, being greatly increased, frequently intercepted his lordship's foraging parties and convoys. Riflemen also often penetrated near his camp, and from behind trees took care to make sure of their object. Thus the late conquerors found their situation very uneasy, being exposed to'unseen danger if they attempted to make an excursion of only a* few hundred yards from their encampment. As his lordship retired, the militia took several waggons, loaded with stores arid the knapsacks of the light infantry and legion, and single men repeatedly rode up within gun-shot of the army, discharged their pieces, and made their escape.
On the 10th of November lord Cornwallis wrote to gen. Smallwood—" I must now observe, that the cruelty exercised on the prisoners taken under major Ferguson, is shocking to humanity; and the hanging poor old col. Mills, who was always a fair and open enemy to your cause, was an act of the most savage barbarity. It has aiso been reported to me, that capt. Oates, of cil. Gray's militia, who was taken near the Pedee, was lately put to death without any crime being laid to his charge. From the character which I have heard of you, Sir, I cannot suppose that you can approve of these most cruel murders; but I hope you will see the necessity of interposing your authority to stop this bloody scene, which must oblige me, in justice to the suffering loyalists, to retaliate on the unfortunate persons now in my power. I am not conscious that any persons have hitherto been executed by us, unless for bearing arms after having given a military parole to remain quietly at home; or for enrolling themselves voluntarily in our militia, receiving arms and ammunition from the king's store, and taking the first opportunity of joining: our enemies. The only persons who were hanged at Camden, after the action of the 16th and 18th, except some deserters'from our army, were two or three of tire latter description, who were prcked out from about thirty convicted of the like offence, on *pcount of some particular aggravating circumstances which attended their case." Notwithstanding it was manifest that therewas a powerful party in the state, which was determined to oppose the establishing of royal government, yet to convince ^heinhabitants that the British were seriously resolved to remove from the country all who refused to become subjects, a further number of twenty-two citizens, who stiil remained prisoners onparyle, was shipped off about the 16th of November, for St. Augustine, to whom were added general Rutherford and coL. Isaacs, of North-Carolina, who'were taken near Camden in August. These were treated with more politeness than the first set< The only charge exhibited against them, as the reason of their exile, was, that "they discovered no disposition to return to their allegiance, and would, if in their power, overturn the British government."
Gen. Gates wrote to the president of congress [Oct. 16.]-— "The enemy have so far the worst of the campaign, having lost considerably more men, officers and arms than your army; and even lost ground, as they had several posts at the beginning of Jhe campaign on Pedce, all which are now evacuated." Gen. Smallwood having left Hillsborough to take the command at Saiisbury,the command of the brigade attire first place devolved on coL Williams; officers and soldiers were impatient for taking the fieid; every exertion was used; and the clothing being wrought up, old suits mended, and the blankets proportionably distributed, report thereof was made to head-quarters^ when the general gave orders for the brigade to march on the 2d of November, J-vith the artillery, ammunition and baggage, under the command df .Co]. Otho H. Williams. On the 8th the troops reached Salisbury, having marched 100 miles in less than eight days, upon three pounds and an half of Indian meal per man, and some beef. Having no tents, they were fortunate in a succession of fine days fill the fourth after their arrival. Gates had now done every thing in his power to repair the injuries of his defeat, and was endeavoring to recover as much territory to the United States, as the circumstances of the warin the southern departmentwould admit of, when he received advice from some of his friends, but from Jtio one officially, that congress had appointed an officer to supersede him, and had ordered a court of enquiry to be held on his conduct. He had even a very polite friendly letter from the president, of a, later date'than those which brought the information. I his .treatment by congress was neither liberal nor Candid. And jet severe'asit seemed to be, both in the manner and maiter, it
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