Updated April 2, 2013
American Revolution in the South
Primarily the Years 1780 & 1781
The King's Mountain & Cowpens Campaigns
Mostly the Carolina Back Country
- Battle of King's Mountain, South Carolina, October 7, 1780
- Battle of Cowpens, South Carolina, January 17, 1781
- Ninety-Six (96), Strong Point in South Carolina's Back Country
- Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, Patriot Route to King's Mountain
- Gilbert Town, Strong Point in Western North Carolina
- Battle of Cane Creek (Cowan's Ford), North Carolina, September 12, 1780
- Battle of Allen's Mountain, Disputed Skirmish in Summer/Fall, 1780
- Battle of Pacolet River (Earle's Ford), North Carolina, July 14, 1780
- Battle of Musgrove's Mill, South Carolina, August 18, 1780, Defeat for Ferguson
- Charles McDowell, North Carolina Militia Leader Who Rallied Patriots to Pursue
Patrick Ferguson to King's Mountain
- William Campbell, Virginia Militia Leader Technically in Command at King's Mountain
- Isaac Shelby, the Patriot Mastermind of King's Mountain and Musgrove's Mill
- And Other People & Events, Yet Not Identified!
Focussed on the Carolina
backcountry during the American Revolution, this site deals with the
well-known events at the battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens,
as well as lesser known battles and sites.
The Web nest is open!
Death of Nancy Ferguson
The long-time historian of Rutherford County, North Carolina, Nancy Ferguson, died in 2004.
She worked very hard to gain recognition for Gilbert Town, the first county seat of her county, as an important
place in the Revolution. That she did accomplish before her death. While she was controversial, she was
dedicated to Rutherford County.
Joe Epley's A Passel of Hate is the first novel about King's Mountain
that is worth noting. His title alludes to the emotions driving the people of Rutherford County in choosing sides
in 1780. Joe did a solid job researching the King's Mountain campaign. He raised a number of questions
on accepted facts of the campaign. It is both a good read and an educational read. (This editor reviewed his text during the book's
development, carefully raising questions this editor could not answer!)
Anne Swann's The Other Side of the River is not fiction. It is a history of McDowell County, North Carolina,
in the colonial period and the Revolution. (Yes, Anne does include some dialogue she made up. These few passages
are clearly indicated.) This is a well-reserached book that brings a warm light on McDowell (then part of Burke
and Rutherford.) She particularly tries to straighten out the locations of the various forts around the Catawba River.
She also raises questions about the route of Campbell's men between Turkey Cove and Bedford Hill.
Items of interest are posted here on the Revolution in
the South or the history of the area. Interested organizations should
E-mail the editor with possible items.
Kings Mountain Campaign
The King's Mountain Campaign begins with the British
capture of Charleston,
South Carolina, in May, 1780, and ends with the release of the prisoners at
the end of the war. The main events cover the summer, fall, and winter of 1780-1781:
• Fall of Charleston
• Battle of Waxhaws
• Battle of Earle's Ford (Pacolet River)
• Cooperation of Georgia, South & North Carolina Militia
• Battle of Musgrove's Mill
• Battle of Camden
• Return of Shelby to West of the Mountains
• Ferguson's Invasion of North Carolina
• Battles of Cane Creek & Allen's Mountain
• McDowell's Flight West of the Mountains
• Formation of Overmountain Army
• Return on the Overmountain Victory Trail
• Ferguson's Retreat to King's Mountain
• Patriot Army's Assembly at King's Mountain
• Ferguson's Army at King's Mountain
• Battle of King's Mountain
• Trials at Biggerstaff's Old Fields
• Transport of Prisoners to Hillsboro, North Carolina
Of course, the end of the battle of King's Mountain also began the
Cowpens Campaign. When Cornwallis learned of King's Mountain, his
British army pulled back from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Winnsboro, South Carolina.
Nathanael Green, the new Continental Army Commander in the South, began to
try to regain the momentum in the south. Danial Morgan was sent
to march on Ninety-Six. That brought him and Banastre Tarleton to Cowpens
on January 17, 1781.
Here ae some items that are related to the Southern Campaign, but don't
fit easily into our main categories:
• The Patriot army and
Ferguson's British army at King's Mountain
• The death of Major James
Dunlap, one of Ferguson's Provincial officers
• General Griffith
• The "Rutherford
• The namesake of Gilbert Town, William
• Rutherford County's militia commander, Andrew
• African-Americans in the Southern
• Finally, Abingdon, Virgiia's, Mustering Ground and
Sycamore Shoals (in today's
Tennessee), the starting points for the trail that took the Patriot army to the battle.
Kings Mountain Celebration
It's easy to remember the date of the annual celebration of the battle
of Kings Mountain. It's always October 7th, the historic date. Awreath-laying by the Daughters of the American Revolution
and other organizations occurs at 11 a.m. The
commemorative program begins at 3 p.m., the same time the actual battle
began. There are activities all day, though,
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kings Mountain National Military Park. It's
the perfect day to tour the battle ridge. On the weekend nearest the historic date, There
are living history groups on hand to give a glimpse at 18th century life. Check the details on the
park's Web page.
Join us for lots of 1780!
Cowpens National Battlefield celebrates the battle on the Saturday
nearest the historic date, January 17th. There are
tours of the battle ground. Join us from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Yes,
plan to stay until after dark for the special lantern-light tour with
visits to the camps of partictpants in the battle! Living-history
groups portray the Patriot militia, the American Continental Line
soldiers, Loyalist militia, British regular soldiers, British commander
Banastre Tarleton, and American general Daniel Morgan, the participants
in the battle. Check the date and details on the park's Web page.
Ninety-Six National Historic Site does not have a quick, easy date
on which to celebrate the events there or the unsuccessful Patriot
siege. They do celebrate with talks, special displays, and living-history groups
dealing with Cherokee culture, the colonial life, as well as the militia and
regular soldiers who fought there. Check the date and details on the park's
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area Celebration
Sycamore Shoals is best known for the outdoor drama, Liberty, presented
over several weekends in July. In September, the Overmountain Victory Trail reenactors
stop there on their way from Virginia to Kings Mountain. Throughout the year, the park offers talks,
displays, craft activities, and living-history groups
dealing with Cherokee culture, the colonial life, as well as the militia men of what was western North Carolina and
is now Tennessee. Check the date and details on the park's
Revolutionary War Books
Need Books on the Revolution?
The Eastern National book stores at the parks offer many titles
that are hard to find elsewhere. And the best part is that the proceeds
go to the parks! You can shop locally
at the parks. The parks can also help you locate the item you need and take
Kings Mountain National Military Park: 864-936-7921.
Cowpens National Battlefield: 864-461-2828.
Ninety-Six National Historic Site: 864-543-2828.
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area: 423-543-5808.
Gilbert Town, the first platted town in the area, was the first
county seat of Rutherford County, North Carolina, when it was
formed in 1779. A log court building was erected by William Gilbert.
Anthony Allaire, one of Ferguson's officers, reported a dwelling, a barn,
a blacksmith, and several outbuildings at Gilbert Town.
Gilbert Town is most famous as the one place where both armies that
fought at Kings Mountain camped.
In September, Patrick Ferguson
moved across the nearby northern boundary of South Carolina to try to
suppress the militia units sheltering along the border. He left the
area about September 27th, taking a roundabout track to King's
Moutain, where he arrived October 6th, the day before the battle.
Patriot army arrived at Gilbert Town on October 4th, spending that night
on toward 96. Their roundabout route was through Cowpens, arriving
at King's Mountain at 3 p.m. on October 7th, the beginning of the
Throughout the Revolution, Gilbert Town was an important point in western
North Carolina, somewaht similar in importance to 96 in South Carolina.
A hospital was established there & wounded from Rutherford's
Cherokee campaign, Ferguson's campaigns, Kings Mountain, and Cowpens
were treated there. British (and Loyalist) prisoners from both King's
Mountain and Cowpens were brought to Gilbert Town. Both Banastre
Tarleton and Daniel Morgan passed through Gilbert Town.
Gilbert Town is a certified historic site associated
with the Overmountain Victory National
Historic Trail. In addition, properties in the area of Gilbert
Town are elligible for the Nationa Register of Historic Places, work
being done by the Rutherford County Historical Society.
More information is in material prepared by the Rutherford County Historian,
Nancy Ellen Ferguson.
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