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able correspondence with the armed enemies of England; they were in consequence confined on board of prison ships, and afterwards transported to St. Augustine in Florida.

Among the prisoners taken in the late combats, many, it was discovered, had British protections in their pockets; these were deemed arrant runagates, ainenable to the penalties of the proclamation issued by Sir Henry Clinton on the 3d of June; they were therefore led forth from the provost and hanged, almost without the form of an inquiry.

These measures certainly were not in keeping with the character for moderation and benevolence usually given to Lord Cornwallis; but they accorded with the rancorous spirit manifested toward each other both by whigs and tories in Southern warfare. If they were intended by his lordship as measures of policy, their effect was far different from what he anticipated; opposition was exasperated into deadly hate, and a cry of vengeance was raised throughout the land. Cornwallis decamped from Camden, and set out for North Carolina. In the subjugation of that province, he counted on the co-operation of the troops which Sir Henry Clinton was to send to the lower part of Virginia, which, after reducing the Virginians to obedience, were to join his lordship's standard on the confines of North Carolina.

Advancing into the latter province, Cornwallis took post at Charlotte, where he had given rendezvous to Ferguson. Mecklenburg, of which this was the capital, was, as the reader may recollect, the "heady high-minded " county, where the first declaration of independence had been made, and his lordship from uncomfortable experience soon pronounced Charlotte "the Hornet's Nest of North Carolina."

The surrounding country was wild and rugged, covered with close and thick woods, and crossed in every direction by narrow roads. All attempts at foraging were worse than useless. The plantations were small and afforded scanty supplies. The inhabitants were stanch whigs, with the pugnacious spirit of the old Covenanters. Instead of remaining at home and receiving the king's money in exchange for their produce, they turned out with their rifles, stationed themselves in covert places, and fired upon

the foraging parties; convoys of provisions from Camden had to fight their way, and expresses were shot down and their despatches seized.


The capture of his expresses was a sore annoyance to Cornwallis, depriving him of all intelligence concerning the movements of Colonel Ferguson, whose arrival he was anxiously awaiting. The expedition of that doughty partisan officer here calls for especial notice. He had been chosen for this military tour as being calculated to gain friends by his conciliating disposition and manners, and his address to the people of the country was in that spirit: "We come not to make war upon women and children, but to give them money and relieve their distresses." Ferguson, however, had a loyal hatred of whigs, and to his standard flocked many rancorous tories, besides outlaws and desperadoes, so that with all his conciliating intentions, his progress through the country was attended by many exasperating excesses.

He was on his way to join Cornwallis when a chance for a signal exploit presented itself. An American force under Colonel Elijah Clarke, of Georgia, was retreating to the mountain districts of North Carolina, after an unsuccessful attack upon the British post at Augusta. Ferguson resolved to cut off their retreat. Turning towards the mountains, he made his way through a rugged wilderness and took post at Gilbert-town, a small frontier village of loghouses. He was encouraged to this step, say the British chroniclers, by the persuasion that there was no force in that part of the country able to look him in the face. He had no idea that the marauds of his followers had arrayed the very wilderness against him. "All of & sudden," say the chroniclers just cited, a numerous, fierce, and unexpected enemy sprung up in the depths of the desert. The scattered inhabitants of the mountains assembled without noise or warning, under the conduct of six or seven of their militia colonels, to the num ber of six hundred strong, daring, well-mounted, and excellent horsemen."*

These, in fact, were the people of the mountains which form the frontiers of the Carolinas and Georgia, "mountain men," as they were commonly called, a hardy race, half huntsmen, half herdsmen, inhabiting deep narrow valleys, and fertile slopes, adapted to grazing, watered by the coldest of springs and brightest of streams, and embosomed in mighty forest trees. Being subject to inroads and surprisals from the Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Creeks, a tacit

* Annual Register, 1781, p. 52.

ET. 48.]



was neither tent nor tent-equipage, neither baggage nor baggage-waggon to encumber the movements of that extemporaneous host. Prompt warriors of the wilderness, with them it was "seize the weapon-spring into the saddle-and away!" In going into action, it was their practice to dismount, tie their horses to the branches of trees, or secure them in some other way, so as to be at hand for use when the battle was over, either to pursue a flying enemy, or make their own escape by dint of hoof.

league existed among them for mutual defence, and there an officer appeared in the Continenand it only needed, as in the present instance, tal uniform of blue and buff, but most prean alarm to be circulated through their settle-ferred the half-Indian hunting-dress. There ments by swift messengers, to bring them at once to the point of danger. Beside these there were other elements of war suddenly gathering in Ferguson's vicinity. A band of what were termed "the wild and fierce " inhabitants of Kentucky, with men from other settlements west of the Alleghanies, had crossed the mountains, led by Colonels. Campbell and Boone, to pounce upon a quantity of Indian goods at Augusta; but had pulled up on hearing of the repulse of Clarke. The stout yeomen, also, of the district of Ninety-Six, roused by the marauds of Ferguson, had taken the field, under the conduct of Colonel James Williams, of Granville County. Here, too, were hard-riders and sharp-shooters, from Holston River, Powel's Valley, Botetourt, Fincastle, and other parts of Virginia, commanded by Colonels Campbell, Cleveland, Shelby, and Sevier. Such were the different bodies of mountaineers and backwoodsmen, suddenly drawing together from various parts to the number of three thousand.

Threatened by a force so superior in numbers and fierce in hostility, Ferguson issued an address to rouse the tories. "The Backwater men have crossed the mountain," said he, "McDowell, Hampton, Shelby, and Cleveland are at their head. If you choose to be trodden upon forever and ever by a set of mongrels, say so at once, and let women look out for real men to protect them. If you desire to live and bear the name of men, grasp your arms in a moment and run to camp."

The taunting appeal produced but little effect. In this exigency, Ferguson remembered the instructions of Cornwallis, that he should rejoin him should he find himself threatened by a superior force; breaking up his quarters, therefore, he pushed for the British army, sending messengers ahead to apprise his lordship of his danger. Unfortunately for him, his missives were intercepted.

Gilbert-town had not long been vacated by Ferguson and his troops, when the motley host we have described thronged in. Some were on foot, but the greater part on horseback. Some were in homespun garb; but the most part in hunting-shirts, occasionally decorated with colored fringe and tassels. Each man had his long rifle, a hunting-knife, his wallet, or knapsack and blanket, and either a buck's tail or sprig of evergreen in his hat. Here

There was a clamor of tongues for a time at Gilbert-town; groups on horseback and foot in every part, holding hasty council. Being told that Ferguson had retreated by the Cherokee road toward North Carolina, about nine hundred of the hardiest and best mounted set out in urgent pursuit; leaving those who were on foot, or weakly mounted, to follow on as fast as possible. Colonel William Campbell, of Virginia, having come from the greatest distance, was allowed to have command of the whole party; but there was not much order nor subordination. Each colonel led his own men in his own way.

In the evening they arrived at the Cowpens, a grazing neighborhood. Here two beeves were killed and given to be cut up, cooked, and eaten as quick as possible. Before those who were slow or negligent had half prepared their repast, marching orders were given, and all were again in the saddle. A rapid and irregular march was kept up all night in murky darkness and through a heavy rain. About daybreak they crossed Broad River, where an attack was apprehended. Not finding the enemy, they halted, lit their fires, made their morning's meal, and took a brief repose. By nine o'clock they were again on the march. The rainy night had been succeeded by a bright October morning, and all were in high spirits. Ferguson, they learnt, had taken the road toward King's Mountain, about twelve miles distant. When within three miles of it their scouts brought in word that he had taken post on its summit. The officers now held a short consultation on horseback, and then proceeded. The position taken by Ferguson was a strong one. King's Mountain rises out of a broken country, and is detacned, on the north, from inferior heights by a deep valley, so as to




resemble an insulated promontory about half a | having a bayonet among them. He had not mile in length with sloping sides, excepting on proceeded far, when a flanking fire was opened the north. The mountain was covered for the by one of the other divisions; facing about most part with lofty forest trees free from and attacking this he was again successful, underwood, interspersed with boulders and when a third fire was opened from another masses of gray rock. The forest was suffi- quarter. Thus, as fast as one division gave ciently open to give free passage to horsemen. way before the bayonet, another came to its relief; while those who had given way rallied and returned to the charge. The nature of the fighting-ground was more favorable to the rifle than the bayonet, and this was a kind of warfare in which the frontier men were at home. The elevated position of the enemy also was in favor of the Americans, securing them from the danger of their own cross-fire. Ferguson found that he was completely in the hunter's toils, beset on every side; but he stood bravely at bay, until the ground around him was strewed with the killed and wounded, picked off by the fatal rifle. His men were at length broken and retreated in confusion along the ridge. He galloped from place to place endeavoring to rally them, when a rifle ball brought him to the ground, and his white horse was seen careering down the mountain without a rider.

As the Americans drew nearer, they could, occasionally, through openings of the woodland, descry the glittering of arms along a level ridge, forming the crest of King's Mountain. This, Ferguson had made his stronghold; boasting that "if all the rebels out of hell should attack him, they would not drive him from it." Dismounting at a small stream which runs through a ravine, the Americans picketed their horses or tied them to the branches of the trees, and gave them in charge of a small guard. They then formed themselves into three divisions of nearly equal size, and prepared to storm the heights on three sides. Campbell, seconded by Shelby, was to lead the centre division; Sevier with McDowell the right, and Cleveland and Williams the left. The divisions were to scale the mountain as nearly as possible at the same time. The fighting directions were in frontier style. When once in action, every one must act for himself. The men were not to wait for the word of command, but to take good aim and fire as fast as possible. When they could no longer hold their ground, they were to get behind trees, or retreat a little, and return to the fight, but never to go quite off.

Campbell allowed time for the flanking divisions to move to the right and left along the base of the mountain, and take their proper distances; he then pushed up in front with the centre division, he and Shelby, each at the head of his men. The first firing was about four o'clock, when a picket was driven in by Cleveland and Williams on the left, and pursued up the mountain. Campbell soon arrived within rifle distance of the crest of the mountain, whence a sheeted fire of musketry was opened upon him. He instantly deployed his men, posted them behind trees, and returned the fire with deadly effect.

Ferguson, exasperated at being thus hunted into this mountain fastness, had been chafing in his rocky lair and meditating a furious sally. He now rushed out with his regulars, made an impetuous charge with the bayonet, and dislodging his assailants from their coverts, began to drive them down the mountain, they not

This closed the bloody fight; for Ferguson's second in command, seeing all further resistance hopeless, hoisted a white flag, beat a parley, and sued for quarters. One hundred and fifty of the enemy had fallen, and as many been wounded; while of the Americans, but twenty were killed, though a considerable number were wounded. Among those slain was Colonel James Williams, who had commanded the troops of Ninety-Six, and proved himself one of the most daring of the partisan leaders.

Eight hundred and ten men were taken prisoners, one hundred of whom were regulars, the rest royalists. The rancor awakened by civil war was shown in the treatment of some of the prisoners. A court-martial was held the day after the battle, and a number of toryprisoners who had been bitter in their hostility to the American cause, and flagitious in their persecution of their countrymen, were hanged. This was to revenge the death of American prisoners hanged at Camden and elsewhere.

The army of mountaineers and frontier men thus fortuitously congregated, did not attempt to follow up their signal blow. They had no general scheme, no plan of campaign; it was the spontaneous rising of the sons of the soil, to revenge it on its invaders, and, having

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