« ZurückWeiter »
plied to Clark* " If you have nothing further to offer, 1780» upon the return of the flag hostilities will commence, afresh." Brown expected to be relieved, which took place on Monday morning the 18th, by the arrival ot lieut. col. Cruger from Ninety Six, with a party of regular troops and militia, on the opposite- hill. By the. time Cruger had crossed the first os his people over the river, part of the garrison sallied out upon the Americans, and brought in two pieces of artillery and some prisoners, one of whom (Henry Dukes) was instantly hanged. Brown was wounded in both thighs at the beginning of the action. The loss was considerable on the side of the royalists; though more so on that of the Americans. When the last had left Augusta, the inhabitantswho had joined Clark, or were supposed to favor his design, were treated with the utmost severity (Brown, hanged about thirty) which has, greatly disgusted, and prepared the minds of the people for a determined revolt.
In consequence of measures taken by the governor and assembly of North Carolina, a small quantity of clothing was obtained ; and in a few days four companies of light insantry were equipped and selected from the line. The . remains of the first and third regiments of cavalry came to camp the ad of October, commanded by lieut. cols. ** Washington and White. On the same.day col. Morgan, who had been but a few days arrived, was invested with the command of the light troops, consisting of the cavalry under Washington, four companies of regular infantry under Howard, and a small body of riflemen from Virginia. Morgan had orders to march immediately toward Salisbury, and act in concert with the
1780. militia of North Carolina, whom the legislature had subjected to the command of gen. Smallwood.
While lord Cornwallis was restrained from active operations, by the excessive heats and unhealthy season which followed his victory at Camden, major Ferguson, of the 71st British regiment, 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 his lordship, 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 manœuvre 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 a van guard, contributed considerably to annoy him and insult his power. Ferguson extended his route into Tryon county in North Carolina, and by proclamation and threats induced many to join him. He had under him a considerable proportion of those licentious 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 persons to consult their own safety by flying beyond the mountains. By such lively representations of
their sufferings, as the distressed are alway ready to 1780. give, they added to that alarm and terror, which the total rout 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 sar 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 oppor* tunity 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 waters (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, while a few cattle driven in their rear, together with the supplies acquired by their guns, secured them provision. They were under the command os colonels Campbell, Cleveland, Shelby and Sevier. The first junction of these mountaineers wa* accidental. Williams was informed, on the 2d of October, by one express from Shelby, that 1500 were upon their march, and by another from Cleveland, that he was within ten miles with 800 men. When they had all joined near Gilbert-town, they amounted to near 3000. They soon found out Ferguson's encampment
1780. This was on an eminence of a circular base, known by the name of King's Mountain, situated "near the confines of North and South Carolina. 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 Oct. came up with Ferguson on the 7th of October. Some 7" 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 militarysubordination, under the direction of Campbell, Cleveland, Shelby, Sevier and Williams, each of whom respectively led on his own men. As they approached the royal encampment, it was agreed to divide their force. Some ascended the mountain, while others went round its base in opposite directions. Cleveland, in his progress round with one of the detachments, discovered an advanced picquet of the royal troops. On this occasion he addressed his men in- the following language— "My brave fellows, we have beat the tories, and we 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 not to wait for the word of command from me. I will show you by my example how to fight. I can undertake no more. Every man must consider himself as an officer, and act from his own judgment. Fire as quick as you can, and stand your ground as 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
ft point to return and renew the fight. Perhaps you may1"80* 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 picquet 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 was again successful, and caused them also to sall back. By this time the party commanded by Campbell had 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 American parties was driven back, another returned to its station. Ferguson's unconquerable spirit refused to surrender. However, after having repulsed a succession of adversaries, pouring in their fire from new directions, this officer received a mortal wound. 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 fortyseven minutes. The brave major, with 150 of his men, fell in the action; 810 including regulars, were made prisoners, 150 of whom were wounded; the remainder . Vol. III. H h about