Recently, the Chautau-qua County Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution heard a talk from Chapter President Steve Boothe about the Battle of King's Mountain, which occurred in the fall of 1780.
The British Army, under the leadership of General Charles Cornwallis pursued a strategy of winning the southern colonies, because it was assumed they would have support from more Loyalists and Tories there. The British Army pressed for the advantage after the victory at Camden. Under orders to deal with the region, British Major Patrick Ferguson allegedly declared he "defied God Almighty and all the rebels out of Hell to overcome him." Scots-Irish, over-the-mountain patriots weren't likely to be intimidated by such bravado, and realized the importance of defending the country from Ferguson's advances.
The patriot, over-the-mountain men were led by some seven colonels, including Isaac Shelby, John Sevier, Charles McDowell, William Campbell, and others.
Front row, from left: Addison Lawson, Celia Sumner, Doug Arters; back row: Jeff Crossley, Jim White, Ben Lewis.
Pictured from left: Doug Arters, Steve Boothe, Don Hall, Don Ahlstrom, Jeff Crossley.
Initially, the Patriot attack, started by Col. Campbell's men, was repelled by Ferguson's men, who held the advantage. Then Col. Shelby's troops attacked, making use of shrubs, rocks and trees for cover, fighting Indian style. The Loyalist troops had been trained to fight in the European linear tradition of bulk musket fire, which failed to achieve its goal. The Loyalists often times fired their weapons over the heads of the patriots, who slowly worked their way up the mountain. And, the smoke and unconventional fighting style confused the Loyalists.
The Patriots slowly gained the advantage. Finally, Ferguson attempted a last-attempt charge down the hill, but was struck by 7 or 8 bullets. His burial was atop the mountain.
The British Loyalists suffered 244 killed, 163 injured and 688 captured. Though not a major battle compared to Saratoga, it contributed to the eventual downfall of Cornwallis, who surrendered his British Army to General George Washington's Franco-American Army in Oct. 1781 at Yorktown, Va., which brought an end to further major battles.
In other business, Boothe provided a brief overview of a new SAR program called Operation Ancestor Search, designed to assist wounded veterans.
Doug Arters talked briefly about two paintings, one depicting the Rev. Robert Hunt and the Virginia settlers engaged in a Thanksgiving service on Cape Henry in April 1607. Hunt did not survive long at the new settlement of Jamestown, Va. and many of the settlers succumbed to disease and malnutrition. Hunt was replaced by the Rev. Alexander Whittaker, who later baptized Pocahontas into the Christian faith. The Rev Richard Buck performed the wedding ceremony of John Rolfe and Pocahontas.
The second painting depicts Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry who defeated the British Navy on Lake Erie on Sept. 10, 1813, during the War of 1812. A replica of Perry's ship, the US Niagara, may be toured at the Erie Maritime Museum.
Recently, the SAR marching unit won 3rd place at the Ellington parade, and will march in the upcoming Aug. 30 parade at Cassadaga, meeting at 3:30 p.m.
The next SAR meeting is scheduled for Oct. 4, 10 a.m. at the Chatterbox Restaurant, Greenhurst. Member Jeff Crossley is scheduled to give a talk about his experiences as a justice-of-the-peace. For more information, please call Boothe at 574-7995.