Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ramsour's Mill, per Graham

from The Battle of Ramsaur's Mill, June 20, 1780, by William A. Graham, 1904, Major on Staff of Adjutant General of North Carolina (excerpts):

    ... Lord Cornwallis' plan of campaign was to move with the main body of regulars by a central route through Charlotte and Salisbury, and to send a small force under a competent commander to his right to organize his friends in the upper Cape Fear section, and another force to his left to embody the adherents of Britain in upper South Carolina and in Tryon County, North Carolina; to reinforce his main army and also to protect his outposts from the attacks of NC Militia Colonels McDowell, Cleveland and others aided by the "over the mountain men," as those beyond the Blue Ridge were called.
    In those days there were no post offices or country stores for the congregating of the people. The flouring mills were the points of assembling, and the roads usually named for the mills to which they led.
    The German population in North Carolina, who mostly came here from Pennsylvania, were, during the Revolutionary War, generally favorable to Great Britain.
    After the battle of Alamance, Governor Tryon wrote the Secretary of State that the counties of Mecklenburg, Tryon, and western Rowan beyond the Yadkin River were contemplating hostilities and that he had sent General Wadell with the militia of those counties and some other troops to require the inhabitants to take the oath of allegiance. One of the points at which they were assembled for this purpose was Ramsaur's Mill.
    General Griffith Rutherford, Colonel Neal [sic, Neel], Captains Alexander, Shaw, and others were at that time officers of the militia.
    In some instances this was a fight between neighbors and kindred,... In the thickest of the fight a Dutch Tory, seeing an acquaintance, said: "How do you do, Pilly? I have knowed you since you was a little boy, and never knew no harm of you except you was a rebel." Billy, who was out for business and not to renew acquaintance, as his gun was empty, clubbed it and made a pass at his friend's head, who dodged and said: "Stop! Stop! I am not going to stand still and be killed like a damn fool, needer," and immediately made a lick at Billy's head, which he dodged. A friend of Billy whose gun was loaded put it to the Dutchman's side and shot him dead.
    The troops engaged, except Reep of Lincoln, and Major Wilson, Captains Knox and Smith of Mecklenburg, were from (what to 1777 had been) Rowan County. The officers' surnames were found among the militia officers of the county in the proceedings of the "Committee of Safety," of which many of them were members.
    This was a battle between the ancestors of the North Carolina Confederate soldier,...
    This battle is but little known in history, yet is one of the most important in results and best-fought of the American Revolution. King's Mountain and Ramsaur's Mill at that time were both in Lincoln County, and not twenty miles apart. If Moore had obeyed Lord Cornwallis, and delayed organization until Ferguson advanced, he could have reinforced him with two thousand men. If the Whigs had been defeated matters would have been in even worse condition. Ramsaur's Mill was the first and most important "act" in King's Mountain. It destroyed Toryism in that section and caused Bryan, with his followers, to leave the "forks of the Yadkin" and not return until Cornwallis came.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The OverMountain Men, September 1780:

Despite fears of a possible ambush, the patriots crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains safely on September 29. The two units, into which the volunteer army was divided, passed, respectively, through Gillespie Gap and what is believed to have been McKinney's Gap. Shortly afterwards, they were reunited at Col. Charles McDowell's plantation, at Quaker Meadows, near the present site of Morganton, N. C. Here they rested during the evening of September 30. ...

The arrival of Cleveland and Winston on September 30 and the night of pleasant relaxation at the McDowell home raised the spirits of the mountain men. The following day, October 1, they continued their southward march to a gap of South Mountain near the headwaters of Cane Creek. Here they camped during inclement weather through October 2.
While the men rested, the leaders of the expedition met in an evening council to review the progress of the march. First, measures were adopted to correct disorders in the columns resulting from the weariness of the march. More important, however, was the election of Col. William Campbell to serve as temporary commander of the combined volunteer units. In recognition of Col. Charles McDowell's seniority, he was entrusted on October 1 with a mission to General Gates' headquarters to request a permanent commander. He was instructed to ask for the assignment of either Gen. Daniel Morgan or Gen. William Davidson of the American Continental Army. McDowell's regiment was turned over to his brother, Maj. Joseph McDowell.

(excerpts from Historical Handbook Number Twenty-Two, 1955, Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C.)

Isaac Shelby to William Hill, 1814:

The seat of Government
of Kentucky, March 4th, 1814

Dear Sir
I have to acknowledge receipt of your favor of the 7th of January last, which came to hand only four days ago. And now haste to answer it, by the first Southern Mail.
You inform me that you are about to write the history of the Battle of Kings Mountain, and several others, that were faught in So. Carolina, and you request such information as I can give you.
My antient private papers are all at my farm fifty miles from this place and owing to my official duties here I may not have it in my power to go to my farm under two or three months– But I can inform you that I have documents, and data, in my possession, which will afford a more detailed account of the action at Kings Mountain, and the causes that led to that event, than can be given by any other man alive.
I will communicate them to you, as soon as I can spend a few days at home and also of the action faught at Ceder Spring, near Warfords Iron Works, in July 1780, of the taking of the British fort, on Thicketty, in the same month, and of the action at Musgroves Mill on the Enoree River, in August of the same year, & of the reduction of a British post at Colliton Hall, near Monks Corner in Nov. 1781, at all of which I was an eye witness.
You are very correct when you say that "Historians & those who have wrote of the Revolution, either through want of information or design have given a very erroneous account of those events etc." of the action on Kings Mountain. I have seen no history any thing like the truth.
The case which you state of "Col. Williams having robbed Major McDowell of the credit of reducing a post of the Enemy" must I presume allude to the battle faught at Musgroves Mill on the Enoree river, on the 19th of August, 1780, for I recollect of none other from whence prisoners were taken to Hilsborough– I commanded the right wing in that action, and Col. Elija Clarke of Georgia the left– there were many field officers in the action who had volunteered their services from McDowell's camp, at Smith's ford of Broad river of which Col. Williams was one who had a few men who always adhered to him. His object was, if the enterprise succeeded, to reach his own home somewhere near Ninety Six but in which he was disappointed by the rapid and Mariculous retreat we were forced to make from the field of battle on account of an express from Col. McDowell informing us of the defeat of he Grand Army, under General Gates near Camden. Our retreat was up towards the mountains and along them into No. Carolina from whence I crossed over the western waters where I lived ; left the prisoners we had taken in the action with Col. Clarke who I understood consigned them to the care of Col. Williams to take to Hilsborough in No. C.
I understood afterwards he did, and arrogated to himself the sole honor of Commanding the action in which they had been captured.

Be so good to acknowledge the receipt of this letter and let me now what direction to give a letter, to reach you more certainly. One directed to me at this place will come safe to hand & I shall expect a line from you before I write you again.

Very respectfully,
Your most Ob. servant,
Isaac Shelby

William Hill, Esq.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Allaire's Diary, 12 Apr 1780, excerpt:

Wednesday, 12th. Received orders to march. The North Carolinians were ordered to join Col. Ferguson.

Allaire's Diary, 8 Apr 1780, excerpt:

Saturday, 8th. ... About four o'clock this afternoon the fleet hove in sight, coming up under full sail with a fresh breeze at south west, and passed Fort Moultrie--the Rebel fort that they boasted of on Sullivan's Island, which no fleet could ever pass.

Allaire's Diary, 3 Apr 1780:

Monday, 3d. Marched to Ashley Ferry to cover the Dragoons of the Legion whilst crossing the river. Marched from this up the river to Henry Middleton's plantation; passed several famous country seats, one called Drayton's Hall, belonging to William Henry Drayton, deceased, who was a member of Congress, and died at Philadelphia. Constant firing at our works from the Rebels all day.

Allaire's Diary, 23 Mar 1780:

Thursday, 23d. All the army, except the Seventy-first regiment, and greatest part of the baggage, crossed the river in boats and flats, the bridge being destroyed. Col. Tarleton came up with a party of Rebel militia dragoons, soon after crossing the river at Gov. Bee's plantation. He killed ten, and took four prisoners. Gov. Bee was formerly Lieut. Gov. under His Majesty, is now one of the members of Congress, and Lieut. Gov. of South Carolina.

Loyalist Lieutenant Anthony Allaire

Lt. Anthony Allaire was a New York-born Loyalist (Tory) whom British Col. Patrick Ferguson brought south when the latter was seconded to the South Carolina campaign. According to Draper, he was of Huguenot descent, born at New Rochelle in Westchester County, New York on 22 Feb 1755, and commissioned a Lieutenant in the Loyal American Volunteers where he served as Adjutant in Ferguson's corp during the seige of Charleston, at Monks' Corner, and in the up-country of North and South Carolina, including at King's Mountain. He removed to New Brunswick, Canada in 1783 and died on his farm near Frederickton on 9 Jun 1838, "leaving a daughter who intermarried with Lieutenant John Robinson of the army."

(info from: http://www.tngenweb.org/revwar/kingsmountain/allaire.html)

Allaire's Diary, 21 Mar 1780, excerpt:

Tuesday, 21st. The army got in motion. Marched to Fish Pond river. Here we were detained to repair the bridge till evening. Before we crossed we moved on about three miles, through a swamp, over an exceeding bad causeway. This day Col. Tarleton, with his dragoons, joined us from Beaufort, where he had been to get horses—his being all lost on the passage from New York.

Allaire's Diary, 20 Mar 1780, excerpt:

Monday, 20th. The army got in motion, marching about two miles. Received orders to halt, the rear guard being fired on ; it proved to be the York Volunteers, getting the boats on the carriages at the river, were fired on by a skulking party of rascals on the other side of the stream.

Lt. Anthony Allaire's Diary, 14 Mar 1780, excerpt:

Tuesday, 14th. Found several horses, a quantity of furniture, Continental stores and ammunition, hid in a swamp by one John Stafford, a sort of Rebel commissary who lives at Coosawhatchie, and is, by the by, a cursed fool, which alone prevents his being a damned rogue.

Friday, March 13, 2009

George Mason (1725-1792), re "natural rights":

from the Virginia Declaration of Rights, May 1776:

“... That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Rights… among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.”