Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Patrick Ferguson (1744–1780)

In 1780, the British Army sent General Lord Cornwallis to invade North and South Carolina. His mission was to defeat all American forces in the Carolinas and keep the two colonies within the British Empire. A key part of Cornwallis' plan was to recruit soldiers from local Loyalists. Towards this goal, General Clinton appointed Maj. Patrick Ferguson as Inspector of Militia in South Carolina. Ferguson's directive was to recruit Loyalist militia in the Carolinas and Georgia, and to intimidate any colonists who favored American independence.
After winning several victories over American forces, Cornwallis occupied Charlotte, North Carolina in the summer of 1780. He subsequently divided his army and gave command of one section to Ferguson. Ferguson's wing of Cornwallis's army consisted of Loyalists he had recruited. When Ferguson publicly threatened to invade the mountains beyond the legal limit on westward settlement unless the colonists there abandoned the cause of American independence, the mountaineers organised an army to fight Ferguson at Kings Mountain, an isolated ridge on the North/South Carolina border. On 7 October 1780, the two armies met in the Battle of Kings Mountain. The battle resulted a pivotal victory for the Patriots.
During the fighting, Patrick Ferguson was shot from his horse and killed. He was buried near the site of his fall. A lifelong bachelor, he was buried with one of his mistresses, "Virginia Sal", who was also killed in the battle. In the 1920s the U.S. government erected a marker at his gravesite, which today is a part of the Kings Mountain National Military Park, a unit of the National Park Service.
(source: Wikipedia)