Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Sycamore Shoals Muster

Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River was a favorite rendezvous point for early settlers of northeastern Tennessee. In summer of 1776, the site was made a defensive strong point by the construction of Fort Caswell, later called Fort Watauga.
On 25 September 1780, a great muster of the militia was held, including forces from (present-day) Washington County, Tennessee, commanded by Col. John Sevier, and (present-day) Sullivan County, Tennessee, commanded by Col. Isaac Shelby. (These areas were then still a part North Carolina.) To this group was added several hundred militia from Washington County, Virginia, under the command of Col. William Campbell.
The purpose of the muster was to form an army to cross the mountains, join with Col. Charles McDowell's forces, and defeat the Loyalist forces commanded by British Maj. Patrick Ferguson. The resulting engagement, and ultimate Patriot victory, would become known as the Battle of Kings Mountain, fought 7 October 1780.
On 26 September 1780, after selection of the soldiers for the campaign, a sermon and prayer were given by the local Presbyterian minister, Rev. Samuel Doak.