Monday, January 11, 2010

Why Ferguson fought at Kings Mountain

     When Ferguson put out his decree to the Overmountain Men it was one of those moments of history that changed everything. By doing this he did the one thing that Clinton and Cornwallis did not want him to do, he set the Back Country in flame against the Crown. This flame burned so bright and fierce that the population rose up against Ferguson and his Loyalist militia with a vengeance of being insulted. Once Ferguson learned that the Overmountain Men were coming for him the hunter became the hunted and Ferguson had to make a decision to stand and fight or retreat back to Cornwallis with the Back Country in Flame and no advantage for the Crown secured on the frontier. After several days of intelligence coming to Ferguson he chooses to take his inexperienced troops back to Cornwallis near Charlotte. On his retreat from the back country he was dealing with inexperienced men on the march who had little if any military training or discipline. This resulted in a less than effective march to safety. As a result, Ferguson sent messages to Cornwallis asking for him to send him a relief force to help cover his retreat back to Cormwallis. This shows how inexperienced Ferguson felt his men were and that he wanted to get the men back unscathed if possible to save them for future operations. If like other militia they suffered a defeat early in service they would run and never return to the Kings banner.

Thus when Ferguson got to Kings Mountain he felt that Cornwallis who was a day or two away knew of his situation and request for immediate assistance. This was not true since Cornwallis did not have all of the messages that Ferguson had sent because of messengers being captured by patriots and other events that caused delays in their delivery. So once on Kings Mountain which local Loyalist had told him about, Ferguson felt he had a position he could hold for a few days till help arrived from the main army that he felt sure was already on the way to him.

Once on top of the mountain, he had three steep slopes for protection and 150 Provincial troops with the bayonet to help bolster his raw militia. He was against some rag tag militia who he felt could not launch a successful attack on his position and if they did attack  he could hold out until help arrived which he felt was near and on the way to his aid.

As a result of these events and the decisions of Ferguson, he is still on Kings Mountain today.


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