Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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October 7th
Kings Mountain
October 7, 1780, brought the Battle of Kings Mountain, a fight Thomas Jefferson called the “turn of the tide of success” in the Revolutionary War.

By late summer 1780, British victories had convinced General Charles Cornwallis that the lower South lay under his control, and he marched north to subdue North Carolina. Along the way, he sent Major Patrick Ferguson, a hard-fighting Scot, toward the Carolina mountains to “keep alive the spirits of our friends.” But “Bull Dog” Ferguson stirred up Patriot spirits when he warned uncooperative frontier settlers that he would “march over the mountains, hang their leaders, and lay their country waste with fire and sword.”

Nine hundred men swarmed out of the mountains of present-day Tennessee, western North Carolina, and Virginia. Called the Overmountain Men because they lived “over the mountains,” they were every bit as hard-fighting as Ferguson. And they had no intention of bowing to any king.

The Overmountain Men, along with other Patriots from the Carolinas and Georgia, caught up with Ferguson’s Loyalist troops at Kings Mountain, a wooded ridge in South Carolina. Ferguson had the advantage of high ground, but the Patriots hid behind trees and rocks as they worked their way up the steep slopes. “I stood behind one tree and fired until the bark was nearly all knocked off,” one recalled. At the end of the brutal fight, over 300 Loyalists had been killed or wounded, and 700 had been taken prisoner. Ferguson lay dead with eight bullets in his body.

Told of the defeat, a shaken Cornwallis retreated south. The Overmountain Men shouldered their rifles and headed home. Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander in chief in North America, later called Kings Mountain “the first link in a chain of evils that followed each other in regular succession until they at last ended in the total loss of America.”

American History Parade
1765
The Stamp Act Congress meets in New York City to discuss colonial grievances against England.

1777
Patriots defeat the British at the Second Battle of Saratoga in New York.

1780
Patriot militia forces annihilate a Loyalist army at Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

1826
The Granite Railway, an early U.S. railroad, begins operation in Quincy, Massachusetts, with horse-drawn wagons hauling stone to build the Bunker Hill Monument.

1916
In Atlanta, Georgia Tech beats Cumberland College 222–0 in the most lopsided game in college football history.

2001
U.S. troops launch Operation Enduring Freedom, the campaign to destroy terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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