My husband and I are beginning new adventures. We both love history–particularly American history and decided to visit as many local battlefields as we can. I just wished that I had taken more photos. My habit is to take in all the views slowly while my husband walks ahead of me. Normally, I have to run to catch up. I try to see the site the way those men would have seen it on that cold winter day, January 17, 1781. The leaders were Daniel Morgan and Lt. Col Banastre Tarleton. The museum showed a short film describing the attack and eventual American victory here over Tarleton’s forces. 135 men died that day, only 25 of them Patriots.
My husband is walking on the new road, but to the right here is a photo of an older road. This area was used before the battle as a place to rest and fatten cattle that was being driven from the Carolina to Charleston to market. It has beautiful open spaces, normally not a perfect site for a battle, but back then it also had tall wild grasses and native bamboo with mature hardwoods (old forest) on the edge of a river. It was a perfect place for the Patriot fighters who were good at backwoods hunting and survival. The orders were that each man (being just citizen soldiers) was to shoot two times and then he could leave and go home. Even though they were slightly confused in line, the British were taken by surprise when they found themselves surrounded on three sides. About 800 men were captured that day. Lt. Col. Tarleton got away.
Next, we drove to Kings Mountain National Battlefield. It has a museum with stations that one can enter to see and hear a description of the battle that occurred there in addition to great book selection in the gift shop. The trail has a telephone number that hikers can dial to receive specific information about each station.
The hill side is a typical Appalachian forest on a mountain top–familiar territory to the squirrel and deer hunters of the day. This battle took place on October 7, 1780.
Our Patriot forces surrounded the Loyalists and defeated them–surrounding them from the bottom of the mountain to the top. Even though the Loyalist troops had skills in the art of bayonet warfare (frightening the men who fought for freedom), the commanding officers had them charge ahead and snipe at the soldiers between hiding behind rocks and trees. Hundreds of men died–320 or so–and many of them were buried on that mountain where they lay. Simple rocks were used to mark their graves. This was a bitter battle for many families had split loyalties in their own families where one brother served as a loyalist and the other a patriot. After the battle, the Patriots left quickly to avoid Cornwallis’s advance. Trials were held convicting many loyalists of treason, desertion, and inciting Indian rebellion. I consider this entire site a graveyard painted in sadness.