The American Revolution in North Carolina

Round Mountain

June 1776


Patriot Cdr:

Capt. Thomas Howard
Cherokee Cdr:

Unknown
Killed:

0
Killed:

Unk
Wounded:

Unk
Wounded:

Unk
Captured:

0
Captured:

0
Original County: 

Tryon County
Present County:

Polk County

aka Howard's Gap.

South Carolinians Capt. Edward Hampton and his brother, Capt. Preston Hampton had been sent on a mission to seek peace with the Cherokee nation. Instead of being welcomed as emissaries the Hamptons were held captive by the Cherokees and had their horses, guns, and a case of pistols taken from them.

The two brothers managed to escape and to return home. A short time later, Indian leaders came to the Hampton home and recognized Preston, their former prisoner. He did not trust the Cherokees and sent his children to warn the neighbors that the Indians were at his home.

Preston's father, Anthony, came out to talk to the Indians and as he was shaking hands with the chief, Big Warrior, another Cherokee fired and mortally wounded Preston. The Chief let go of Anthony's hand and drove a tomahawk through his skull. Another Indian grabbed their infant son and dashed him against the wall of the house. Anthony's terrified wife was killed with a tomahawk.

After this attack, the men of the nearby settlement met at the Bock House on the Pacolet River. They chose a 16-year-old Thomas Howard as their leader to exact revenge. An Indian boy named Skyuka guided Capt. Howard and his men to Round Mountain, where the Cherokees were celebrating their victory.

Capt. Howard pitched camp at the base of Round Mountain on the suggestion of Skyuka. When it became dark, several bonfires were lit and three men were left there with instructions to shout and yell as if they were having a big celebration. They were also instructed to quickly pass in front of the fire to make it seem as though there were many more men that just the three of them.

Then, Capt. Howard led the remainder of his men on a circular route and approached the Cherokees from the rear. These militiamen completely suprised the Indians and almost all were killed.

Skyuka was later captured by Loyalists and hanged from a sycamore tree at the foot of Tryon Mountain. There is now a stream there named Skyuka Creek. This engagement is also known as Howard's Gap, after the young man who led this fierce act of revenge.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Capt. Thomas Howard - Commanding Officer

Tryon County Regiment of Militia, with unknown number of men

Unknown number of Cherokee Indians

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