The American Revolution in South Carolina

Kings Mountain

October 7, 1780


Patriot Cdr:

Col. William Campbell (VA)
Loyalist Cdr:

Maj. Patrick Ferguson
Killed:

28
Killed:

157
Wounded:

64
Wounded:

163
Captured:

0
Captured:

698
Old District: 

Camden District
Present County:

York County

Maj. Patrick Ferguson was patrolling with a force of over 1,000 Loyalist supporters attempting to pacify the countryside. With violence and atrocities rising on both sides, 1,200 militia men, most from North Carolina but with some Virginians and South Carolinians, gathered to stop Ferguson and his troops. When Ferguson became aware of the large contingent of militia gathering, he decided it would be prudent to move back toward Cornwalis' larger forces.

The militia followed rapidly and, when Ferguson realized that they were overtaking him, he organized his defenses atop Kings Mountain, a wooded hill with a clear top. On October 7, 1780, the militia arrived at the base of the mountain and surrounded it. Soon they began scaling it on all sides. The Patriots had the advantage that the slopes of the mountain were very wooded, while the summit was not, exposing the Loyalist troops to attack by the concealed Americans. The defenders' losses quickly mounted and, when Maj. Ferguson was killed, the fight went out of the remaining soldiers.

Of the Loyalist troops, 157 were killed, 163 were severely wounded and 698 were captured. The Patriot militia lost 28 killed and 62 wounded.


One of the most important events recorded in modern history was the victory gained at the battle of Kings Mountain.

Lt. Gen. Charles Lord Cornwallis, commander-in-chief of the British army in the South, expecting the conquest of North Carolina to follow the recovery of South Carolina, spread his troops to repress patriotic movements, and quickened Loyalist zeal on the left wing of his army, with Maj. Patrick Ferguson, an officer with great energy and courage, in command of a large force headed toward the Alleghanies.

News of their movements was received in northwestern North Carolina and southwestern Virginia. Colonels Benjamin Cleveland, John Sevier, Isaac Shelby, William Campbell, McDowell, and twelve other leaders assembled their respective militia from the valleys of the Yadkin, Holston, Clinch, and New Rivers, and from Georgia and South Carolina.

The country had to rely mainly for its defense on the skill and military genius of brave commanders and the valor, firmness and integrity of the militia which had to get in readiness in quick time. The honesty of purpose, the appreciation of homes, the love of families, welfare of the community, the freedom from oppressive laws, the enjoyment and possession of the blessings and happiness of inherited rights, will ever remain as garlands crowning officers and soldiers.

These gallant officers and men assembled in readiness to march. Col. Campbell was placed in command. After a rapid march they met the enemy. Maj. Patrick Ferguson had taken a position on King's Mountain, near the line dividing North and South Carolina. Col. Campbell stated he had taken the British command by surprise, and before Maj. Ferguson could be reinforced, Col. Campbell and his brave home-defenders sat in their saddles thirty hours trying to catch Ferguson, with but few minutes intermission.

Arriving within a half mile of the mountain just after noon on October 7, 1780, they dismounted and trudged around the mountain in three contingents around 3 p.m. Then began a fierce conflict, with the Patriots being repulsed three times before they pressed their advantage. Maj. Ferguson made a daring attempt to break through the lines and was slain. One hundred and fifty of his bravest and best men fell before the mountaineers' unerring rifles and muskets. The survivors, eight hundred in number, surrendered after a fierce battle that lasted a little more than one hour.

Soon after the battle of Kings Mountain, nine (9) Loyalists were hanged. This battle was truly the turning point of the war. It crippled Lord Cornwallis' army and gave Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene time to get his command ready for action. The battle of Guilford Court House was fought five months hereafter, the British army essentially being damaged considerably. Lord Cornwallis surrendered to Gen. George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia in October of 1781.

Col. Isaac Shelby was originally from Maryland, and was with his father at the battle of Point Pleasant. He was the first governor of Kentucky in 1802 and again in 1812. Col. William Campbell was an officer of distinction and promise. He died young of fever, at Hanover Court House, Virginia, on his way to join LaFayette, before Yorktown. Col. John Sevier was of French descent. He was Governor of the transitory state known as Franklin and the first governor of Tennessee. Col. James Williams of South Carolina had just been promoted to brigadier general and it is not known for sure if he was even aware of his promotion before he was killed in this battle.


Based upon analysis of hundreds of Federal Pension Applications (FPAs), this is the "most probable" deployment of Patriot troops at the beginning of the battle of Kings Mountain. Contrary to early historians assertions, many more units participated than previously documented.

Known Patriot Participants

Known British/Loyalist Participants

Col. William Campbell (VA) - Commanding Officer

Washington County Militia (VA) led by Col. William Campbell, Maj. William Edmondson, and Adjutant John Reid, with nineteen (19) known companies, led by:
- Capt. David Beatty (from Rutherford County, NC)
- Capt. William Bowen's (sick) Company led by 1st Lt. Reese Bowen (killed)
- Capt. David Campbell
- Capt. John Campbell
- Capt. Andrew Colville
- Capt. Robert Craig
- Capt. William Dougherty
- Capt. James Dysart
- Capt. John Edmondson
- Capt. Robert Edmondson, Sr.
- Capt. William Edmondson
- Capt. John Hays (from Surry County, NC)
- Capt. Robert Kennedy
- Capt. William Love
- Lt. Thomas McCullough
- Capt. Samuel McCutcheon (Augusta County, VA)
- Capt. James Montgomery (Montgomery Co., VA)
- Capt. William Neal's Company led by 1st Lt. William Russell, Jr.
- Capt. Joshua Nichols (from Rowan County, NC)

Rockbridge (VA) Rifles - Col. William Bowyer

Wilkes County Regiment of Militia (NC), led by Col. Benjamin Cleveland and Maj. Joseph Harden, with the following twenty (20) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Richard Allen
- Capt. Daniel Bailey
- Capt. John Barton
- Capt. Thomas Biecknell (mortally wounded)
- Capt. John Brown
- Capt. John Cleveland
- Capt. Robert Cleveland
- Capt. Abraham DeMoss
- Capt. Jesse Hardin Franklin
- Lt. Martin Gambill (acting as Captain on behalf of Capt. William Nall who was sick)(wounded)
- Capt. Charles Gordon (wounded)
- Capt. Moses Guest
- Capt. Benjamin Herndon - with 60 men
- Capt. William Jackson
- Capt. John Kees
- Capt. William Lenoir (wounded) - with 6 men
- Capt. John Morgan
- Capt. Bethuel Riggs
- Capt. Thurman
- Capt. Walton

Surry County Regiment of Militia (NC), led by Maj. Joseph Winston and Maj. Micajah Lewis (wounded), with fourteen (14) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Joseph Cloud (aka Cloyd)
- Capt. James Giddings
- Capt. William Thrift Hughlett
- Capt. Samuel Johnson
- Capt. Joel Lewis (wounded)
- Capt. William Terrell Lewis
- Capt. Salathiel Martin
- Capt. Sam McDowell
- Capt. William Meredith
- Capt. Harrison Murray
- Capt. Joseph Phillips
- Capt. James Shepherd
- Capt. Henry Smith
- Capt. Minor Smith

Rutherford County Regiment of Militia (NC), led by Col. Andrew Hampton, Maj. James Gray, Maj. James Porter (wounded), and Maj. Robert Porter, with fourteen (14) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Adam Hampton
- Capt. Benjamin Harden
- Capt. George Ledbetter
- Capt. John McClain
- Capt. John McClure
- Capt. James McElhaney
- Capt. Ephraim McLean
- Capt. James Miller
- Capt. George Paris
- Capt. William Porter
- Capt. Thomas Price
- Capt. Moses Shelby
- Capt. Richard Singleton
- Capt. James Withrow

Burke County Regiment of Militia (NC), led by Maj. Joseph McDowell and Maj. George Wilfong, with twenty-one (21) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Robert Ballew
- Capt. Jonathan Camp (or Kemp)
- Capt. Edmund Fear
- Capt. John Harden
- Capt. Thomas Hemphill
- Capt. John Holmes
- Capt. Alexander Irvin (aka Erwin, Irwin)
- Capt. Thomas Kennedy
- Capt. Thomas Lytle
- Capt. Joseph McDowell
- Capt. Samuel Miller
- Capt. Robert Patton
- Capt. Adam Reep
- Capt. John Russell
- Capt. John Sigman
- Capt. Daniel Smith
- Capt. John Sorrel
- Capt. David Vance
- Capt. Patrick Watson
- Capt. Joseph White
- Capt. Samuel Woods

Lincoln County Regiment Militia (NC), led Lt. Col. Frederick Hambright, Maj. John Barber, Maj. William Chronicle (killed), Maj. Joseph Dickson, Maj. Francis McCorkle, and Maj Joseph White (from Burke County) (Col. William Graham went home sick just before this battle - some say he returned and was in the battle at the very end), with eighteen (18) known companies, led by:
- Capt. William Armstrong
- Capt. James Baird
- Capt. John Baldridge
- Capt. Samuel Caldwell
- Capt. John Carruth
- Capt. John Philip Dellinger
- Capt. Samuel Espey (wounded)
- Capt. John Hardin Hambright
- Capt. Malcolm Henry
- Capt. James Johnson
- Capt. Thomas Lofton
- Capt. Samuel Martin
- Capt. Charles Mattocks
- Capt. John Mattocks (killed)
- Capt. John Moore
- Capt. William Moore
- Capt. William Sherrill
- Capt. John Weir

Sullivan County Regiment of Militia (NC), led by Col. Isaac Shelby and Maj. Evan Shelby, Jr., with sixteen (16) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Thomas Caldwell
- Capt. Moses Cavett
- Capt. Gilbert Christian
- Capt. James Duff (from Lincoln County)
- Capt. James Elliott
- Capt. James Johnston
- Capt. William Johnston (from Lincoln County)
- Capt. John Martin (from Surry County)
- Capt. George Maxwell
- Capt. John Pemberton
- Capt. John Sawyer
- Capt. George Taylor
- Capt. Roger Topp
- Capt. Thomas Wallace
- Capt. David Webb
- Capt. Jonathan Webb

Washington County Regiment of Militia (NC) led by Lt. Col. John Sevier, Lt. Col. John Lewis, Lt. Col. Charles Robertson, Maj. Isaac Lane, Maj. Benjamin Sharp, Maj. Jonathan Tipton, and Maj. Jesse Walton, with twenty-six (26) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Jesse Bean
- Capt. William Bean (Rifle Company)
- Capt. Jacob Brown
- Capt. Joel Callahan
- Capt. Benjamin Clark
- Capt. William Cox (wounded)
- Capt. James Crabtree
- Capt. Finley
- Capt. Ning Hawkins (probable)
- Capt. Joseph Lusk (Rifle Company)
- Capt. Alexander Moore
- Capt. George North
- Capt. John Patterson
- Capt. James Pearce
- Capt. Thomas Preston (Rifle Company)
- Capt. George Russell
- Capt. Robert Sevier (mortally wounded)
- Capt. Valentine Sevier, Jr.
- Capt. James Stinson
- Capt. Christopher Taylor
- Capt. Waring
- Capt. Samuel Wear
- Capt. Samuel Williams
- Capt. James Wilson
- Capt. Elijah Witt (probable)
- Capt. Young

Rowan County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment, led by Lt. Col. Matthew Brandon and Lt. Col. John Hampton, with seven (7) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Brandon
- Capt. Thomas Cowan
- Capt. John Dickey
- Capt. James Houston (wounded)
- Capt. Peter Mull
- Capt. Richard Simmons
- Capt. Benjamin Smith

Mecklenburg County Regiment of Militia (NC) (probably attached to Lt. Col. Matthew Brandon above) detachment of six (6) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Conrad Hise
- Capt. James Ligert (aka Tigert)
- Capt. Magrath
- Capt. James Reese
- Capt. Thomas Shelby
- Capt. Zaccheus Wilson

Chatham County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment (either attached to Col. Benjamin Cleveland or Col. James Williams) of threee (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. William Gholson
- Capt. William Griffin
- Capt. John Hudgins

Guilford County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment of one (1) known company (attached to Col., James Williams), led by:
- Capt. Hugh Fabush

Granville County Regiment of Militia (NC) detachment of one (1) known company (attached to Col. James Williams), led by:
- Capt. William Bennett

Little River District Regiment (SC) detachment, led by Col. James Williams (killed), Lt. Col. Joseph Hayes, Maj. George Anderson (wounded), and Maj. John Moore, with thirrteen (13) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Mordecai Clark (Burke County, NC)
- Capt. Samuel Culbertson
- Capt. James Dillard
- Capt. John Douglas (Caswell County, NC)
- Capt. Thomas Duggin
- Capt. Samuel Ewing
- Capt. William Graham (Lincoln County, NC)
- Capt. Pendleton Isbell (Wilkes County, NC)
- Capt. John Jones
- Capt. John McMullen (Caswell County, NC)
- Capt. John Smith (Burke County, NC)
- Capt. Isaac White (Lincoln County, NC)
- Capt. Daniel Williams

2nd Spartan Regiment (SC) detachment, led by Col. Thomas Brandon, Lt. Col. James Steen, Maj. John Moore, and Maj. Thomas Young, with twelve (12) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Gabriel Brown
- Capt. Daniel Duff
- Capt. William Grant (most likely killed at KM)
- Capt. Benjamin Jolly
- Capt. John McCool
- Capt. John Putman
- Capt. Moses White
- Capt. William Young
- Capt. John Boyer (detached from 1st Spartan)
- Capt. John Collins (detached from 1st Spartan)
- Capt. William Smith (detached from 1st Spartan)
- Capt. William Taylor (detached from 1st Spartan)

Roebuck's Battalion of Spartan Regiment (SC) detachment, led by Col. Benjamin Roebuck, with eight (8) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Andrew Barry
- Capt. Ambrose Finnel
- Capt. Vardry McBee
- Capt. Major Parson
- Capt. George Roebuck
- Capt. James Smith
- Capt. Robert Thomas
- Capt. Moses Wood

New Acquisition District Regiment (SC), led by Col. Samuel Watson, Lt. Col. Andrew Love (wounded), and Maj. John Wallace, with seven (7) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Cunningham
- Capt. Robert Hanna
- Capt. John Hawthorn
- Capt. John Henderson
- Capt. Joseph Howe
- Capt. James Meek
- Capt. Joseph Smith

Turkey Creek Regiment (SC) detachment, led by Col. Edward Lacey, Lt. Col. John Nixon, Maj. John Adair, and Adjutant John Miller, with seven (7) known companies, led by:
- Capt. James Johnson
- Capt. John Mills
- Capt. John Moffett
- Capt. James Ramsey
- Capt. John Steel (aka Steele)
- Capt. James Syles
- Capt. John Thompson

Hill's Regiment of Light Dragoons (SC) detachment, led by Lt. Col. James Hawthorn, and Maj. Samuel Tate (Col. William Hill remained at the Cowpens since he was sick), with five (5) known companies led by:
- Capt. Jacob Barnett
- Capt. James Giles
- Capt. John Hollis
- Capt. John Kincaid
- Capt. William McKenzie

Fairfield Regiment (SC) detachment, with three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Samuel Lacey
- Capt. Edward Martin
- Capt. John Turner

Camden District Regiment (SC) detachment of three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. James Coiel
- Capt. William Goodwyn
- Capt. John Weathers

Upper Ninety-Six District Regiment (SC) detachment, led by Lt. Col. Robert Anderson, with three (3) known companies, led by:
- Capt. John Irwin
- Capt. Samuel Kerr
- Capt. Thomas Winn

Lower District Regiment (SC) detachment of one (1) known company, led by:
- Capt. John Walters

Lower Ninety-Six District Regiment (SC) detachment, led by Maj. Samuel Hammond with unknown number of men (Maj. Samuel Hammond probably served on the staff of Col. James Williams and had no men directly under him).

Clarke's Brigade of Militia (GA) led by Maj. William Candler and Maj. John Cunningham, with 30 men in six (6) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Patrick Carr
- Capt. John Clark
- Capt. Josiah Dunn
- Capt. William Hammett
- Capt. Richard Heard
- Capt. Stephen Johnson


Total Patriot Forces - ~1,200

Maj. Patrick Ferguson - Commanding Officer (Killed)

American Volunteers (Provincials) led by Maj. Patrick Ferguson, with 70 men, in four (4) companies, led by:
- Capt. Abraham DePeyster
- Capt. Charles McNeill
- Capt. Samuel Ryerson
- Capt. John Taylor

NC Loyalist Militia led by Col. Ambrose Mills and Maj. William Mills, with 450 men in the following units:

Old Tryon County Loyalist Militia (NC) led by Col. Ambrose Mills, with unknown companies

Burke County Loyalist Militia led by Col. Vezey Husbands, with unknown companies

Rutherford County Loyalist Militia (NC) led by Maj. William Green, with four (4) companies, led by:
- Capt. Aaron Biggerstaff
- Capt. James Chitwood
- Capt. Walter Gilkey
- Capt. Grymes

SC Loyalist Militia led by "Unknown" with 350 men in the following units:

Plummer's Regiment of Loyalist Militia (SC) led by Maj. Daniel Plummer, in six (6) companies, led by:
- Capt. James Campbell
- Capt. Alexander Chesney
- Capt. Philip Coleman
- Capt. William Gist
- Capt. James Shearer
- Capt. Robert Wilson

Col. Richard King's Regiment of Loyalist Militia (SC) detachment led by Capt. David Larimore

Col. John Hamilton's Regiment of Loyalist Militia (SC) detachment, Capt. Elisha Robinson's Company led by Lt. William Elliott

Zacharias Gibbs' Regiment of Loyalist Militia (SC) detachment led by Capt. William Young

Maj. Patrick Cunningham's Regiment of Loyalist Militia (SC) detachment led by Capt. William Cunningham, with two (2) companies, led by:
- Capt. William Helms
- Capt. William Payne

Col. Daniel Clary's Regiment of Loyalist Militia (SC) led by Capt. "Unknown,"

Col. John Cotton's Regiment of Loyalist Militia (SC) led by "Unknown", with six (6) known companies, led by:
- Capt. Bailey Chaney
- Capt. William Kirkland
- Capt. Denas Knowland
- Capt. Henry Rudolph
- Capt. Thomas Whitehead
- Capt. Hezekiah Williams

Wagoners - 10

Total Provincial / Loyalist Forces - 1,016

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