A celebration of the backwoodsmen from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia who marched to Kings Mountain and defeated a Loyalist force, resulting in what Thomas Jefferson called the turning point int he American Revolution.
Episode 31 - Battle of Kings Mountain Roundtable
Join Jonathan Bennett, David Biddix, and Rhonda Gunter, three of the contributors to the Footsteps for Freedom podcast, as they hold a roundtable discussion on the Battle of Kings Mountain and the Overmountain Men. The discussion will explore topics not featured in the regular program and also the three presenters will share their thoughts and opinions on their findings. There is a discussion of items not covered in the podcast plus trivia, and we close the discussion with a topic dangerous to most historians: a "what if" about the battle and those who fought it.
The questions discussed include:
What story or event sticks out in your mind the most?
Who was your favorite character/historical figure involved in the King’s Mountain campaign? Why?
Who was your least favorite character/historical figure involved in the King’s Mountain Campaign? Why?
Given all the research you’ve done, what new fact did you learn that interested you the most?
What do you think about the Tories?
What do you think about the brutal civil war nature of the fighting that was a hallmark of the Revolution in the Southern Backcountry?
Knowing these are real human beings with real human flaws is there anything in the Overmountain story that disappoints you? (Slavery and the treatment of the Native American tribes are obvious but besides that, Hanging the Tory prisoners at Biggerstaffs, Rumors that Ferguson’s corpse was desecrated, the efforts some of the officers took to discredit each other after the war, etc…)
What is your favorite place to visit on the Overmountain Victory Trail? Why?
Do you have a personal connection to the Overmountain story? Did you have an ancestors on the march? If so, who were they and what did they do?
Despite centuries of research there are still mysteries left to solve about the war. What unanswered question about the American Revolution in the Carolina Mountains would you most like to see answered? (Possible answers: the fate of Mary Burchfield, Rutherford’s raid through the Toe River Valley in 1776, where was the southern route the Overmountain Men originally planned to take from Yellow Mountain before the deserters left? Etc…)
Now let’s flex our historical imaginations a bit and discuss some alternate histories. If some key characters in the story took a different course of action, how would that have changed history? While we can never know for sure how these what ifs would have panned, I think it’s a useful exercise to think about just what was at stake.
What if Dragging Canoe heeded the advice of the British and did not attack the Backcountry settlements in 1776 and instead waited until 1780 to coordinate with the British offensive that summer?
What if Captain Shadrack Inman had not devised the plan that saved the Overmountain Men from disaster at Musgrove’s Mill?
What if Ferguson had immediately marched over the mountains and attacked the Overmountain settlements in September 1780 instead of just threatening to do so? In addition, what if he succeeded in capturing the Chiswell lead mines as Campbell feared?
What if the Overmountain Men responded differently to Ferguson’s threat, laid down their arms and swore allegiance to the King instead of continuing the rebellion?
What if Ferguson took advantage of his head start and made it safely back into the lines of the main British Army under Cornwallis at Yorktown?
What if Cornwallis received Ferguson’s messages in time and arrived at King’s Mountain in time to destroy the Patriot Army?
Episode 30 - In Conclusion
As we conclude our series on the Battle of Kings Mountain, we thought we would take some time to note a couple of veterans of the battle that ended up in the Toe River Valley, along with ones from other battles that are buried in our area.
There will be one more special episode available in the podcast feed only. A roundtable discussion featuring Jonathan Bennett, David Biddix, Rhonda Gunter, and Chris Hollifield will discuss the research behind the series, our picks for the most misunderstood character, those who weren't at all like we expected them to be, and other tidbits of history and trivia that we couldn't work into the program. Stay subscribed to our feed to receive this special episode which is coming very soon.
Episode 29 - Robert Sevier & The Walking Wounded
Sometimes the dead are the lucky ones. The weapons each side in employed during the Battle of King’s Mountain inflicted grievous and dreadfully painful wounds that the comparatively primitive state of medicine at the time could not always heal. There was no such thing as germ theory and pain-relieving anesthetics largely lay to a future generation to invent. Bleed, blister, vomit and purge were the four treatments employed by most doctors for basically all that ailed you. Today, we will learn that a famous name doesn't save you in battle and much, much more.
Episode 28 - The Aftermath
The thick clouds of black powder smoke that obscured Kings Mountain's battlefield began to lift revealing a scene of horror. Dead and dying men littered the ground. The groans of the wounded were heard in every direction causing one of Lieutenant Colonel William Chronicle’s men, James Potter Collins, to tear up and exclaim, “Great God! Is this the fate of mortals?” Learn more about the aftermath of the battle and the fate of Patrick Ferguson in today's episode.
Episodes 26 & 27 - The Battle of Kings Mountain (combined)
Night had fallen at the Cowpens on October 6th, but the camp of the Patriot army bustled with activity. Scouts had finally confirmed the location of British Major Patrick Ferguson’s army. It lay on King’s Mountain roughly 35 miles away to the northeast with Cornwallis’ main British army camp in Charlotte just an additional 30 miles beyond. They mount up 900 of their best riflemen and they ride through the night, arriving at Kings Mountain shortly aftern 2:00 p.m. on October 7, 1780 and the battle commences.
Our podcast feed features a combined episode so listeners can hear the entire battle in one sitting.
Episode 25 - The Cow Pens and Prelude to the Battle of Kings Mountain
The morning of October 5, 1780 finds the Over Mountain Men breaking camp at Gilbert Town and preparing for their date with destiny. Officers and volunteers both are beginning to feel the moment. This is IT. Ferguson and his troops could appear at any time and battle would be given.
Footsteps for Freedom