Patrick Ferguson

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The Tide of War Turned to Favor Independence of America

Americans were gathering to do battle that fall of 1780. The only problem was that those who were on the side of England and those who were in favor of independence were the forces who were gathering. It would be neighbor against neighbor, Patriots against Tories, Continental troops against British troops.

It would also be a “pay-back” battle. Colonials down in the southeastern parts of what later on would be called the United States had suffered at the hands of the British troops under Lord Cornwallis. In fact, if you were associated with the Scot-Irish Presbyterians in the south, you commonly had your pastor persecuted, their manses burned, their theological libraries destroyed, the congregation’s psalters thrown away, and wives and families left destitute. If you were on the other side of the skirmish with British troops, there would often be a “no quarter” order handed on, like at the Battle of Waxhaw.

So when the order came to gather, the patriots mounted their horses, said their farewells to their wives and children, and with their guns, rode to the designated spot. And who came but members from the Presbyterian congregations of the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia. Seven hundred and fifty Presbyterian patriots gathered at the designated spot.

Once there, William Campbell picked out the best of the men in a force of one thousand men.  These were individuals who had gained their prowess from fighting the Indians in their hamlets and towns.  Some were part of the regular Continental line.  They went in search of British commander Patrick Ferguson, who had settled down on King’s Mountain near the border of North and South Carolina.

Finding him camped there with eleven hundred loyalist troops on October 7, 1780, they surrounded the area and began to advance up the hill to begin the attack. Several times, the British loyalists would charge with the bayonet and push the patriots down the incline. But in the end of this short battle, the British could not defend their area, given the deadly sharpshooting of the riflemen. Commander Ferguson was killed and his entire force either killed or captured.

At several points, atrocities took place, committed by small groups of the patriot soldiers. But when patriot officers, many of whom were Presbyterian elders, arrived on the scene, such practices were halted. It was a complete victory over the forces of Britain, and a turning point in the Revolution. Cornwallis began to retreat, with the patriots of Mecklenburg with their long rifles, hitting the flanks of the army.

The tide of the American revolution was changed to the favor of the American cause.

Words to live by:  It is amazing how the Lord works through His spirit in the actions of His church.  At times all can be dark and dreary. It may seem as if His church is hanging on by the fingers in the great battles of righteousness. Then His people can gather, sometimes in desperation, and seek to be faithful to the cause and kingdom of Christ. And God will bring out a great victory to the glory of His name and the good of His people. We must simply be faithful to our God at all times. Faithful to His Word and will, is the condition of God’s blessings.

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