xt7n028pct9b https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7n028pct9b/data/mets.xml Henderson, Archibald, 1877-1963. 1918  books b92-133-29323835v2 English North Carolina Society, : Raleigh, N.C. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Shelby, Isaac, 1750-1826. North Carolina History Revolution, 1775-1783. Isaac Shelby  : revolutionary patriot and border hero (vol. 2) / by Archibald Henderson. text Isaac Shelby  : revolutionary patriot and border hero (vol. 2) / by Archibald Henderson. 1918 2002 true xt7n028pct9b section xt7n028pct9b 


       Revolutionary Patriot and
              Border Hero

            PART I-1780-1783

Mtmbet Americrfr F-igoricnl Asmoclation. MiAMIAqippi Valley Historical
      Aseociation. Ohio Valley Historical Association. Etc.













Vol. XVIII            JULY, 1918                 No. 1



    "Carolina! Carolina! Heaven's blessings attend her!
    While we live we will chierivs4 protect and defend her"

                      Publiphed by

 The object of THE BOOKLET is to aid in developing and preserving
North Carolina History. The proceeds arising from its publication
will be devoted to patriotic purposes.        EDITOR.

                 PRINTERS AND BINDERS



DL D. H. HiLL.

      DR. KEMP P. BATaLE.
      MAJoR W. A. GRAHAM.

               MRs. E. E. MOFFITT.


Regent, Faison.
MRs. E. E. MOFFITT, Honorary
Regent, Richmond, Va.
Honorary Regent Raleigh
1st Vice-Regent Raleigh
MRS. PAUL H. LEE, 2d Vice
Regent, Raleigh.
MRS. GEORGE P. PELL, Recording
Secretary, Raleigh.
sponding Secretary, Faison.

Miss GEORGIA HICKS, Historian,
Treasurer, Raleigh.
Mus GEORGE RAMSEY, Registrar,
MRS JOHN E RAY, Custodian of
Relics Raleigh
Executive Secretary, Raleigh.
Genealogist, Edenton.
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                  CHAPTER REGENTS
Bloomsbury Chapter -      ---------    MRs. PAUL H. LEE,
Penelope Barker Chapter----------------------------------
Sir Walter Raleigh Chapter      - - _-_----MRS. I. M. MEEKINS,
General Francis Nash Chapter------Miss REBECCA CAMERON,
Roanoke Chapter -__ --_-         MRS. F. M. ALLEN,
Mary Slocumb Chapter_-________------Miss GEORGIA HICKS,
Colonel Thomas Robeson Chapter----------MRs. ANNIE BUIE,
Tuscarora Chapter- -_____-________-__ MRS. C. H. HUNTER,


              MaS. SPIER WHITAKER.
                    REGENT 1902:
                MmS. D. H. HILL, SB.t
                  REGENT 1902-1906:
              Mims. THOMAS K. BRUNER.
                  REGENT 1906-1910:
                  MRS. E. E. MOFFITT.
                  REGENT 1910-1917:
Died November 25, 1911.
tDied December 12.1904.


    The North Carolina Booklet

Vol. XVIII           JULY, 1918                  No. 1

                 ISAAC SHELBY
          Revolutionary Patriot and Border Hero

                 PART II-1780-1783
                 By ARCHIBALD HENDEBSON

  At the appointed time. September 25 the several forces
united at the rendezvouls, already rendered famous by the
great treaty held by Colonel Richard Henderson with the
Cherokees there in March 177T the Sycamore Shoals of the
Watauga. Hither came Colonel William Campbell with two
hundred men, Colonel Arthur Campbell with two hundred
men, Colonel Isaac Shelby and Lieutenant-Colonel John Se-
vier with two hundred and forty men each-uniting with the
force of one hundred and sixty men under Colonel Charles
McDowell and Major Joseph McDowell, who had been en-
camped there for some time. An "express" sent by Colonel
William Campbell from Washington County, Virginia, had
already notified Colonel Benjamin Cleveland of Wilkes
County, North Carolina, of the plan; and Cleveland was also
urged by an "express" from Colonel McDowell to join the
''over-mountain men" on the east side of the mountains with
as large a force as he could raise.
  The task of raising funds to equip the forces of Shelby and
Sevier, and to defray the expenses of the campaign was an
extremely difficult problem. The settlers generally had ex-
pended their available money for their lands; and so the only
available funds were in the hands of the Entry-taker of Sulli-
van County, John Adair. When Sevier applied to him for



the money needed to defray the expenses of the military expe-
dition, Adair replied:

  Colonel Sevier, I have no authority by law to make that disposition
of this money. It belongs to the impoverished treasury of North
Carolina, and I dare not appropriate a cent of it to any purpose.
But, if the country is over-run by the British, liberty is gone. Let the
money go too. Take it. If the enemy, by its use, is driven from the
country, I can trust that country to justify and vindicate my conduct.
Take it.

  For this indispensable sum, amounting to twelve thousand
seven hundred and thirty-five dollars, Shelby and Sevier
pledged themselves to see it refunded or its use legalized by
an act of the Legislature; and this recognizance was after-
wards scrupulously fulfilled.1
  It seemed to the enemy that the over-mountain men had
been assembled as if by magic. "The wild and fierce inhabi-
tants of      (the) settlements westward of the Alleghany
mountains," said Mackenzie in his Strictures, "assembled
suddenly and silently.  In his letter of October 24, 1780,
Lord Rawdon significantly observed. "A numerous army now
appeared on the frontier, drawn from Nolachucky, and other
settlements beyond the mountains, whose very names had been
unknown to us." On September 26, this force of one thou-
sand and forty frontiersmen set forth upon the march. Be-
fore leaving the camp at Watauga, a farewell sermon was
delivered by the Reverend Samuel Doak, who (according to
trustworthy tradition) urged them to do battle valiantly, clos-
ing with a stirring invocation to "the sword of the Lord and
of Gideon"-a sentiment greeted with a lusty shout of
acclaim from the hardy mountaineers. At Quaker Meadows
in Burke County, the famous home of the McDowells, which
they reached on September 30, there was encamped a force
of three hundred and fifty militia-the hardy followers of
that fierce and blood-thirsty fighter, Colonel Benjamin Cleve-
land, "Old Roundabout," who called themselves "Cleveland's
Bulldogs"; the stalwart riflemen of Rutherford under Colonel
lRamsey: Annals of Tennessee, 226.




Andrew Hampton, and the flower of the militant citizenship
of Surry led by a born leader of men, a cousin of Patrick
Henry, Colonel Joseph Winston.2
  Already on September 14 preceding, General William Lee
Davidson had ordered Cleveland to unite with other forces to
resist Ferguson's advance; and under the present plan the
prospects seemed to favor successful resistance. The com-
manders of the different divisions, all of whom had acted with
executive authority, controlled their troops only through vol-
untary agreement on the part of the privates. In view of
petty disorders and insubordination, the commanding officers
on the second day (October 2) after resuming the march, held
a conference to devise plans for quieting the disturbances,
and also for the purpose of choosing a leader. "It was
resolved," says Shelby in his Pamphlet (1823), "to send to
Head-Quarters for a general officer to command us; and that,
in the mean time, we should meet in council every day to
determine on the measures to be pursued, and appoint any of
our own body to put them in execution. I was not satisfied
with this course, as I thought it calculated to produce delay,
when expedition and dispatch were all important to us. We
were then in sixteen or eighteen miles of Gilbert Town, where
we supposed Ferguson to be. I suggested these things to the
council, and then observed to the officers, that we were all
North Carolinians except Col. Campbell, who was from Vir-
ginia; that I knew him to be a man of good sense, and warmly
attached to the cause of his country; that he commanded the
largest regiment; and that if they concurred with me, until
a general officer should arrive from Head-Quarters, appoint
him to command us, and march immediately against the
enemy. To this proposition some one or two said 'agreed.'
No written minute or record was made of it."3       Shelby
acknowledges that that he did this to "silence the expectation
2A. C. Avery: "Quaker Meadows," in North Carolina Booklet, IV, No. 3;
W. A. Graham: General Joseph Graham 273-283; G. T. Winston: "The Life
and Times of Major Joseph Winston," 1895; J. Crouch: "The Life and Char-
acter of Col. Benjamin Cleveland," 1908.
8Appendix to L. C. Draper's King's Mountain and its Heroes, 564.




of Col. McDowell" to command the expedition. This was
a legitimate expectation on the part of Col. McDowell, who
was the commanding officer of the district in which the force
was operating, and had, as Shelby further admits, "com-
manded the armies of militia in that quarter all the summer
before against the same enemy." The objections urged
against McDowell by Shelby were that he was "too far
advanced in life" and "too inactive" for the command of an
expedition which required extraordinary resources in strength
and endurance. The first objection, mentioned by Shelby at
the advanced age of seventy-three, is not founded on fact, and
was perhaps due to defective memory; for McDowell was
a vigorous young man of thirty-se-en in 1780. In his
narrative,4 Shelby states merely that McDowell "was too
slow an officer" for the enterprise. There was at no time any
question of the bravery or patriotism of McDowell.5
   During the progress of the conference, Campbell took
Shelby aside and requested that his name be withdrawn and
that Shelby himself take the command. To this, Shelby very
correctly replied that he was the youngest Colonel present;
and that McDowell under whom he had served, would resent
his elevation to the chief command. Shelby probably realized
that the over-mountain men, at all times unaccustomed to
strict military discipline and somewhat prone to insubordina-
tion, would not readily accept the leadership in this meteoric
campaign of a militia commander conspicuous neither for rare
discretion nor for exceptional efficiency. The selection of
Campbell was undoubtedly a temporary expedient, a tactful
mode of bridging an awkward situation; yet it is clear that
these border leaders would never have agreed to Shelby's sug-
gestion that the chief command be given, even temporarily, to
Campbell, had they not recognized in him an efficient leader
and known him to be a true soldier. One final conclusion is
'American Review, December, 1848.
50ther graver objections to the selection of McDowell as leader of the cam-
paign have been mentioned. In this connection see Draper's King's Moun-
tain and Its Heroes, 87-9, and A. C. Avery's "Burke County," 90, in Western
North Carolina (1890).




irresistible: that Shelby himself, as originator and prime
mover in the expedition, more than any other was entitled to
the chief command.
  Colonel McDowell, who, as Shelby frankly says, "had the
good of his country more at heart than any title of command,"
cheerfully acquiesced in the council's decision; but observed
that as he was not to have the chief command, he would volun-
teer to convey to headquarters at Hillsborough the request for
a general officer. On October 4, McDowell started on his
errand from the mouth of Cane Creek near Gilbert Town,
where the American force was encamped.6 He bore with
him a significant letter, to which the chief historian of the
battle did not have access.7  He left his men under the com-
mand of his brother, Major Joseph McDowell. Colonel
Campbell now assumed temporarily the chief command, but
he was to be regulated and directed by the determinations of
the Colonels, who were to meet in council every day. It is
noticeable that the list of signatures is not headed by that of
Campbell, and does not include that of Charles McDowell,
the bearer.
                        Rutherford County, Camp near Gilberttown
                                         Oct 4, 1780.
  SrI, We have now collected at this place about 1500 good men,
drawn from the Counties of Surry, Wilkes, Burke, Washington and
Sullivan Counties in this State, and Washington County in Virginia,
and expect to be joined in a few days by Col. Clarke of Georgia, and
Col. Williams of South Carolina, with about 1000 more-As we have
at this time called out our Militia without any orders from the
Executive of our different States, and with the view of Expelling the
Enemy out of this part of the Country, we think such a body of men
worthy of your attention, and would request you to send a General
Officer, immediately to take the command of such Troops as may
embody in this quarter-Our Troops being all Militia, and but little

  "It is worthy of note that, on his way to Hillsborough, McDowell called at
the camp of Lacy and Hill, with their South Carolinians, and at that of Uni-
liams with the Rowan Corps, at Flint Hill, a dozen miles or so to the eastward
of the head of Cane Creek. These forces, being thus notified of the march
against Ferguson, formed a junction with Campbell's forces on October 6.
'Draper makes no mention of this letter, the original of which is in the
Gates Papers, Archives of the New York Historical Society. For a transcript
of this letter I am indebted to Mr. Wilberforce Eames, of the New York Public
Library, and to Mr. Robert H. Kelby, Librarian of the New York Historical





acquainted with discipline, we could wish him to be a Gentleman of
address, and able to keep up a proper discipline, without disgusting
the Soldiery-Every assistance in our power, shall be given the Offi-
cer you may think proper to take the command of us.
   It is the wish of such of us as are acquainted with General David-
 son and Col. Morgan (if in service) that one of them Gentlemen may
 be appointed to this command.
   We are in great want of Ammunition, and hope you will endeavor
 to have us properly furnished with that Article.
   Col. McDowell will wait upon you with this, who can inform you
 of the present situation of the Enemy, and such other particulars
 respecting our Troops as you may think necessary.
 We are Sir, Your most obdt. and very hble. Servts.
                                            BENJA. CLEVELAND,
                                            ISAAC SHELBY,
                                            JOHN SEVmE,
                                            ANDW. HAMPTON,
                                            WM. CAmPBELL,
                                            Jo. WITNsTON.
                         (Public Service)

The Honorable Major General
    Horatio Gates
        Commander in Chief of
              the Southern Army.
By Col. Charles McDowell Major General Smallwood
                                         Letter from
                                               Col. Cleveland cl
                                               4th October 80.

   A memorable incident, indicative of the indomitable de-
termination of the American forces, deserves record here.
Before resuming the march on Oeotber 3, the Colonels noti-
fied the assembled troops of the nature and hazard of the
enterprise before them; and the offer was made that any one
who so desired, might withdraw then and there from the cam-
paign. Shelby thus laconically addressed the men:

  You have all been informed of the offer. You who desire to
decline it, will, when the word is given, march three steps to the rear,
and stand, prior to which a few more minutes will be granted you
for consideration.

SCf. N. C. State Records, xiv, 663-4. A photographic facsimile of the signa-
tures to this letter, made at my order from the original letter, shows that,
contrary to the testimony of Mr. Roosevelt, who spells it "Cleavland," the
correct spelling is "Cleveland."



   After a pause the order was given that "those who desired
 to back out would step three paces to the rear," but not a man
 withdrew. Shelby then addressed the men in words which
 convey a vivid impression of the spirit of the movement and
 the character of the campaign:
 I am heartily glad to see you to a man resolve to meet and fight
 your country's foes. When we encounter the enemy, don't wait for
 the word of command. Let each one of you be your own officer, and
 do the very best you can, taking every care you can of yourselves,
 and availing yourselves of every advantage that chance may throw in
 your way. If in the woods, shelter yourselves, and give them Indian
 play; advance from tree to tree, pressing the enemy and killing and
 disabling all you can. Your officers will shrink from no danger-
 they will be consistently with you, and the moment the enemy give
 war, be on the alert and strictly obey orders.'

   The taunt of Ferguson, by which he had hoped to intimi-
date the men of the back-country, evoked a retort he little
expected.  Ferguson's principal object at this time was to
strike a crushing blow at the small band of partisans under
Captain Elijah Clarke, who about the middle of September
was threatening Augusta, Georgia, and was still hovering
dangerously near the Carolina line. Ferguson was hoping
for and expecting the return of furloughed loyalists in large
numbers under Gibbes, the militia under Cruger at Ninety-
Six, or Tarleton's Legion ordered thither by Cornwallis. Two
deserters from the camp of the Americans came in on Septem-
ber 30 to warn Ferguson of the approach of the frontier army.
Had Ferguson struck straight for Charlotte and a junction
there with Cornwallis, he might have eluded Campbell's
force. But he was confronted with the danger of permitting
the union of the forces of Clarke and Campbell; the necessity
of recalling numerous Tories, absent on furlough belonging
to his own force; and the danger of disaffection to the loyalist
cause on the part of the people of that region. Perhaps Lieu-
tenant-Colonel Cruger had a deeper insight into the nature of
the situation than had Ferguson; for in his reply (October 3,
1780) to Ferguson's dispatch of September 30th, with its
9Testimony of John Spelts, called "Continental Jack," who was present.




alarming news of "so considerable (a) force as you understand
is coming from the mountains," Cruger makes these eminently
sane observations: "I Don't see how you can possibly (de-
fend) the country and its neighborhood that you (are) now
in.  . .  .  I flattered myself they    (the Tory militia)
would have been equal to the mountain lads, and that no
further call for the defensive would have been (made) on
this part of the Province. I begin to think our views for
the present rather large. We have been led to this, proba-
bly, in expecting too much from the militia."10
  Aware of some of the dangers incident to the situation,
Ferguson despatched messengers to Cornwallis, asking for
assistance; but these, being pursued. were delayed by reason
of the circuitous route they were forced to take, and so did not
reach Charlotte until the day after the battle at King's Moun-
tain.  Ferguson scorned to seek protection by making a
forced march in order to effect a junction with Cornwallis at
Charlotte. He preferred to make a stand, and, if possible,
to dispose once for all of this barbarian mountain horde.
From his camp Ferguson issued the following inflammatory
and obscene appeal to the people, well calculated to arouse
their bitter hostility to the approaching band, which he char-
acterized as murderers of men and ravishers of women.

                             Denard's Ford, Broad River,
                               Tryon County, October 1, 1780.
  GENTLEMEN:-Unless you wish to be eat up by an inundation of bar-
barians, who have begun by murdering an unarmed son before his
aged father and afterward lopped off his arms, and who by their
shocking cruelties and irregularities, give the best proof of their
cowardice and want of discipline; I say If you want to be pinioned,
robbed, and murdered, and see your wives and daughters, In four
days, abused by the dregs of mankind-in short, if you wish or
deserve to live, and bear the name of men grasp your arms in a mo-
ment and run to camp.
The Back Water men have crossed the mountains; McDowell,
Hampton, Shelby, and Cleveland are at their head, so that you know
"This letter was found on Ferguson's dead body, after the battle of King's
Mountain. See Ramsey: Annals of Tennessee, 241-2.




what you have to depend upon. If you choose to be p-a upon by
a set of mongrels, say so at once, and let your women turn their
backs upon you and look out for real men to protect them.
                                          PAT. FEmGusoN,
                                       Major 71st Regiment."

   Loitering on his march, presumably in the hope of striking
Clarke, Ferguson did not reach King's Mountain until Octo-
ber 6. On reaching Gilbert Town (near Rutherfordton,
N. C.) on October 4, the Americans discovered that Fergu-
son had retired. "Having gained a knowledge of his design,"
related Shelby, "it was determined in a council of the princi-
pal officers to pursue him with all possible dispatch. Ac-
cordingly two nights before the action the officers were
engaged all night in selecting the best men, the best horses
and the best rifles, and at the dawn of day took Ferguson's
trail and pursued him.    . . . The mountain men had
turned out to catch Ferguson. He was their object, and for
the last thirty-six hours they never alighted from their horses
but once to refresh at the Cowpens for an hour (where they
were joined by Col. Williams of South Carolina, on the even-
ing of the 6th with about 400 men), although the day of the
action was so extremely wet that the men could only keep their
guns dry by wrapping their bags, blankets and hunting shirts
around the locks, which exposed their bodies to a heavy and
incessant rain."12
  In this connection, there is need of further detail in regard
to the force under Williams. The account given by Draper
is at once imperfect and distorted; and his estimate is griev-
ously warped by the prejudiced account written by South
Carolinians who held Williams in detestation. James D.
Williams was not a South Carolinian; he was born in Han-
over County, Virginia, in November, 1740. Since childhood
he had lived in Granville County, N. C., whither the Williams
"Virginia Gazette, November 11, 1780. The barbarous atrocity alluded to at
the beginning of this letter is unsupported by evidence of any kind.
"Autobiography of Isaac Shelby, an exact transcription of which I procured
from the late Colonel R. T. Durrett, of Louisville, Kentucky. The valuable
Durrett Collection of Manuscripts on Western History is now owned by the
University of Chicago.




family removed at an early date; and here he remained until
1772, when he went to South Carolina and settled on Little
River in Laurens County. At the battle of Musgrove Mill,
as related by Shelby himself, Williams13 commanded the
American center, while Shelby and Clarke commanded the
right and left wings, respectively. The most reliable authori-
ties state that Williams held the chief command in this bat-
tle.14 On his arrival at Hillsborough whither he conducted
the prisoners taken at Musgrove Mill, Williams conveyed the
news of this victory to Governor Rutledge of South Carolina,
then a refugee from his own State. In recognition of the
victory at Musgrove Mill, achieved by the force commanded
by Williams, Governor Rutledge commissioned him as a
brigadier general in the South Carolina militia.'5 On Sep-
tember 8, Governor Abner Nash of North Carolina instructed
General Williams to go to Caswell and other counties and
recruit a corps of volunteer horsemen, not to exceed one hun-
dred, for active service against the enemy.'6 This force,
about seventy in number, Williams enlisted chiefly while
encamped at Higgins' plantation in Rowan County. These
recruits were brave and reliable soldiers; and they came from
a county noted for its patriotism and its hostility to England.
"It was evident and it had frequently been mentioned to the
King's Officers," says Banastre Tarleton in his Campaigns
of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces, "that the coun-
ties of Mecklenburg and Rowan were more hostile to Eng-
land that any others in America."'17

  23Cf. "Isaac Shelby," I, p. 140, North Carolina Booklet, January, 1917.
  14A Sketch of the Life and Career of Col. James D. Williams, by Rev. J. D.
Bailey (Cowpens, S. C., 1898).
  "'The official report, which in Itself constitutes proof that Williams was in
command at Musgrove Mill, was drawn up and signed by Williams; and this is
the only contemporary report of the battle from the field. On September 5,
1780, Williams' official report was forwarded by General Gates to the Presi-
dent of Congress. The full report was published In the Pennsylvania Packet
on September 23, and doubtless earlier In North Carolina newspapers; but the
substance of the report, doubtless communicated by Governor Rutledge, ap-
peared In the Virginia Gazette as early as September 13. Compare also North
Carolina University Magazine, March, 1855.
IsFor a copy of the original order, see Schenck, North Carolina, 1780-1781,
17The slur cast upon these Rowan recruits by the venomous Colonel Hill in
his Manuscript Narrative only reflect upon their author. The Legislature of
North Carolina, in November, 1788, acting upon a report submitted by Mr.
Thomas Person, resolved: "That the estate of James Williams, deceased, late




   The number chosen from the over-mountain men to go
forward from the ford of Green River on the night of Octo-
ber 5, was about seven hundred; and at the Cowpens, as accu-
rately stated by Shelby, they were reinforced by four hundred
men under Williams.'8 Here a second selection of nine hun-
dred and ten horsemen was made; and Colonel Campbell was
retained in the chief command-the urgency of the pursuit
making it inadvisable to await the coming of the general offi-
cer for whom Col. Charles McDowell had gone to Hillsbor-
ough. This force, closely followed by some eighty-odd foot-
men ("foot-cavalry") pushed forward from the Cowpens on
the night of October 6, in pursuit of the elusive Ferguson.
  So heavy was the fall of rain during the forenoon and so
weary and jaded were the men, that Campbell, Sevier and
Cleveland urged a halt; but to this proposal the iron Shelby,
intent upon the capture and destruction of the men who had
threatened to hang him, gruffly replied with an oath: "I will
not stop until night, if I follow Ferguson into Cornwallis'
lines." As they approached King's Mountain, they encoun-
tered three aen who reported that they were just from      the
British camp, which was posted upon the plateau, and that
there was a picket guard on the road not far ahead. "These
men," says Benjamin Sharp in his account, "were detained
lest they should find means to inform the enemy of our ap-
proach, and Col. Shelby, with a select party, undertook to sur-
prise and take the picket; this he accomplished without firing
a gun or giving the least alarm; and it was hailed by the army
as a good omen.""9

IsOn October 2, Brigadier General Williams reported to Major-General Gates
that the number then with him in Burke County was "about four hundred and
fifty horsemen." Cf. N. C. State Records, xv. 94. He was in error as to his
location, which was actually in Lincoln County.
19American Pioneer, February, 1843.
of the State of S. C. be released and acquitted from the payment of 25,000
advanced to the said deceased in his lifetime (1780) by this state for the pur-
pose of raising men for the defense of this and the United States, it having
been manifested to this Assembly that he was in action at the Battle of King's
Mountain where he headed three or four hundred men and in which action he
gloriously fell, a sacrifice to liberty." See W. A. Graham: Gen. Joseph Gra-
ham and His Revolutionary Papers, 282-3. In speaking of "our march to the
Yadkin," Cornwallis calls the Rowan section "one of the most rebellious tracts
in America."





   The remarkable battle which ensued presents an extraordi-
nary contrast in the character of the combatants and the
nature of the strategy and tactics employed. Each party ran
true to form-the heroic and brilliant Ferguson repeating
Braddock's suicidal tactics of opposing bayonet charges to
the deadly fusillade of riflemen, carefully posted, Indian
fashion, behind trees and every shelter afforded by the natural
inequalities of the ground. In the army of the Carolina and
Virginia frontiersmen, composed of independent commands
recruited from many sources and each solicitous for its own
credit, each command was directed in the battle by its own
leader. Campbell, like Cleveland, Shelby, McDowell, Sevier,
and Hambright, personally led his own division; but the
nature of the fighting and the peculiarity of the terrain made
it impossible for him, though the chosen commander of the
expedition, in actuality to play such a role. The tactics
agreed upon in advance by the frontier commanders were
simple enough-to surround and capture Ferguson's camp
on the high plateau. The more experienced Indian fighters,
Sevier and Shelby, unquestionably suggested the general
tactics in accordance with their experience, which in any case
would doubtless have been employed by the frontiersmen: to
give the British "Indian-play," namely, to take cover any-
where and fire from natural shelter. Cleveland, a Hercules in
strength and courage, who had fought the Indians and recog-
nized the wisdom of Indian tactics, ordered his men, as did
some of the other leaders, to give way before a bayonet charge
-but to return to the attack after the charge had spent its
My brave fellows, we have beaten the Tories and we can do it again.
. . . If they had the spirit of men, they would join with their
fellow-citizens in supporting the independence of their country. When
you are engaged, you are not to wait for the word of command from
me. I will show you, by my example, how to fight; I can undertake
no more. Every man must consider himself an officer and act from




his own judgment. Fire as quick as you can, and stand your ground
as long as you can. When you can do no better, get behind trees
or retreat; but I beg you not to run quite off. If we are repulsed,
let us make a point of returning and renewing the fight; perhaps we
may have better luck in the second attempt than in the first.

  The plateau upon which Ferguson was encamped was the
top of an eminence about six hundred yards long and about
two hundred and fifty from one base across to the other; and
its shape was that of an Indian paddle, varying from one
hundred and twenty yards at the blade to sixty yards at the
handle in width. Outcropping boulders upon the outer edge
of the plateau afforded some slight shelter for Ferguson's
force; but, unsuspicious of the coming attack, Ferguson had
made n