1778 North America was a COLD winter - I remember it well. Not as cold as 1816 - that year we had no summer at all - but cold all the same. The
entirety of Vandalia had a population of around 1500 in 1778, and it was hard going. People were few and far between. Starting in April, most of the
people started running back for the interior and civilization because of the Indian raids, All but the hardiest or the most adventurous got out of
Dodge. Most of the ones who remained "forted up" their families in the sporadic forts that had started popping up along the Clinch and Holston rivers,
and hit the woods. Hunting. In the winters we hunted for furs. In the summers we hunted for men.
And those same men were hunting for US.
A war was raging on to the East, but out in the wilderness, the redcoats were only seen in the company of Indians - the Ohio tribes they had stirred
up against us, trying to drive us all back to the interior. That seemed an odd strategy to me, trying to strengthen the rebel forces in the east - but
at the time, the British had the upper hand, and I reckon sought to exploit that advantage. There was a British officer to the northwest of us in
Detroit that the Indians called "The Hair Buyer" - his real name was Hamilton, as I recall - who paid bounty to them on our scalps. I hear, but have
never seen, that some of those scalps collected way back then are still in storage in London, circles of human hide and hair , from the 4 inch circles
off of the heads of grown farmers, hunters, and wives right down to the 2 inch circles off of the heads of babes. Each was marked with Indian
pictographs denoting the circumstances of the kill - a plow for a farmer killed in his fields, that sort of thing.
Captain Daniel Smith ran the militia on my side of the mountain, and every summer from 1774 to 1785 he ran them hard - if he could get you to join up
and not take to the woods on your own. I was acquainted with a 17 year old kid - a KID! - who ran a route from fort to fort, checking the trails for
sign that Indians were around, so he could give warning to the inhabitants. We called his kind "Indian Spies", but they amounted to scouts. that kid,
an lanky second or third generation Scotsman, was just 17 - and had been running that route all alone, without backup, every summer from March to
September or October (what we called "the war season") since he was 13 years old.
I don't know how he survived it, but a lot more of us did than you would think, given the circumstances, Years later, in the 1830's, that kid - now an
old man - applied for a pension from the guvmint on his service during the Revolution, which he diligently performed - alone! - every summer of that
conflict. His service was discounted, and the pension denied. They said he was a "damned liar", that he never did that at such a young age. I know
damned well he did.
He died in 1851, penniless except for land claims that he had made years before and sold off now and then to keep his belt buckle from slapping his
backbone around. His government got what they wanted, then turned their back on him in his own hour of need. happened a lot to those mountaineers,
which bred a distrust of government promises that lives there to this very day.
The battle described in the post sounds like the Battle of Kings Mountain - but that didn't occur until October 7, 1780.
A friend of my mother (a man named Ken Henderson) wrote a series of historical fiction novels about that time, starting with one titled
. The second book in the series is
called "Brothers of the Forest", and the name of the third book, the one that deals with King's Mountain, escapes me at the moment.
Arthur Campbell ran the militia from my neck of the woods that went to King's Mountain and left Major Ferguson buried there. Ferguson made the
statement that "this back-woods rabble will NEVER move me from this mountain!", and as it turned out, he was right - they buried him there, and he
remains buried there to this very day.
edit on 2012/4/2 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)