The End of Patrick Ferguson

The gravestone of Patrick Ferguson

The End of Patrick Ferguson

This is the monument to Patrick Ferguson that was built at Kings Mountain. This stone does not mark where he fell, but where they moved the body sometime after. The battle at Kings Mountain October 7, 1780 has a sort of weird place in the annals of the American Revolution. It is on one hand perhaps one of the most important battles and victories of the patriots, but it is also one that not many people know about. Patrick Ferguson is sort of like that for the British. He was one of the their most important and talented commanders, but his name is usually not recognized by the layman.

The entire story of Ferguson is one that could fill a book on its own. From his creation of a breech-loading rifle, to the time he came one shot away from killing Washington and ended the war, his stories and the stuff of legend. No, we will look here briefly not at the start of his story but at his end here at Kings Mountain.

Kings Mountain

After the fall of Charleston in 1780, General Clinton gave Ferguson overall command of Loyalist troops in the region. With these troops, mainly light infantry, he was to go into the far reaches of the south and do what he could to prevent the rebels from coming back into power. He relished his role and set about it with fervor. Perhaps a little too much fervor.

He and his men went after the rebels with gusto, burning farms and threatening destruction to anyone that fought against the King. He was effective, but he also made a terrible estimation. In the far west of the region were the Overmountain Men. Frontiersmen that though mostly rebels, were more concerned with the natives that they seemed constantly at war with. Ferguson sent them a message that if they came back across the mountains, he would burn their farms and kill their families. They did not take kindly to that and set out to find Ferguson and put an end to his threats.

At Kings Mountain they found him. Ferguson fought well that day, rallying his men several times from their position on top of the mountain. In his red and white checkered hunting shirt, using a whistle to relay orders he seemed to be everywhere. Until he wasn’t. The loss of for the British was terrible. The left-wing of their army evaporated. One of their best commanders gone for good. Worst of all, the loyalists in South lost the will to fight,

When you see the headstone you can remember the man buried there.  He earned that. That grave though does not just hold his body, but the British hopes of winning the war.