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Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blue Hen's Chickens, Part 1

When the Scots-Irish came to this country, they brought their cultural eccentricities with them. Among these are cock-fighting and a eternal loathing for anyone who tries to tell them what they can or cannot do. These eccentricities are still evident in some parts of the deep south.
To the Scots-Irish, fighting cocks represented their own heritage, that of a small, cocky, fighter, but one to be reckoned with. Anyone whose ever had a rooster attack them, as I have, can attest to that!

In the late 1770s, the southern settlements of Scots-Irish were busy trying to beat back the Indians, while the northern colonies were trying to beat back the tyranny of George III. As the British troops in the north had reached a stalemate, it was determined to send Lord Cornwallis, with approximatley 8,000 men, up through the "lightly defended" southern theater. This consisted of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Under the overall leadership of Cornwallis were two very colorful individuals.

Patrick Ferguson- A young Scotsman who had been in the military since the age of 15. He is credited with designing the first breechloading rifle in history. Incredibly arrogant and confident of the ability of the regulars to cut the "curs", as he styled the rebel army, to pieces. His arrogance would cost him his life.

Banastre Tarleton- This Englishman had a grudging respect for the capibilities of the colonials, which is why he was so dangerous. A complete rouge, he respected neither age nor gender, killing anyone anytime he wanted. Ferguson was completley disgusted by his lack of respect for the "rules of war".

Opposing the British army were somewhere around 18,000 militia and colonials (the closest thing the Americans had to a regulars).

General Benjamin Lincoln, had risen through the ranks of the New England militia and had been assigned to the Southern theater. His arrogance and lack of knowledge would lead to his defeat at Charleston.

Horatio Gates, an Englishman, was the commander of the regulars in the southern theater. He took the place of Lincoln after his demise and learned nothing from the mistakes of his predecessor. His most notable feat is that he rode 170 miles north in three days during his retreat.

There was also a motley array of militia leaders such as John Sevier, William Campbell, Isaac Shelby, the McDowell brothers, to name a few. These men were the real fighters. Having been raised on the frontier fighting Indians, they knew it was kill or be killed. If they were unsuccessful in turning back the invader, their homes and families were at stake.

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Blogger Johann Van De Leeuw said...

Extremely interesting post!
I don't know very much about the War for Independence; my interest has rather been in the 2nd War of Independence. Do you have more to offer? I was intrigued! I have for some time wanted to learn more about the War for Independence.
How about Francis Marion?

September 30, 2009 at 6:58 PM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Yes, there are about 4 posts in this series.

I too need to learn more about Francis Marion.

Thanks for the comment.

October 5, 2009 at 2:29 PM  

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