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Redeemed Sinner. Deep Roots. Southern Heart.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Blue Hen's Chickens, Part 3

Following the battle of Camden, Cornwallis moved into North Carolina, the heart of Scotch-Irish country. He quickly captured Charlotte and reorganized his army. One division was put under the command of Major Ferguson, with orders to eliminate the King's enemies on the western frontier. This division consisted of Loyalists, American citizens who were loyal to the crown, who had been recruited by Ferguson.
In one of the more interesting ironies of this period, most of the loyalists from this area were Scottish Highlanders. They had left Scotland to escape the tyranny of the Hanoverian kings, yet when his "sovereignty" was threatened, they were the first to rally to his cause.
Unlike their Scotch-Irish cousins, who were the very ones who threatened King George's sovereignty, these Scots fought valiantly for the king.

The Scotch-Irish settlements that dotted the frontier had a long heritage based in a militia system. The similar clan system had served their ancestors well against King Edward Longshanks 500 years earlier. When they came to America, their frequent clashes with the Indians had necessitated that this system remain in place for the preservation of their lives. In this region the militia west of the Appalachians was often referred to as the "Overmountain Men", because they had to travel over the Appalachian Mountains when they deployed. The regulars often looked down on the militia, and sometimes with reason, but in the South, at least, the militia had by far the better record. The fact that their leaders were selected on the basis of ability rather than political influence may have had something to do with it.
The most prominent leaders in south-western North Carolina were Isaac Shelby, John Sevier, William Campbell, Charles McDowell, and Joseph McDowell.
The stature these men had gained was purely by the blessing of God and their own skill. One was not a political appointee to command a militia.
There was one thing they all had in common, namely, fighting experience, something that even some Northern generals couldn't say. These frontiersmen had fought together in the past and knew what made each other tick.

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Blogger Bria said...

Very interesting!
Great post Stephen.

October 2, 2009 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Thanks Bria!

October 5, 2009 at 2:29 PM  

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