Songs & Ballads Of the American Revolution

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338                           king's mountain.
tie was fought on the 7th of October, 1780. " At twelve o'clock, the sky cleared," when the patriot army "found themselves within three miles of Ferguson's camp, on King's Mountain. They halted, under an order passed rapidly along the line—an order, perhaps, the most laconic and appropriate ever given under the like circum­stances. It was in those words:
" ' Tie up overcoats, pick touch-holes, fresh prime, and be ready to fight: "
" The officers here determined to divide their force, and to sur­round the mountain. At this moment, an express from Ferguson to Cornwallis was arrested, his despatches opened, and read aloud at the head of the line. In them, he said, ' I hold a position on the King's Mountain that all the rebels out of hell cannot drive me from.' There was no shout or disorder when this was read; but a quiet grim smile passed along the line as they struck into a double gal­lop. In twenty minutes, they were in sight of the British camp. They drew up along the bank of that little brook; they dismounted and tied their horses to the limbs of ths trees, leaving them in charge of a small guard. The order of attack was hurriedly made, but with a military skill and discretion that could not be excelled. There was not an error or mistake, or even a miscalculation of marching time from the outset to the end. Each column advanced rapidly along the indicated line, all the lines tending to a common centre, which was the British encampment at the summit of the ridge. There began a scattering fire, for eight or ten minutes, on the centre column of the Americans. The patriots moved steadily until Sevier's column, on the right, passed out of the valley in full sight of the enemy. rlhe fire then began in earnest on both sides. The mountaineers proved their skill with most deadly effect, forcing Ferguson, at the very beginning, to resort to a direct charge. This charge was headed by a company of British regulars, and was worthy the high name and fame of that service. It was boldly and gallantly done, and forced the patriots to give back down the hill; but at that moment Cleaveland and Williams appeared on the left, and poured into the charging columns such an awful fire as

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III