“The Battle of King’s Mountain (October 7, 1780) was an American victory over a loyalist detachment in South Carolina during the British campaign in the South,” begins the Encyclopedia Brittanica entry on the topic.
“To stem the British advance into North Carolina, a force of about 2,000 colonial frontiersmen had been gathered from neighbouring states to replace the Continental forces that had been lost in South Carolina at the battles of Charleston (May 1780) and Camden (August 1780). The frontiersmen felt particularly bitter against the 1,100 soldiers, under Major Patrick Ferguson, who were mostly New Yorkers and South Carolinians loyal to the British.”
Quite a clinical, and decidedly different, take on the battle than that of Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote in The Winning of the West, “This brilliant victory marked the turning point of the American Revolution.”
And that dichotomy among historians is exactly the issue that spurs on the Overmountain Victory Trail Association re-enactor group. “Our desire is to keep the story alive on what these men and women did back in 1780,” says current OVTA president Alan Bowen. “The story was lost—or was being lost; schools don’t teach it.”
Adds re-enactor Tom Holmes: “The Revolutionary War was won in the South. By some estimates more people died in SC than all the other colonies combined. Most of that is just left out of the history books. But it’s a remarkable story.”