Shipmates: Here's one for October, hope you like it.
THE OVER-MOUNTAIN MEN *
King’s Mountain, 7 October 1780
Well, boys, you want a story of the days so long ago!
A tale of wars and Injuns? Ridin’, huntin’ on the plains?
Come, then, grandchildren, round me, while I tell you what I know,
For of all the men I marched with, scarce a one of them remains.
Ah, they was truly heroes, like we’ll never see again–
Shelby, Sevier and Campbell, and the Over-Mountain Men!
The central Carolinas being wasted, far and near,
Our little farms were coming next, as certain as could be–
We mustered the militia, every man a volunteer,
To keep the Redcoat raiders out of eastern Tennessee.
We left our wives and young’uns and we gathered in the glen,
A thousand deadly rifles for the Over-Mountain Men!
Our buckskin-fringed frontiersmen formed a Patriot brigade,
Along Watauga River, by the Shoals of Sycamore;
The Carolinas in distress, we hastened to their aid,
Till Ferguson was sorry that he’d ever gone to war!
To see us on the march would drive the panther to his den,
For fear that he’d be morseled by the Over-Mountain Men!
‘Twas Major Patrick Ferguson, the famous British scout–
He was a bold one, no mistake, their finest marksman, too–
His Tory partisans had put the Patriots to rout,
While Tarleton’s cruel cavalry had ranged the country through,
They shot the peaceful farmer and they stole the settin’ hen,
While fairly riled the tempers of the Over-Mountain Men!
Now Ferguson was clever, but he’d made a bad mistake–
They’d camped upon King’s Mountain, in a high and narrow spot.
The Mountain Men surrounded them, as quiet as a snake,
Then started up the hillside, all at once, to bag the lot.1
They up and took their weapons, but too late to save ‘em then,
They fell before the rifles of the Over-Mountain Men!
John Sevier raged like a tiger in the foremost of the fray,
And Tories learned to fear the name of Nolichucky Jack–
The ones who lived were prisoners, for none had got away,
And Ferguson lay dyin’ with a bullet through his back.
We marched ‘em down the valley and we put ‘em in a pen,
Eight hundred Tories, taken by the Over-Mountain Men!
Now, boys, I’m old an’ feeble, tho’ I once was strong and tall,
My huntin’ days are over, even fishin’ is a chore;
The friends I knew are vanished, and I sadly miss ‘em all,
How I wish that I could see ‘em in their glory, as before!
But it’s hard tell the feelin’ to you lads of nine or ten,
How we fought that day for freedom, with the Over-Mountain Men!
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* The King’s Mountain fight–not often regarded as a major engagement of the Revolutionary War–had far-reaching effects. Colonels Isaac Shelby, John Sevier and William Campbell accomplished more than they knew, in removing a dangerous and effective British commander and utterly destroying his Tory forces. It also served as a curtain-raiser to the Patriot victory at Cowpens, and the long campaign ended with Lord Cornwallis’ army being driven from the Carolinas into southeastern Virginia, where it was besieged in a little river port called Yorktown.