The term first was used in the U.S. by Benjamin Franklin in a 1773 letter. It referred to people who stood in opposition of those pledged to the British Crown -- the Tories aka loyalists.
On Oct. 7, 1780, American patriots prevailed against loyalists in the Carolinas and won their first Southern battle. The Battle of Kings Mountain is a victory not often highlighted today but was a critical win nonetheless. It shows the importance of patriots everywhere persevering in every battle against adversarial forces -- even against those born on American soil.
The cable network History documented how a loyalist militia under Maj. Patrick Ferguson, largely made up of South Carolina frontiersmen, was defeated by a patriot militia under Col. William Campbell at the Battle of Kings Mountain in North Carolina near the South Carolina border.
Ferguson warned the patriots to lay down their arms or watch the loyalists "lay waste" to their country "with fire and sword." But 1,000 patriot militiamen, including Davy Crockett's father, John, courageously confronted Ferguson's loyalists, who were positioned on the rocky ridge of Kings Mountain.
Losing the upper hand to what he called the "band of banditti," Ferguson tried to intimidate the patriots by sending a wall of loyalists blitzing down the mountain, but they were cut down in a hail of patriot bullets.
Ferguson soon followed a similar fate.
As History explained, "the patriot success was the first against the British in the South and convinced Gen. (Charles) Cornwallis to stop his march through the territory."
The toll on the loyalist militia at Kings Mountain was 157 killed, 163 wounded and 698 captured, while the patriot militia only suffered 28 killed and 60 wounded. Of the 2,000 total militiamen in battle for both sides, 1,900 were born on American soil. Only Ferguson and 100 of his redcoats, whom he had trained personally, were Britons.
Feels a lot like how we patriots are often outnumbered in modern cultural and political wars and elections, doesn't it? Surrounded by bands of adversaries born on American soil?
Nevertheless, like the patriots who fought at Kings Mountain in that distant October, more than 230 years ago, we must not shrink back by the intimidation of others.
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