The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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County, and major of militia, serving in Rutherford's expedition against the Cherokee Indians. In 1777, he was a member of the House of Commons from Surry, and with Waightstill Avery, William Sharpe and Robert Lanier, placed upon that commission which made a treaty with the Cherokees at Long Island on the Holston, a treaty made without an oath and yet one that has never been violated. In 1780, he served with Colonel Davidson in pursuit of Bryan's tories, and was with Cleaveland in his movements against the loyalists on New River; he was in a skirmish on the Alamance, and commanded a portion of the right wing at King's mountain, October 9, 1780.

        At King's mountain he was a major of the North Carolina line, serving with Colonels McDowell and Cleaveland. The battle was fierce and bloody, in which the Americans drove the British and tories from their lofty position, whence their commander, Colonel Patrick Ferguson, had impiously declared "that God Almighty could not drive them."

        In the plan of battle adopted by the colonels present on that occasion, Winston's battalion had to make a lengthy detour of the mountain from a point at the junction of King's Creek, and the Quarry Road, and thence to move to the east side of the battle field and so reach a point where his men were to move up the mountain's side, and make part of the "wall of fire" around Ferguson. The several corps were put in motion for the posts they were assigned in the day's operation. Both the right and left wings were somewhat longer in reaching their designated positions than had been expected. Winston's party had marched about a mile, when they reached a very steep ascent, which they took to be the point where they were to move up to the enemy's lines. Some men came in view and directed them to dismount and proceed, as being at the point of attack assigned them, but before they had gone two-hundred paces they were again hailed and shown their true line of march, and were then assured they were yet a mile from their position in the alignment for the battle. They then ran down the declivity with great precipitation to their horses, and mounting them, rode, like so many fox-hunters, at almost a break-neck speed, through rough woods and brambles, leaping branches and crossing ridges, without any guide who had a personal knowledge of the country. They soon came upon the enemy, and, as if directed by the Providence itself, at the very point of their intended destination, where they did great havoc in that bloody fray.*

        * Wheeler's History of North Carolina, II., 106.

In a few minutes the action became general and severe, continuing furiously for three-fourths of an hour, when the enemy being driven from the east to the west end of the mountain, surrendered at discretion. Ferguson was killed with two hundred and six of his officers and men, and eight hundred and ninety-nine of the British were captured. The Americans had eighty-eight killed and wounded. "The whole mountain was covered with smoke and seemed to thunder." For his distinguished services on that day the legislature of the state voted Joseph Winston an elegant sword.

        Colonel John Campbell, of Abington, in preparing his "Memoir of the Military Transactions of West Virginia," says:

        "In the unique affair of King's Mountain, Colonel Winston played a conspicuous part. He led the right wing on this 'Bunker Hill of the south,' and contributed greatly to that momentous victory, of which the battle of Cowpens, Guilford, and the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, were the direct consequences."

        Mr. Jefferson, in a letter now before me, says: "he remembered well the deep and grateful impression made by that memorable victory. It was the joyful enunciation of the first turn
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