Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

Patrick Ferguson monument at Kings Mountain

This monument at Kings Mountain National Military Park remembers Patrick Ferguson, commander of the loyalist forces in the battle. Image source. About the photograph

For many Americans, deciding which side to take in the Revolution was an easy choice. Some were zealous about fighting for independence while others never questioned loyalty to Britain. Yet there were still others for whom choosing sides was a painfully difficult decision. This variety of viewpoints, often influenced by economic status, race, religion, and gender, resulted in discord not only on the battlefield but also in the personal lives of those torn between conflicting loyalties within their families and communities.

The Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780 in South Carolina, waged not between the American and British armies but among American patriots and loyalists, illustrates the divisions in colonial society.

By 1780, the British focused on the southern states; the British believed that the southern colonies were largely loyalist and, based on this assumption, built a military campaign to control the South. Having fought to a stalemate in the North, the British sought to establish loyalist strongholds and then march to join loyalist troops around the Chesapeake Bay and take control of the eastern seaboard.

At first the British troops succeeded, using military force to gain control. When British General Lord Cornwallis sent Major Patrick Ferguson to coordinate the loyalist militia, Ferguson sent a message threatening Carolina patriots with death if they did not submit. The patriot militia, made up of rugged individuals of mostly Scots-Irish ancestry, lived in remote valleys and worked as hunters, farmers, and artisans. They were used to being independent, and had little to do with events taking place in the northern states and along the coast. Ferguson’s threat, however, was another matter. Infuriated, they actively pursued the Major and his loyalist forces.

In September 1780, southern patriot forces gathered at Sycamore Shoals under the command of colonels William Campbell, Isaac Shelby, Charles McDowell, and John Sevier. They then traveled through snowy mountains to join with other patriot militia at Quaker Meadows and Cowpens. Ferguson stopped at Kings Mountain to await the patriot advance. In the fierce battle that occurred there, the loyalists suffered staggering losses including the death of Ferguson. In spite of the white flag hoisted by the loyalists and their cries of surrender, the enraged patriot militia continued to fire for several more minutes until Colonel Campbell regained control.