Sumpter Chosen Leader
After some consultation and various efforts to collect scattered comrades, the party said to Col. Sumpter, “If we choose you our leader, will you direct our operations?” He replied, “Our interests are the same. With me it is liberty or death.” An election was held and Sumpter unanimously chosen General.
Just at this time intelligence was received that the Tories had assembled at Ramseur’s Mill under Gen. Moore, and that Gen. Rutherford was collecting a force to attack them. Sumpter immediately joined Rutherford. Sumpter and party wished to proceed at once to the assault. Rutherford wished to defer the attack until the next day. Before day they were pushing forward for the Tory camp. But they barely reached the place in time to witness the close of the famous Battle of Ramseur’s Mill. The gallant Whigs of the neighborhood had assembled under their own officers and drove the Tories from the country with great slaughter. The Liberty Party had, however, to deplore the loss of two of their intrepid leaders in this action. Capt. Fall was killed and Capt. Armstrong was mortally wounded.
Can any man living show a more detailed and authentic account of this spirited and important engagement?
The Battle of Ramseur’s Mill being over, Sumpter remained a few days in the vicinity. In this time he held a court of inquiry to consult as to the course proper to be taken. Of the court says Major McJunkin, “I had the honor to being a member.” Let the reader now attempt to appreciate the magnitude of the questions coming legitimately under the consideration of this court. Its members were solemnly pledged to liberate South Carolina or die in the attempt. Their number is so small as to render any important achievement hopeless. Aside from this, they possess neither arms, provisions nor any other military stores adequate for the equipment and sustenance for a single regiment for one week. Yet they resolved to return to South Carolina and repel force by force. By the aid of Gen. Rutherford they obtained a quantity of provisions, press a few wagons, hitch some of their own horses to them and set out to wrest South Carolina from the hands of her invaders. They turn their faces to ward the nearest British post, Rocky Mount, and enter their own State.