Whigs Aroused by Ferguson
It is a fact recorded in history and generally well known that the deeds of atrocity committed by Ferguson’s army alarmed the fears and aroused the indignation of the mountaineers of North Carolina so that on his advance into that state they flew to arms, joined the refugees from South Carolina under Williams, Brandon and Lacy, pursued Ferguson to King’s Mountain, killed him, took nearly his whole force prisoners and fell back in safety to their own homes.
We have also seen in the preceding narrative that Ferguson’s camp was passed on the night of Aug. 18 by a strong detachment of militia from North and South Carolina on their way to surprise a body of Tories at Musgrove’s Mill, that having accomplished that object and more they retreated before Ferguson toward North Carolina. It is now our purpose to exhibit some of the events connected with Ferguson’s movements from the time he came into the Fairforest congregation until he went into North Carolina, and the measure of resistance offered by the Whig population to his movements in what is now Union and Spartanburg Districts in South Carolina.
In order to accomplish this object we must go back in the order of time and introduce new actors upon the stage. The first check given to Ferguson was by Gen. Charles McDowell of North Carolina. No allusion is made to this transaction by any historian of South Carolina. The only account of it in any published document is found in the Gazetteer of Tennessee, by Eastin Morris, and is as follows: “The American forces commanded by Col. McDowell were attacked by Ferguson near Enoree River, aided by a reinforcement of Tories and regulars. The battle was severely fought, but ended in the defeat of the British, who retreated, leaving a number of dead and more than 200 prisoners. The prisoners equaled one-third the number of the American forces.” This statement is made in such general terms as might possibly apply to the battle of Musgrove’s Mill, already described, but the writer has evidence of a private nature that it was a previous affair and probably occurred in the month of July. Capt. James Thompson of Madison County, Ga., stated to the writer that he belonged to the army of Gen. McDowell.