A soldier. A quite good soldier, from what I hear tell.
However, he made one little mistake.
See, after stomping his way all over North Carolina, he sent a message up to the mountain folk. Something to the effect of "stop your grousing, toe the line, or I'll take my army up there and burn your houses down around your ears."
Yeah. Well. Two hundred and thirty years ago today, Major Patrick Ferguson was one of the first, but he will be far from the last, to learn this particular lesson...
Don't threaten the rednecks.
There's spit-all of nothin' to gain if you win, and the good Lord help you if you lose.
(and for what it's worth, a guy in Appalachia still can up his chances of a date if he happens to mention "oh yeah, great-...-great-grandpappy-so-and-so was at King's Mountain..." :) )
It makes for a good story, right?
I liked it. Good old fashioned American underdog tale, with a nice dash of redneck pride. Nice and fun.
Until I stopped to think about the magnitude of what those guys did - because at that moment, they were smack dab in the middle of existential war for survival with the Cherokee*. Think for a minute about what that means.
Alaskans, this will be easier for you.
Imagine for the moment that, say... we were on murderous terms with all the natives up here. Murderous terms as in "just going to visit your friend down in Chugiak one day, and you find their house on fire with bits of meat scattered all over yard that used to be your neighbor" kind of bad terms. And having that not be unusual. When your baby girl ends her prayers at night with "and if I die before I wake?" Yeah. That's not just an expression. It's a distinct and gruesome possibility.
So. Really drink that in for a moment.
Imagine that in the middle of that - and in all fairness, giving every bit as
And about the same time, you find out about the guy who gave it. He's been tearing hell over Washington State.
And he's a crack soldier who is so into his work he designed his own frickin' weapons system and equipped his men with it. And not only does it work, but between that technological innovation, and the training he's given his men, any advantage you'd like to think you have, being all tough and woodsy and Alaskan and all?
Yeah. Not so much. He has that to. And the best tech of the best army on the planet. **
So. You're in the middle of that dark, dark brutal time at home when you never know when the next time you walk in on a Manson murder is going to be, and then you get this ultimatum from the army down south.
Give in, or you'll be spending winter in an ashpile. If you live at all.
That was the choice those men faced all that time ago. So what did they do?
Why, they had to have a draft.
... they drafted men to stay home.
* You know that part in the Declaration of Independence that goes He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions? Yeah, so.. not just one more blot of ink on the page. Those "ages,sexes, and conditions" were every bit as real as you or me. As were their killers, who met no happier fate. T'aint many happy endings on the dark and bloody.
** edit. Further reading says Ferguson's unit had turned in those rifles of his prior to King's Mountain. God I love the Internet. You can still be wrong in public, but you can sure get corrected quick. :)