The Battle of Kings Mountain was a decisive battle between the Patriot and Loyalist militias in the Southern campaign of the American Revolutionary War.
Some 1,100 volunteers from southwest Virginia and present-day northeast Tennessee, known as the "Overmountain Men" (so named because they had settled into the wilderness west of the Appalachian Mountains ridgeline), mustered at the rendezvous at Sycamore Shoals near present day Elizabethton, Tennessee on September 25, 1780.
The Overmountain Men crossed over Roan Mountain the next day, and proceeded in a southerly direction for about thirteen days in anticipation of encountering the British Loyalist force.
The battle opened on October 7, 1780, around 3 p.m. when 900 Patriots (including John Crockett, the father of Davy Crockett), approached the steep base of the Western ridge of Kings Mountain. The rebels formed eight groups of 100 to 200 men. Ferguson, completely unaware that the rebels had caught up to him, was at the top of the ridge with some 1,100 men.
Ferguson had not built any fortifications on his position. As the screaming Patriots charged up the hill, they caught the Loyalists by surprise.
After an hour of combat, Loyalist casualties were heavy. In an attempt to rally his faltering men, Ferguson shouted out "Hurrah, brave boys, the day is ours!", gathered a few officers together and attempted to cut through the Patriot ring, but Ferguson was shot dead from his horse. Seeing their leader fall, all of the Loyalists began to surrender.
Coming after a series of disasters and humiliations in the Carolinas—the fall of Charleston and capture of the American army there, the destruction of another American army at the Battle of Camden, the Waxhaws Massacre—the surprising, decisive victory at Kings Mountain was a great boost to Patriot morale.
"This brilliant victory marked the turning point of the American Revolution." -Theodore Roosevelt, The Winning of the West