Loyalist view of Kings Mountain: Letter Written by Lt. Anthony Allaire

 

Death of Ferguson

 

Lt. Anthony Allaire was a New York-born Loyalist (Tory) whom British Col. Patrick Ferguson brought south when the latter was seconded to the South Carolina campaign.According to Draper, he was of Huguenot descent, born at New Rochelle in Westchester County, New York on 22 Feb 1755, and commissioned a Lieutenant in the Loyal American Volunteers where he served as Adjutant in Ferguson’s corp during the seige of Charleston, at Monks’ Corner, and in the up-country of North and South Carolina, including at King’s Mountain. He removed to New Brunswick, Canada in 1783 and died on his farm near Frederickton on 9 Jun 1838, “leaving a
daughter who intermarried with Lieutenant John Robinson of the army.” Lieutenant Allaire was also survived by his diary, which covers the period 5 Mar – 29 Nov 1780.

Did you ever wonder what the other side thought ? I have and browsing thought some internet sources, have found some very interesting primary sources. I thought you may be interested to read what the loyalists thought of Kings Mountain.

 

This is reprinted on a site called “The Loyalist Institute”  http://www.royalprovincial.com/history/battles/kingslet.shtml

King’s
Mountain
Extract of a Letter from Anthony Allaire

Extract from a letter from an officer,
dated Charlestown, January 30th, 1781.

This gentleman went from New York with a detachment drawn from the
Provincial Brigade
, which was commanded by the brave Major Patrick FERGUSON.

This letter gives the most circumstantial account yet received of the action
at King’s Mountain, in South Carolina, Oct. seventh.

“I think the last letter I wrote you was from Fort Moultrie, which I left a
few days after.

We marched to a place called Ninety Six, which is about two hundred miles
from Charleston; we lay there about a fortnight in good quarters, after which we
proceeded to the frontiers of South Carolina, and frequently passed the line
into North Carolina, and can say with propriety, that there is not a regiment or
detachment of his Majesty’s service, that ever went through the fatigues, or
suffered so much, as our detachment.

That you may have some faint idea of our suffering, I shall mention a few
particulars.

In the first place we were separated from all the army, acting with the militia; we never lay two
nights in one place, frequently making forced marches of twenty and thirty miles
in one night; skirmishing very often; the greatest part of our time without rum
or wheat flour-rum is a very essential article, for in marching ten miles we
would often be obliged to ford two or three rivers, which wet the men up to
their waists.

In this disagreeable situation, we remained till the seventh of October, when
we were attacked by two thousand five hundred Rebels, under the command of Gen.
Williams.

Col. FERGUSON had under his command eight hundred militia, and our
detachment, which at that time was reduced to an hundred men.

The action commenced about two o’clock in the afternoon, and was very severe
for upwards of an hour, during which the Rebels were charged and drove back
several times, with considerable slaughter.

When our detachment charged, for the first time, it fell to my lot to put a
Rebel Captain to death, which I did most effectually, with one blow of my sword;
the fellow was at least six feet high, but I had rather the advantage, as I was
mounted on an elegant horse, and he on foot.

But their numbers enabled them to surround us and the North Carolina regiment,
which consisted of about three hundred men.

Seeing this, and numbers being out of ammunition which naturally threw the
rest of the militia into confusion, our gallant little detachment, which
consisted of only seventy men, exclusive of twenty who acted as dragoons, and
ten who drove wagons, etc., when we marched to the field of action, were all
killed and wounded but twenty, and those brave fellows were soon crowded into an
heap by the militia.

Capt. DePEYSTER, on whom the command devolved, seeing it impossible to form
six men together, thought it necessary to surrender, to save the lives of the
brave men who were left.

We lost in this action, Maj. FERGUSON, of the Seventy-first regiment, a man
strongly attached to his King and country, well informed in the art of war,
brave, humane, and an agreeable companion-in short, he was universally esteemed
in the army, and I have every reason to regret his unhappy fate.

We lost eighteen men killed on the spot-Capt. RYERSON and thirty-two
Sergeants and privates wounded, of Maj. FERGUSON’s detachment.

Lieutenant M’GINNIS of ALLEN’s
regiment, Skinner’s brigade
, killed; taken prisoners, two Captains, four
Lieutenants, three Ensigns, one Surgeon, and fifty-four Sergeants and privates,
including the wounded, wagoners, etc.

The militia killed, one hundred, including officers; wounded, ninety; taken
prisoners about six hundred; our baggage all taken, of course.

The Rebels lost Brig.-Gen. Williams, and one hundred and thirty-five,
including officers, killed; wounded nearly equal to ours.

The morning after the action we were marched sixteen miles, previous to which
orders were given by the Rebel Col. Campbell (whom the command devolved on)
that should they be attacked on their march, they were to fire on, and
destroy their prisoners
.

The party was kept marching two days without any kind of provisions. The
officers’ baggage, on the third day’s march, was all divided among the Rebel
officers.

Shortly after we were marched to Bickerstaff’s settlement, where we arrived
on the thirteenth.

On the fourteenth, a court martial, composed of twelve field officers, was
held for the trial of the militia prisoners; when, after a short hearing, they
condemned thirty of the most principal and respectable characters, whom they
considered to be most inimical to them, to be executed;

and, at six o’clock in the evening of the same day, executed Col. MILLS,
Capt. CHITWOOD, Capt. WILSON, and six privates; obliging every one of their
officers to attend at the death of those brave, but unfortunate Loyalists, who
all, with their last breath and blood, held the Rebels and their cause as
infamous and base, and as they were turning off, extolled their King and the
British Government.

On the morning of the fifteenth, Col. Campbell had intelligence that Col.
TARLETON was approaching him, when he gave orders to his men, that should Col.
TARLETON come up with them, they were immediately to fire on Capt. DePEYSTER and
his officers, who were in the front, and then a second volley on the men.

During this day’s march the men were obliged to give thirty-five Continental
dollars for a single ear of Indian corn, and forty for a drink of water, they
not being allowed to drink when fording a river; in short, the whole of the
Rebels’ conduct from the surrender of the party into their hands is incredible
to relate.

Several of the militia that were worn out with fatigue, and not being able to
keep up, were cut down, and trodden to death in the mire.

After the party arrived at Moravian Town, in North Carolina, we officers were
ordered in different houses. Dr. JOHNSON (who lived with me) and myself were
turned out of our bed at an unseasonable hour of the night, and threatened with
immediate death if we did not make room for some of Campbell’s officers;

Dr. JOHNSON was, after this, knocked down, and treated in the basest manner,
for endeavoring to dress a man whom they had cut on the march.

The Rebel officers would often go in amongst the prisoners, draw their
swords, cut down and wound those whom their wicked and savage minds prompted.

This is a specimen of Rebel lenity-you may report it without the least
equivocation, for upon the word and honor of a gentleman, this description is
not equal to their barbarity. This kind of treatment made our time pass away
very disagreeably.

After we were in Moravian Town about a fortnight, we were told we could not
get paroles to return within the British lines; neither were we to have any till
we were moved over the mountains in the back parts of Virginia, where we were to
live on hoe cake and milk;

in consequence of this, Capt. TAYLOR, Lieut. STEVENSON and myself, chose
rather to trust the hand of fate, and agreeable to our inclinations, set out
from Moravian Town the fifth of November, and arrived at the British lines the
twentieth.

From this town to Ninety Six, which was the first post we arrived at, is
three hundred miles; and from Ninety Six to Charlestown, two hundred, so that my
route was five hundred miles.

The fatigues of this jaunt I shall omit till I see you, although I suffered
exceedingly; but thank God am now in Charlestown in good quarters.”

The Royal Gazette, (New York), February 24, 1781.

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