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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ramsour's Mill and the Campaign

This brutal skirmish was fought June 20, 1780, not far from Charlotte, North Carolina, in Lincoln County, between Loyalist and Patriot militiamen. Loyalist Colonel John Moore, not waiting for Cornwallis, precipitated an attack by Patriot Colonel Francis Locke. Though outnumbered two to one, the Patriot militia outflanked the Loyalists. Neighbor fought neighbor, and the retreat of the Loyalist force, much depleted, contributed to the ultimate loss of North Carolina and helped pave the way to Yorktown.

On the battle area site are various graves of the participants.  These were not British regulars or foreign soldiers.  They were all "Americans" living together on American soil.  Ramsour's Mill provides a window into our character, as we remain locked in a civil war today.  How much is ideology and how much simple assertion of power? American political life, like Ramsour's Mill, is zero sum: you are on one side or another, in a fight to the death.  Compromise is a lost (and apparently undesirable) art.  Rhetoric has replaced bullets, but the intent of personal destruction remains.

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