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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Fractured United States

     The Battle of King Mountain, fought October 7, 1780, was one of the key battles of the Revolution, in that it severely damaged the ability of Cornwallis to execute upon his strategy to secure the Carolinas.  He had maintained confidence that he could still raise support from Loyalist elements.  He was wrong.  Here is a view of the battle monument on top of the "mountain."

     The battle was a bitter and brutal affair in South Carolina. Among its distinguishing features was that it was a battle fought between Americans--Loyalists and Patriots. The only "regular army" officer was Major Patrick Ferguson, leader of the Loyalist forces. 

     Currently, we are in the midst of another civil war, being fought in the media and in the voting booths.  Without physical casualties, it is nonetheless an exceedingly destructive war.  It has become a fight to the death.  There is no political discourse.  There are positions.  There are no arguments.  There is shoutdown and protest.  What we were in 1780 we are now in 2014.  People should go to King's Mountain and think about things.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Battle of Wyoming (Wilkes-Barre)

The Battle of Wyoming on July 3, 1778  exemplified the brutality of the war and the involvement of Native Americans in the conflict.  A string of American forts along the Susquehanna River served the settlers in the Wyoming Valley, but became the subject of bitter action following the British defeats at Oriskany and Fort Stanwix in 1777.  Loyalists, British regulars and Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Tuscarora and Seneca warriors, in a 700-man force led by Connecticut native Colonel John Butler raided the valley. Colonel Nathan Denison and Colonel Zebulon Butler commanded the Americans.   A combined British and Native American force defeated the Americans.

On July 4, the British demanded surrender of Forty Fort.  Initially signing terms of surrender, Denison later violated them and returned to fighting, only to lose.  Among the legacies of the battle was the rage that helped fuel General John Sullivan's campaign of devastation of Indian villages in the region in 1779.  Here is the scene today, of Forty Fort, lost on this day.