Kings Mountain National Military Park
OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure
Welcome to the audio-described version of Kings Mountain National Military Park's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Kings Mountain National Military Park visitors receive. The brochure explores the Southern Campaign of the American Revolutionary War, the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about sixty minutes, which we have divided into six sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections one through four cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding the battle of Kings Mountain, weapons and tactics, and a timeline of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution in the Carolinas. Sections five and six cover the back of the brochure and consist of the history of the park's formation, what amenities the park offers, and a park map.
OVERVIEW: Kings Mountain National Park
Kings Mountain National Military Park, located in upstate South Carolina, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 3,945 acre park is situated 45 minutes southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina just off of Interstate 85 and is adjacent to South Carolina's Kings Mountain State Park. This park, established in 1931, is part of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Parks Group, which connects four significant Revolutionary War sites in the South together. The group includes Cowpens National Battlefield, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Ninety Six National Historic Site, and the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. We invite you to explore the battlefield that Thomas Jefferson called "the turn of the tide" in the American struggle for independence. Take
a walk in the shoes of those Patriots and Loyalists who fought here and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the mixed hardwood forest that exists today. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, tactile maps of the region and audio-described museum exhibits also can be found at the visitor's center. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.
OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure
The front of the brochure includes text, paintings, illustrations, images of artifacts, and a map of battles in the Southern Campaign in the Carolinas. The top section relays the story of march to Kings Mountain and the resulting battle. The two middle sections explore the significance of the weapons and tactics used and their influence on the battle's outcome. The bottom section depicts how the battle of Kings Mountain fits into the timeline of the Southern Campaign in the Carolinas. Descriptions and text are presented under their own sections.
IMAGE and TEXT: Battle of Kings Mountain
This wide, panoramic painting depicts an expansive scene from the battle of Kings Mountain. The landscape shows a wooded hillside, with several large tree trunks and small bits of undergrowth shown prominently slightly downhill from the crest. Heavy white smoke hangs in the air among the trees and bushes. The top of the hill is a barren green field, with a slight haze of white smoke.
At the bottom of the painting, among the sizable tree trunks, six men in tan, fringed hunting frocks carrying muskets and rifles are shown in various states of movement. On the far left, one man with brushed-back brown hair crouches behind a tree and talks into the ear of his comrade. This man, who wears a round-brimmed flop hat with a white scrap of paper tucked into the hatband, holds a cocked rifle at the ready position close to his chest as he crouches behind the same tree. On his right, another man wearing similar dress and hat, with his hair pulled back into a short ponytail, has stepped out from behind the tree and is in the act of firing his rifle uphill at the enemy: fire shoots up from his flint-and-steel ignition, and a jet of flame spurts out of his rifle barrel. To his right, a hat-less bearded man wearing a serious expression holds his rifle at the ready position, close to his chest with the barrel pointed up, as he crouches behind a large tree. Next to him stands a man in a fringed hunting frock wearing a flop hat that is cocked in the back, where he has placed two red-and-white feathers to complement his scrap of white paper. He has just stepped out from behind a tree trunk and is bringing his rifle to a firing position. The last man on the far right, who wears a brown tricorn hat, ducks down behind a tree, holding onto his hat with one hand.
At the top of the hill, a man in a blue, white, and red checked-shirt and cocked hat rides a brown and white horse. He carries a sword in his left hand and is looking down the hill, toward the men moving among the tree trunks. In front of him, four soldiers in red military coats lie prone on the ground, injured or dying. Behind him, in the haze of white smoke, several dozen soldiers in red coats and black tricorn hats are in the act of loading their weapons: several have ramrods pulled out to push their ammunition into their muskets.
Battle of Kings Mountain, Louis S. Glanzman
By 1780 the northern campaign of the American Revolutionary War had been fought to a stalemate, and England turned its military strategy toward the South. The tactic seemed simple: re-establish the southern royal colonies, march north to join loyalist troops at the Chesapeake Bay, and claim the seaboard. But a sudden battle in the wilderness exposed the folly of England’s scheme and changed the course of this nation.
TEXT: Britain’s Thrust to Regain the South
In early 1780 England turned its military efforts to the South. At first the British forces seemed unstoppable. In May Sir Henry Clinton captured Charleston, S.C., the South’s largest city. The British quickly set up garrisons, using military force to gain control. Before 1780 only scattered incidents of torture and murder had occurred in the Carolinas, but with the return of the British army the war in the South became brutal. Loyalists (tories) plundered the countryside; patriots (whigs) retaliated with burning and looting—with neighbors fighting each other. The British believed that the southern colonies teemed with loyalists, and they were banking on those supporters to persuade reluctant patriots to swear allegiance to the Crown. Gen. Lord Cornwallis ordered Maj. Patrick Ferguson, reputed to be the best marksman in the British Army, to gather these loyalists into a strong militia. Ferguson recruited a thousand Carolinians and trained them to fight with muskets and bayonets using European open-field tactics. In the summer, as Ferguson roamed the Carolina upcountry, frontier patriots swept across the mountains to aid their compatriots of the Piedmont.
In August Cornwallis routed Gen. Horatio Gates and patriot forces at Camden, S.C. Learning of the defeat, the frontier militia went home to harvest crops and strengthen their forces. Taking advantage of their departure, Cornwallis mounted an invasion of North Carolina. He sent Ferguson, commander of his left flank, north into western North Carolina. In September Ferguson set up post at Gilbert Town (see map below). From here Ferguson sent a message to the “backwater men” (over-mountain patriots) threatening to kill them all if they did not submit. Enraged, they vowed to finish Ferguson once and for all.
On September 26, returning over-mountain forces gathered at Sycamore Shoals under Cols. William Campbell, Isaac Shelby, Charles McDowell, and John Sevier. The next morning they began an arduous march through mountains covered with an early snowfall. They reached Quaker Meadows on October 1 and joined 350 local militia under Cols. Benjamin Cleveland and Joseph Winston. Ferguson, learning from spies that the growing force was pursuing him, headed toward Charlotte. The patriots reached Gilbert Town on October 4, but soon discovered that Ferguson had abandoned his camp. They rode on, reaching Cowpens on October 6, where they were joined by 400 South Carolinians led by Colonel Williams and Colonel Lacey. Ferguson’s trail had been hard to follow, but now they learned that he was near Kings Mountain—only about 30 miles away.
Ferguson reached Kings Mountain on October 6, where he decided to await his enemy. Kings Mountain—named for an early settler and not for King George III—is a rocky spur of the Blue Ridge rising 150 feet above the surrounding area. Its forested slopes, sliced with ravines, lead to a summit, which in 1780 was nearly treeless. This plateau, 600 yards long by 60 yards wide at the south west and 120 yards wide at the northeast, gave Ferguson a seemingly excellent position for his army of 1,000 loyalist militia and 100 red-coated Provincials.
TEXT: Turning Point in the Carolina Wilderness
Fearing that Ferguson might escape again, the patriots selected 900 of the best riflemen to push on, with Campbell of Virginia as commander. They rode through a night of rain—their long rifles protected in blankets—and arrived at Kings Mountain after noon, Saturday, October 7. The rain, now stopped, had muffled their sounds, giving Ferguson little warning of their approach. They hitched their horses within sight of the ridge, divided into two columns, and encircled the steep slopes. About 3 pm Campbell’s and Shelby’s regiments opened fire from below the southwestern ridge. The loyalists rained down a volley of musket fire, but the forested slopes provided good cover for the attackers. The patriots, skilled at guerrilla tactics used on the frontier, dodged from tree to tree to reach the summit. Twice, loyalists drove them back with bayonets. Finally the patriots gained the rest, driving the enemy toward the patriots who were attacking up the northeastern slopes.
Surrounded and silhouetted against the sky, the loyalists were easy targets for the sharpshooters and their long rifles. Punishing his horse, Ferguson was everywhere, a silver whistle in his mouth trilling commands. Suddenly several bullets hit Ferguson. He fell, one foot caught in a stirrup. His men helped him down and propped him against a tree, where he died. Captain DePeyster, Ferguson’s second in command, ordered a white flag hoisted but, despite loyalist cries of surrender, the patriot commanders could not restrain their men. Filled with revenge they continued to shoot their terrified enemy for several minutes, until Campbell finally regained control.
The over-mountain men accomplished their mission in little over an hour. Ferguson was dead. Lost with him was Cornwallis’ entire left flank. This militia, fighting on its own terms and in its own way, turned the tide on England’s attempt to conquer the South and so the nation.
TEXT: Introduction to Kings Mountain Campaign
These men hailed from valleys around the headwaters of the
Holston, Nolichucky, and Watauga rivers. Most were of Scots-Irish ancestry, a
hardy people who were hunters, farmers, and artisans. Years earlier they had
formed settlements that were remote and nearly independent of royal authority
in the eastern counties. Fiercely self-reliant, they were little concerned or
threatened by the five-year-old war fought primarily in the northern colonies
and along the coast.
These men hailed from valleys around the headwaters of the Holston, Nolichucky, and Watauga rivers. Most were of Scots-Irish ancestry, a hardy people who were hunters, farmers, and artisans. Years earlier they had formed settlements that were remote and nearly independent of royal authority in the eastern counties. Fiercely self-reliant, they were little concerned or threatened by the five-year-old war fought primarily in the northern colonies and along the coast.
IMAGES and TEXT: Ferguson and his rifle design
IMAGE 1 of 3: Patrick Ferguson
This is a rectangular portrait painting of Major Patrick Ferguson during his service in the American Revolutionary War. He is framed against a battlefield background of a reddish-orange sky, with heavy black and white smoke. He wears a British military uniform, complete with red coat with greenish-gold trim, brass buttons, and gold epaulets. Underneath the coat, he wears a white waistcoat and white cravat properly tied around his neck. White breeches complete the outfit. He has a stocky build, with a clean-shaven face and red hair pulled neatly back into a cue. His face is set in a determined expression. He holds his famous Ferguson breechloading rifle in front of him against his right side, his right index finger poised to pull the trigger. A brass-handled sword held in a white-strapped scabbard comes across his right shoulder to rest on his left side.
Maj. Patrick Ferguson, the only Briton who fought at Kings Mountain, was born in Scotland in 1744 and began his military career at 14. Fascinated by firearms, he redesigned the breechloading flintlock rifle to increase firing speed and reduce fouling (clogging of the mechanism). In wind and rain he fired a series of four shots per minute while walking and six per minute while standing still. In 1776 his rifle received the Crown’s patent. Of the 100 to 200 rifles produced (sporting, infantry, and officer’s models), only a few exist today.
IMAGE 2 of 3: Breechloading rifle
An illustration of a military-style flintlock breechloading rifle is displayed horizontally. From the left, it has a dark-brown wooden stock, roughly triangular-shaped. Next, it has a steel lock firing mechanism, composed of the flint in the jaws of the cock (hammer) and an oval-shaped steel that it strikes to initiate ignition. A steel trigger and oval-shaped trigger guard sit underneath the lock. The stock narrows to a tube shape and feeds with the lock into the steel, tube-shaped barrel, which is nestled in the continuation of the wooden stock. On the far right, a steel stick-like rammer emerges from underneath the barrel, tucked into channels in the stock.
Running underneath about halfway up the triangular shape of the stock and connected to trigger guard is the knobbed handle of the trigger guard, which will activate the breechloading plug, a cylinder-shaped screw that will open the chamber into the interior of the barrel breech.
Ferguson Breechloading Rifle .65 caliber, Sporting Model Ennis of Edinburgh, maker
Louis S. Glanzman
IMAGE 3 of 3: Loading the rifle
An illustration of the loading process for the Ferguson breechloading rifle, featuring a close-up look at the lock and breechloading plug. At the top left, an off-white and brown, crescent-shaped powder horn curves downward toward the lock of the rifle. The knobbed handle of the trigger guard, which activates the breechloading plug has been turned and the cylinder shaped screw has opened the breech to allow loading. From the narrow spout of the open powder horn pours several tiny granules of black powder into the open barrel breech, where the granules come to rest against the already-loaded rifle ball.
Powder enters chamber from tip of horn. Lead ball rests on rifling lands (grooves). Breechloading plug, open.
Louis S Glanzman
Ferguson’s breechloading rifle works simply. A plug screws into the breech perpendicular to the barrel. The triggerguard attaches to the bottom of the plug and serves as a handle. To open it, turn the triggerguard clockwise one revolution until the top of the plug is flush with the bottom of the powder chamber. This opens a hole in the top of the barrel. Lower the muzzle of the barrel slightly and drop a ball into the hole. Next, pour a charge of gunpowder into the cavity behind the ball. Close and seal the plug by rotating the triggerguard one turn counter-clockwise. Prime, cock, and fire.
IMAGES and TEXT: Musket vs. American long rifle
Kings Mountain was the only battle in the war in which the primary weapon of the patriot forces was the American long rifle. The flintlock muzzleloading musket, called the Brown Bess was the standard issue for the British and Continental forces because it could be fired quickly—three to four times a minute—making it the rapid-fire weapon of the 1700s. Soldiers typically carried prepackaged paper cartridges that held a measure of gunpowder and a ball. A skilled shooter could prime, load, and fire in seconds. The musket was wildly inaccurate and only a massed volley inflicted serious injuries. In open-field warfare, troops lined up two ranks deep and volley-fired until one side could finish the job with bayonets. The patriot militia (citizen soldiers) used the American long rifles that they prized at home for protection and for hunting. They were accurate but took about one minute to load. Long rifles were best used when stalking prey—a bitter lesson learned here by the loyalists.
IMAGE 1 of 2: British Brown Bess Musket
A color photograph of a military musket and bayonet, both displayed horizontally. From the left, the musket has a dark-brown wooden stock, roughly triangular-shaped. Next, it has a steel lock firing mechanism, composed of the flint in the jaws of the cock (hammer) and an oval-shaped steel that it strikes to initiate ignition. A steel trigger and oval-shaped trigger guard sit underneath the lock. The stock narrows to a tube shape and feeds with the lock into the steel, tube-shaped barrel, which is nestled in the continuation of the wooden stock. On the far right, a steel stick-like rammer emerges from underneath the barrel, tucked into channels in the stock.
Above the musket on the right side, a steel socket bayonet is displayed horizontally. From the left, the steel cylindrical tube, with a rectangular-shaped socket cut into it to allow it to fit on the musket barrel, runs into an offset triangular-shaped blade that tapers to a sharp point.
British Brown Bess Musket .75 caliber, with bayonet
Valley Forge NHP, Neumann Collection
A 1780 military musket had a smooth bore .75-caliber barrel (inside diameter) that fired a .69-caliber lead ball. The loose-fitting ball bounced from side to side inside the barrel when fired, causing it to wobble in flight. This gave the musket an effective range of about 75 yards. A 16-inch triangular bayonet completed the weapon.
IMAGE 1 of 2: American Long Rifle
A color photograph of a civilian American long rifle, displayed horizontally. From the left, the rifle has a chesnut-colored wooden stock, roughly triangular-shaped, with a circle insignia stamped into the top left corner. Next, it has a bronze-colored steel lock firing mechanism, composed of the flint in the jaws of the cock (hammer) and an oval-shaped steel that it strikes to initiate ignition. A steel trigger and oval-shaped trigger guard sit underneath the lock. The stock narrows to a tube shape and feeds with the lock into the tube-shaped, bronze-colored octagonal barrel, which is nestled in the continuation of the wooden stock. On the far right, a wooden stick-like rammer emerges from underneath the barrel, tucked into channels in the stock.
American Long Rifle .50 caliber
Valley Forge NHP, Neumann Collection
Rifling, the spiral grooving within the length of a gun barrel, stabilized the lead ball in flight by forcing it to spin on its axis like a gyroscope. The long rifle’s slender barrel (about 48 inches long with a .50- caliber bore) allowed the gunpowder to fully combust. This extra energy thrust the spinning ball faster and farther—up to 300 yards.
TIMELINE: Southern campaign in the Carolinas
May 12, 1780:
After a month-long siege, General Clinton defeats American General Lincoln and captures Charleston, S.C., America’s fourth largest city and commercial capital of the South. The only Continental Army in the South—18 regiments, including the entire South Carolina and Virginia Lines and one-third of the North Carolina Line—is lost. The loyalists capture 5,500 men (the largest number of patriot prisoners taken at one time), seven generals, 290 Continental officers, and several ships. It is the worst patriot defeat of the war. Patriots and loyalists engage in savage partisan warfare. Both sides report burning, looting, torture, and murder.
May 29, 1780:
Near Waxhaws, S.C., Col. Banastre Tarleton attacks a column of about 400 Virginia patriots. Overpowered, the patriots raise a white flag and ask for quarter (to show clemency or mercy to a defeated foe). Tarleton ignores their plea. The loyalists slaughter 113, maim over 100 who are left to die, and take 53 prisoners. The massacre earns Tarleton the nickname “Bloody Ban,” and “give them Tarleton’s quarter” becomes a patriot cry for revenge.
August 16, 1780:
Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates, hero of the 1777 battle of Saratoga, N.Y., hopes to surprise the British garrison at Camden, S.C. In late July Gates leaves Hillsborough, N.C., with Continentals, untrained militia, and too few provisions. At Camden on August 16, Gates deploys 3,000 troops against Cornwallis’s skilled 2,000. Ill-prepared for battle, Gates’s left flank militia flees, and the right flank is overwhelmed. Patriots lose 1,100—and their general who abandons them and quickly returns to North Carolina.
Cornwallis begins his invasion northward. He commands the center force; Tarleton leads the right (eastern) flank; and Ferguson leads 1,100 men on the left (western) flank. At Gilbert Town, Ferguson dispatches a message to Colonel Shelby of the “backwater men”—“If they did not desist from their opposition to the British arms, he would march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders, and lay their country to waste with fire and sword.” It is a challenge the patriots cannot ignore.
Forces hunting Ferguson meet at Sycamore Shoals. Handpicked sharpshooters head for Kings Mountain. African Americans also join the chase. On October 7 Essius Bowman, a freeman, is one of the men said to have shot Major Ferguson. After the battle many men head home, but others march the prisoners to the Continental Army post at Hillsborough. Feelings for revenge are high. On October 14 patriots sentence 36 prisoners to die and hang nine. Colonel Shelby pardons the rest, and the killings cease. All but 130 prisoners escape.
With hindsight Clinton says, “The instant I heard of Major Ferguson’s defeat, I foresaw the consequences likely to result from it.” He calls it “the first link in a chain of evils that . . . ended in the total loss of America.” Ferguson’s fate weighs heavily on Cornwallis. He retreats south to his winter quarters, giving the Continental Army time to organize a new offensive. Gen. Nathanael Greene replaces Gates as commander of the Continental Army’s Southern Department.
Greene seizes the military initiative in the Carolinas.
• January 17—Cowpens: General Morgan’s army of Continentals and militia defeats Tarleton’s force of British regulars.
• March 15—Guilford Courthouse: Cornwallis defeats Greene but at such a cost that he stopsfighting and retreats to North Carolina’s coast.
• May 22 to June 19—Ninety Six: Greene lays siege to Britain’s important outpost; he fails to capture the fort, but loyalists soon abandon the garrison.
• October 19—Yorktown: Cornwallis surrenders to George Washington.
MAP: Battles of 1780—1781
This map is one of three maps in the Kings Mountain National Military Park brochure. It is untitled and represents the geographical area of the states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. The map's primary purpose is historical--it highlights some of the major battles in the Southern Campaign, particularly in the Carolinas--but it also shows geographical and ecological features. Major battles are depicted with a yellowish-orange asterisk, and influential settlements and towns in the Kings Mountain story are noted with a black dot. The map notes that modern state boundaries are shown for reference.
Northwest/Top Left Quadrant
To the northwest, in the top left corner of the map in modern-day Tennessee, sits the settlement of Sycamore Shoals along the banks of the Watauga River, which flows northwest from western North Carolina into eastern Tennessee. Here it feeds into the South Branch of the Holston River, which meanders in a southwesterly direction from southwest Virginian into eastern Tennessee. Just south of Sycamore Shoals, two more rivers cut from western North Carolina into eastern Tennessee. The Nolichucky River runs just below Sycamore Shoals, flowing from east to west in a rough arc; the French Broad River makes a broad northwest arc from southwestern North Carolina into eastern Tennessee, where it joins with the Nolichucky. South and slightly east of Sycamore Shoals and over the modern North Carolina border sits the settlement of Quaker Meadows along the Catawba River, and south and slightly west of Quaker Meadows lies Gilbert Town. Almost due east of Gilbert Town is the settlement of Charlotte, just east of the Catawba River. The battle of Kings Mountain, lying about 35 miles southwest of Charlotte just over the South Carolina state line, is highlighted in bold text and the largest yellowish-orange asterisk on the entire map: the text reads, "Kings Mountain, October 7, 1780," the date of the battle. Almost due west of Kings Mountain and still in South Carolina, another yellowish-orange asterisk denotes the battle of Cowpens: the text reads, "Cowpens, January 17, 1781." In the bottom right corner of the quadrant, southeast of Kings Mountain, an asterisk denotes the battle of Waxhaws: the text reads, "Waxhaws, May 29, 1780."
Southwest/Bottom Left Quadrant
To the southwest, in the upper left corner of the southwest quadrant in South Carolina, sits Ninety Six, site of an important colonial settlement and longest siege of the American Revolution: the text reads, "Ninety Six, May 22 through June 19, 1781." Ninety Six rests due east of the Georgia border, between the Savannah River, which flows southeast toward the Atlantic Ocean, and the Saluda River, which flows southeast until it joins with the Broad River near the middle of South Carolina. East and slightly north of Ninety Six, in the top right corner of the quadrant, an asterisk depicts the battle of Camden: the text reads, "Camden, August 16, 1780."
Northeast/Top Right Quadrant
In the northeast quadrant, the Pee Dee and Cape Fear Rivers run parallel to one another through North Carolina, northwest to southeast, the Pee Dee on the left and the Cape Fear on the right, approximately 100 miles apart. In the upper left corner of the quadrant, adjacent to the Cape Fear River, an asterisk marks the site of the battle of Guilford Courthouse: the text reads, "Guilford Courthouse, March 15, 1781." Just east of Guilford Courthouse, across the Cape River River, sits the town of Hillsborough.
Southeast/Bottom Right Quadrant
In the upper right corner of the southeast quadrant, the Cape Fear River empties into the Atlantic Ocean, off of the North Carolina coast. Approximately 100 miles south along the Carolina coastline, which runs in a diagonal line from the upper right to the bottom left of the quadrant, the Pee Dee River empties into the Atlantic Ocean off of the South Carolina coast, approximately 50 miles north of Charleston. A yellowish-orange asterisk marks the siege of Charleston: the text reads, "Charleston, March 29-May 12, 1780." The Atlantic Ocean dominates the bottom right of this quadrant.
IMAGE: Siege of Charleston
A black-and-white engraving of a siege scene. A flat peninsula of land juts into a body of water. At the far end of the peninsula, right on the water, sits a small city, a cluster of small buildings punctuated by the spires of three church steeples. In the foreground, dirt has been piled up into a line of earthwork. Two cannons on wooden wheeled carriages have been pushed into rectangular-shaped openings cuts into the earthwork; they face the small city. Soldiers in military dress stand next to the cannons to tend them. Along the earthwork, other men use pickaxes to dig more trench line and build more earthworks. Further behind the earthwork, a soldier sits mounted on a horse while holding the reigns of another horse. On the far left, two soldiers sit in conversation next to cylinder-shaped wooden gabions; next to them stand two soldiers looking across the earthwork toward the city. A cannon sits unused, along with a wooden artillery carriage. Next to them, three soldiers stand and sit in conversation, with a couple of wooden gabions strewn among them; one in Highlander dress, complete with kilt and stockings, stands with a musket resting in his hand. On the far right, five men stripped down to shirts and breeches dig more trench line with shovels and pickaxes as an officer on horseback and a standing officer watch.
This mid-1800s engraving portrays the siege of Charleston, S.C.
Johnson, Fry and CO. , 1860
IMAGE: Col. William Campbell
A rectangular-shaped portrait painting of Colonel William Campbell, shown from his chest to the top of his head. His body is angled to the left, as is his gaze. A black tricorn hat with white trim sits on his head, covering reddish-brown hair pulled back loosely and tied with a black ribbon at the nape of his neck. He wears white shirt with a ruffled collar and plain black stock tied around his neck. A fringed tan hunting shirt, sitting open to show his ruffled collar, fits neatly over his shoulders. His steel-blue eyes peer out steadily, contributing to his firm expression. His strong cleft chin just from his line face, which displays a slight hint of rosy color.He poses in front of a clear blue sky, with a hint of green and golden autumnal forest behind his right shoulder.
Virginia Col. William Campbell commands the patriot forces at the Battle of Kings Mountain.
OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure
The back of the brochure includes text, illustrations, historic photographs, images, and maps of the park and the battlefield trail. The top section relays the story of how the battlefield became a national park. The bottom section contains information for exploring and enjoying the battlefield and the park. Descriptions and text are presented under their own sections.
TEXT: From wilderness battle to national park
As news of the patriot victory at Kings Mountain spread, Cornwallis’ plan to pacify the Carolinas with the help of loyalist militia had no chance for success. Patriots began to enlist, while loyalists lost courage and refused to serve. For the patriots the news was exciting and desperately needed. For the loyalists this turn of events dealt the deathblow to their cause, leading eventually to the British surrender at Yorktown.
Word of the triumph spread quickly across the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia. But it took a full month for the news to reach the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. On November 7, 1780, Joseph Greer—after walking from the Carolinas and finding his way with a compass—delivered the account of the “complete victory” at the battle of Kings Mountain to the Congress.
For years the battlefield lay neglected. In 1815 Dr. William McLean, a former patriot surgeon, organized the first commemorative ceremony at the battlefield. After directing the cleanup of the site, which included reburying soldiers’ bones unearthed over the years by erosion and animals, McLean dedicated a monument to the fallen patriots and to British Maj. Patrick Ferguson. In 1855 about 15,000 people attended the battle’s 75th anniversary celebration. In 1880 a centennial association unveiled a 28-foot monument. But local enthusiasm waned despite these celebrations, and the area again fell into neglect.
In 1899 a new caretaker stepped in—the Kings Mountain chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The women launched a campaign to restore local interest, acquire the battlefield and surrounding land, and obtain national recognition. The 83-foot U.S. Monument was dedicated in 1909, but the federal government remained largely indifferent to the significance of the battle site. Undaunted, the DAR, local officials, and community activists continued their efforts, culminating in the spectacular 1930 sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary. In 1931 Congress established Kings Mountain National Military Park, giving the battlefield—and the men who fought here—the recognition earned so dearly in 1780.
IMAGE: South Carolina's Governor T.B. Jeter
This wide, panoramic illustration depicts a scene of battle commemoration. Several tall trees rise in the background, with a line of white canvas wedge tents arranged with military precision nestled beneath the treeline. The ground beneath them rises in elevation from left to right. A crowd of hundreds of spectators stand in front of the tents, with their attention turned toward the expansive field in the foreground. Soldiers stand in military formation in this field, arranged in columns and rows; three regimental flags flutter in the breeze. A group of six men stands beneath one of the lone trees that dot the field, their focus on the troops before them. Five of the six appear to be in military dress, with the sixth wearing a suit jacket. A few yards away from them to the left, an officer wearing a cocked hat with a plumed feather stands at attention, sword in hand. In the bottom left of the illustration, a clump of spectators dressed in fine clothes, the men wearing bowler hats and suits and the women wearing gowns and hats and carrying umbrellas observe a lone soldier with plumed hat, backpack, and weapon with bayonet attached, directly in front of them.
This engraving appeared in Frank Leslie's Illustrated newspaper on October 30, 1880. It shows South Carolina's Gov. T.B. Jeter reviewing military troops at the 100th anniversary of the battle.
IMAGES: President Hoover celebration speech
IMAGE 1 of 3: Souvenir program
A rectangular souvenir booklet. Running across the top of the program in bright blue bold capital letters and bordered by blue horizontal lines, the text reads: "SOUVENIR PROGRAM," followed immediately underneath by smaller bright blue capital letters in italics: "SESQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION." Immediately under this title, a name is scrawled in blue ink in cursive: "Mrs. Margaret A. Gist," the historian of the Kings Mountain Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution to whom the program belonged. Under this handwritten name, bold bright red all-caps text reads: "BATTLE OF KINGS MOUNTAIN-," followed underneath in smaller bright-red all-caps italics: "The Turning Point of the American Revolution." Under this title, in bold bright blue all-caps, "OCT. 7TH 1930," followed underneath in smaller bright-blue italics, "on the battleground in," followed underneath in larger bright-blue all-caps, "YORK COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA." To the right of this section of text, a handwritten note in blue ink reads, "York, SC."
Centered underneath all of this title text, a black-and-white rectangular historical photograph of President Herbert Hoover peers out from the page. The portrait shows Hoover's upper body, from torso to head. He wears a dark suit, with a white collared shirt, white tie, and dark vest underneath. His hair is neatly parted, combed, and oiled. His right eyebrow is slightly raised, and he wears an expression of grim determination. Underneath the portrait, black bold all-caps text reads, "PRESIDENT HERBERT HOOVER," followed immediately underneath in black bold text, "Principal Speaker."
Hoover's portrait is book-ended on both sides by illustrated soldiers in Revolutionary War period uniforms standing at attention, complete with muskets at the order position, stocks resting on the ground and barrels held firmly against their hips. The soldier on the left side wears a British uniform, with a bright red cone-shaped grenadier's hat, bright red coat, and white straps of his bayonet scabbard and canteen crisscrossed in an "X" across his torso. He wears white knee-length breeches and blue gaiters to protect his stockings from mud and brambles. The soldier on the right side wears an American Continental uniform, with a bright blue tricorn hat, bright blue coat, and white straps of his bayonet scabbard and canteen crisscrossed in an "X" across his torso.He also wears white knee-length breeches and blue gaiters to protect his stockings from mud and brambles.
The 30-page official souvenir program belonged to Mrs. Margaret A. Gist, historian of the Kings Mountain Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
IMAGE 2 of 3: Hoover speech crowd
This large, panoramic black-and-white historic newspaper photograph depicts the scene of a large commemorative gathering. The title of the newspaper and the edition runs horizontally along the top of the photograph in black letters: "Sunday, October 12, 1930, The New York Times, Picture Section, 6." In the background, clumps of a few scattered trees on a hillside rise into a cloudless sky. Underneath the trees and in the expansive field in front of the treeline, a crowd of thousands of spectators stands closely together facing toward the viewer. They fill the entire photograph, from the top of the hillside and down its banks to the bottom of the picture. Standing on a raised platform at the bottom of the picture are two men operating large cameras on tripods. The one on the left wears a dark suit and tie; the one on the right wears a short-sleeved collared shirt.
On Tuesday, October 7, 1930, President and Mrs. Hebert Hoover, Gov. John Richards of South Carolina, and Gov. Max Gardner of North Carolina came here to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain. Over 70,000 people squeezed onto the ridge to hear the President's speech, which was broadcast via radio throughout the United States and Great Britain.
IMAGE 3 of 3: President Hoover
This black-and-white historic photograph centers on President Herbert Hoover giving the keynote address at the 1930 sesquicentennial celebration. President Hoover stands in the center of the photo on a raised, roofed wooden grandstand platform. He is wearing a dark suit and white collared shirt and is looking down at the podium in front of him. The front of the podium is surrounded by microphones and audio equipment. A wooden rail runs horizontally in front of the podium and has two South Carolina state flags draped over: a blue background, with a palmetto tree in the center pf the field and a crescent in the upper left corner. Sitting behind President Hoover, a row of prominent men and women in formal dress look at the president as he speaks. An American flag hangs from the eaves of the wooden roof, in the upper left corner of the picture.
The event captured national media attention. This photo feature appeared in the New York Times the following Sunday.
This is a place of inspiring memories. Here less than a thousand men, inspired by the urge of freedom, defeated a superior force entrenched in this strategic position. This small band of patriots turned back a dangerous invasion well designed to separate and dismember the united colonies.
It was a little army and a little battle, but it was of mighty portent. History has done scant justice to its significance, which rightly should place it beside Lexington and Bunker Hill, Trenton, and Yorktown, as one of the crucial engagements in our long struggle for independence.
-President Herbert Hoover, October 7, 1930, atop King Mountain
TEXT: Exploring the Battlefield and Park
MAP and TEXT: The Battlefield Trail
CAPTION: View looking North. Scale varies. RELATED TEXT: The 1.5-mile self-guiding Battlefield Trail lets you see both the patriot and loyalist perspectives of the battlefield. The paved path winds along the slopes of the ridge, where the patriot forces attacked. The trail climbs and turns back across the top of the ridge, where the loyalist forces fought and surrendered. Along the way you pass markers for Major Chronicle and other patriot leaders, the 1930 Hoover Monument, the 1880 Centennial Monument, and the 1909 U.S. Monument. A granite memorial honors Ferguson of the 71st Regiment, High land Light Infantry, as an officer of distinction. A cairn marks his grave. The trail’s grade is moderate to steep. Allow about one hour to walk the loop.
View looking North. Scale varies.
The 1.5-mile self-guiding Battlefield Trail lets you see both the patriot and loyalist perspectives of the battlefield. The paved path winds along the slopes of the ridge, where the patriot forces attacked. The trail climbs and turns back across the top of the ridge, where the loyalist forces fought and surrendered. Along the way you pass markers for Major Chronicle and other patriot leaders, the 1930 Hoover Monument, the 1880 Centennial Monument, and the 1909 U.S. Monument. A granite memorial honors Ferguson of the 71st Regiment, High land Light Infantry, as an officer of distinction. A cairn marks his grave. The trail’s grade is moderate to steep. Allow about one hour to walk the loop.
IMAGE: U.S. monument
Color photograph of the U.S. Monument in autumn. A tall, white granite obelisk with two rectangular bronze plaques at its base thrusts into a bright, clear blue sky, situated in a cleared, grassy area surrounded by trees in the midst of the bright oranges, yellows, and reds of fall foliage. A small asphalt path runs toward the monument, from the bottom of the photo in a straight line. The monument sits at the top of a small rise.
The U.S. monument was dedicated in 1909.
TEXT: Visitor center
Begin your visit here where you will find information about the battle and the park, a film, and exhibits. A bookstore offers publications about the area’s military and cultural history, as well as its plants and animals. Rangers can answer questions and help you plan your visit. The visitor center is open 9 am to 5 pm daily, with extended hours in summer; it is closed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Columbus Day, Presidents Day, Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1.
In the summer, evening programs include concerts, ranger talks, and walks for all ages. Military encampments of the 1700s are presented on various weekends from March through November. On October 7 a ceremony commemorates the victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain.
IMAGE: 1700s-style encampment reenactment
Color photograph of a group of men in eighteenth century colonial dress standing clustered in a wooded area in late autumn. Some wear tricorn hats of brown or black; others wear knitted stocking caps of red, green, or blue. They wear hunting frocks of linen or canvas in a variety of colors: tan, navy, red, white, and nutmeg. One man on the left side of the picture wears white knee-length breeches with light blue stockings; one man on the right side of the picture wears brown trousers. The rest wear breeches with gaiters to protect their stockings from mud and brambles. For accouterments, one man carries a bedroll draped across his shoulder; one carries a white haversack with a tin cup tied to it and a brown wooden canteen with the initials "C. M." in white lettering; one man carries a white knapsack on his back. For loading their weapons, three men have black cartridge boxes carried on shoulder straps and draped across their bodies, coming to rest on their right hips; one man carries a brown possibles bag and powder horn on his left side.
Participants in a 1700s-style encampment take a break.
Together the national military and state parks offer 16 miles of hiking trails and 16 miles of horse trails. Hikers should register at the visitor center before hiking on backcountry trails.
The only camping allowed in the park is at a primitive back country site. Ask at the visitor center for in formation and a permit (free). The adjoining Kings Mountain State Park has a 116-site campground that is open year-round. The state park has tent, RV, and group sites.
TEXT: Kings Mountain State Park
The adjoining state park offers camping, picnicking, hiking and horse trails, boat rental, and a living-history farm with 19th-century buildings from the Piedmont area. For more information, contact:
Kings Mountain State Park
1277 Park Road
Blacksburg, SC 29702
TEXT: Safety and regulations
For a safe and enjoyable visit, please observe these regulations:
•Stay on established trails to help prevent erosion. Watch out for uneven footing and exposed tree roots.
•Lightning strikes frequently on the ridge top; seek lower ground during storms.
•Drivers should look out for pedestrians; foot traffic has the right of way.
•Be alert for snakes, stinging insects, ticks, and poison ivy.
• Pets must be leashed at all times.
•Horses, bicycles (including mountain bikes), and off-road vehicles are not allowed on hiking trails.
•Applicable federal and South Carolina firearms laws are enforced. See park website for details.
•Scooters, roller blades, and skateboards are prohibited.
•Federal law protects all historical and natural features. Metal detecting or digging for artifacts is strictly prohibited. Do not collect, damage, or remove any plants, wildlife, rocks, or artifacts. Please report any suspicious activity to a ranger.
In an emergency, contact a ranger or call 911.
TEXT: Getting here
Kings Mountain National Military Park is on S.C. 216 in Blacksburg, S.C., just south of the North and South Carolina border. The park is 60 miles north of Greenville, S.C. and 39 miles south of Charlotte, N.C. From I-85 take N.C. exit 2; drive south on S.C. 216 and follow signs to the park.
MAP: Kings Mountain National Military Park
This map is untitled and represents Kings Mountain National Military Park, Kings Mountain State Park, the southern third of Crowders Mountain State Park that connects with Kings Mountain State Park, and the immediate vicinity surrounding these parks. The map primarily shows park features and general information, but it also has some wayfinding, ecological and topographical information. The map is orientated with north at the top and represents an area of mixed hardwood forests, historical features related to the battle of Kings Mountain, and recreational opportunities . The Visitor’s Center is located in the center of the map, along highway 216 (Park Road) southeast of Exit 2 off of Interstate 85 and southwest of Highway 161.
The legend has symbols for amenities and wayfinding information. Amenities symbols include hiking trail (symbol dashed black line); horse and hiking trail (symbol black horse with rider on a dotted line); unpaved road (symbol grey line); picnic area (symbol picnic table); ranger station (symbol white building with flag); campground (symbol white wedge tent); primitive campsite (symbol black wedge tent); parking (symbol white bold capital "P"); restrooms (symbol universal man and woman); phone (symbol phone handset); and a distance indicator (symbol black text with miles and kilometers).
Amenities listed by location. Amenities will be listed by location clockwise starting from the Visitor’s Center. Compass points indicate quadrant of the park map.
Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center (located in the center of the map within the northwest quadrant, situated in the southeast section of the park ) – wheelchair accessible, drinking water, restrooms wheelchair accessible, auditorium with park film, museum, Eastern National bookstore, access to Battlefield Trail; access to 16-mile backcountry hiking trail loop
Crowders Mountain State Park (North Carolina) Boulders Contact Station (located northeast of the Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center, northeast quadrant of the map) - wheelchair accessible, drinking water, restrooms, picnic tables, access to the Ridgeline Trail that connects Crowders Mountain, Kings Mountain State Park, and Kings Mountain National Military Park
Kings Mountain State Park (South Carolina) equestrian and group camp (located east of the Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center, northeast quadrant of the map): primitive group tent sites and equestrian sites, access to water, privy toilets, access to 16-mile backcountry hiking loop, equestrian trailer parking across Park Road
Kings Mountain State Park camping and day use area (located northeast of the Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center and southeast of Crowders Mountain State Park Boulders Contact Station, northeast quadrant of the map) - 116-site campground, with tent and RV sites with water and electric hookup; drinking water, restrooms with showers, picnic tables, picnic shelters, Lake Crawford (bank fishing permitted with South Carolina fishing license), access to 16-mile backcountry hiking trail loop, living history farm trail, and nature trail
Kings Mountain State Park Living History Farm (located east of the Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center, northeast quadrant of the map) - replica of a 19th century South Carolina yeoman farm, including barn, cotton gin, blacksmith/carpenter shop, and historic garden
Kings Mountain State Park Cherokee Group Camp (located southeast of the Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center, southeast quadrant of the map) - Upper Palmetto YMCA’s Resident Camp, not open to the public
Kings Mountain State Park York Group Camp (located southeast of the Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center, southeast quadrant of the map) - available for rental, rustic group camp, cabins, central dining hall, industrial kitchen, central shower house, restrooms, dock for canoe or kayak use
Kings Mountain State Park primitive camping sites - (located south and southwest of the Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center, southwest quadrant of the map) - located on the 16-mile backcountry hiking loop, no amenities
Kings Mountain National Military Park Garner Creek backcountry campsite (located southwest of the Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center, northwest quadrant of the map) - 3-mile hike one-way from Visitor Center, fire ring, no other amenities
Amenities listed by category. Amenities will be listed by category, with location given in order clockwise starting from the Visitor’s Center. Compass points indicate quadrant of the park map.
Wheelchair accessible – Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center (located in the northwest quadrant of the map), Crowders Mountain State Park Boulders Contact Station (northeast)
Drinking water – Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center (located in the northwest quadrant of the map), Crowders Mountain State Park Boulders Contact Station (northeast), Kings Mountain State Park equestrian and group camp (northeast), Kings Mountain State Park camping and day-use area (northeast)
Restrooms wheelchair accessible –Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center (located in the northwest quadrant of the map), Crowders Mountain State Park Boulders Contact Station (northeast), Kings Mountain State Park camping and day-use area (northeast)
Picnic area – Crowders Mountain State Park Boulders Access Area (located in the northeast quadrant of the map), Kings Mountain State Park camping and day use area (northeast)
Telephone –Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center (located in the northwest quadrant of the map), Crowders Mountain State Park Boulders Contact Station (northeast), Kings Mountain State Park camping and day-use area (northeast)
Interpretive trail –Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center (located in the northwest quadrant of the map), Kings Mountain State Park camping and day-use area (northeast), Kings Mountain State Park Living History Farm (northeast)
Lodging –Kings Mountain State Park equestrian and group camp (northeast), Kings Mountain State Park camping and day-use area (northeast)
Campground –Kings Mountain State Park equestrian and group camp (northeast), Kings Mountain State Park camping and day-use area (northeast), Kings Mountain State Park primitive sites (southwest), Kings Mountain National Military Park Garner Creek backcountry campsite (southwest)
Roadways and Trails
The primary access road running through the area represented by the map is South Carolina Highway 216/Park Road, which runs from North Carolina Exit 2 off of Interstate 85 east through Kings Mountain National Military Park and Kings Mountain State Park, where it junctions with Highway 161. Several small roads intersect with Highway 216/Park Road. From west (left) to east (right) they are Antioch Road (access to Highway 29), Rock House Road, Yorkville-Shelbyville Road, Piedmont Road, Apple Road (access to Kings Mountain State Park equestrian parking and equestrian and group camp), Organized Camp Road (access to Kings Mountain State Park Living History Farm, Cherokee Group Camp, and York Group Camp), Love Valley Road (access to Crowders Mountain State Park Boulders Contact Station), and Highway 161 (access to city of Kings Mountain and town of York).
The Visitor’s Center is located in the northwest quadrant of the map, just off of Highway 216/Park Road.
There are several trails listed on the map. Near the Visitor Center is the Battlefield Trail, which loops 1.5 miles around the heart of the Revolutionary War battlefield. Also near the Visitor Center is the Kings Mountain National Recreation Trail, a 16-mile loop that goes through the national park and Kings Mountain State Park. The map also represents the Ridgeline Trail, which junctions with the National Recreation Trail two miles from the national park Visitor Center and connects the Kings Mountain parks with Crowders Mountain State Park's Boulders Contact Station. Two of Kings Mountain State Park's shorter trails are represented: the 1.2 mile loop Nature Trail, which begins in the picnic area; and the 1.5 mile one-way Living History Farm trail, which connects the Day Use Area with the Living History Farm. The map also shows the 20-mile loop Kings Mountain Horse Trail, which begins in the State Park equestrian parking lot off of Apple Road and runs through both the national and the state park.
Map Text by Quadrant
This is a list of all significant place names that appear on the map, divided into quadrants.
Highway 216/Park Road
Stonehouse Branch Creek
Dellingham Branch Creek
Rock House Road
Historic Trace of Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
National Park Administration Office
Browns Mountain Trail (2.6 miles one-way from Visitor Center)
National Recreation Trail (16-mile loop from Visitor Center)
Horse Trail (20-mile loop from equestrian parking in Kings Mountain State Park)
Boulders Contact Station, Crowders Mountain State Park
Ridgeline Trail (5.2 miles one-way to Boulders Contact Station from Kings Mountain National Military Park Visitor Center)
Love Valley Road
Long Branch Creek
Lake Crawford Trail (3 miles one-way from Visitor Center)
Equestrian and Group Camp (Kings Mountain State Park)
Equestrian Parking (Kings Mountain State Park)
Camping and Day-Use Area (Kings Mountain State Park)
Nature Trail (1.2 mile loop, Kings Mountain State Park)
Living History Farm Trail (1.5 mile one-way, Kings Mountain State Park)
Lake Crawford (Kings Mountain State Park)
Clark Fork Creek
Organized Camp Road
State Park Headquarters
Living History Farm (Kings Mountain State Park)
Long Branch Creek
Cherokee Group Camp (Kings Mountain State Park)
York Group Camp (Kings Mountain State Park)
Lake York (Kings Mountain State Park)
Clark Fork Creek
Garner Creek campsite (3.5 mile one-way hike from Visitor Center)
The visitor center, film, exhibits and restrooms are accessable for visitors with disabilities. Althuogh paved, the Battlefield Trail is steep in places, with severe cross-slopes: people with wheel chaird or strollers should use extreme caution. Service animals are welcome.
OVERVIEW: More information
Kings Mountain National Military Park is one of over 400 areas in the National Park System. To learn more visit, www.nps.gov.
2625 Park Road
Blacksburg, SC 29702-8386
Follow us on Facebook.
National Park Foundation. Join the park community, www.nationalparks.org.
To learn more about parks and National Park Service programs, visit www.nps.gov.