The Lincoln County Historical Association is holding the annual observance of the Battle of Ramsour's Mill this weekend. It was on June 20, 1780 that a group of about 400 revolutionaries defeated 1300 Loyalist militiamen in the Revolutionary War Battle of Ramsour's Mill.
Patriot General Griffith Rutherford learned that the Loyalists were assembling near Lincolnton. On June 19th, he ordered Lt. Colonel Francis Locke to call up the revolutionary militia. The group gathered about 16 miles northeast of Lincolnton. The British regulars, bolstered by Loyalist volunteers, had been involved in a campaign to retake the South. They had won a battle at Waxhaw, and a victory at Ramsour's Mill would further improve their morale and lessen that of the Patriots.
British General Cornwallis ordered the Loyalists under John Moore to wait for British regulars before engaging the revolutionaries. Locke sought a victory before Cornwallis could increase the numbers.
At first Locke's forces flanked the Loyalists and gained the upper hand, but arriving at the top of the hill near where Kiser School is now located, he was unable to form a solid line and ordered his men to fall back. John Dickey, a captain, refused. He led his company forward cursing as he went. The Patriots gained the hill and with it the victory.
Their defeat so badly demoralized the Loyalists that they never organized again in this area. Moore and about 30 men managed to reach Cornwallis at Camden, South Carolina where he threatened to charge them for disobeying his orders, but he relinquished after learning that it was the Patriots who had initiated the battle.
While Ramsour's Mill doesn't get the attention of some other Revolutionary War battles, it was immensely important. One might reasonably consider it the true turning point in the campaign that Cornwallis would eventually lose resulting in his surrender at Yorktown in October of the next year.
The observance of the Battle of Ramsour's Mill was moved to May instead of June in 2013 because thunderstorms are often present in June. The first year it was held in May, it was met with a rainy weekend.
This year's weather is ideal. The observance continues Sunday at 10 AM. There is no admission charge for the most of the activities (there is a $5 charge for the Ghost Walk hosted by historian and author Daniel Barefoot at 8:30 Saturday night)-- among them a battle site tour at 3 PM Sunday. The Battleground is located just off Jeb Seagle Drive near the Lincolnton High School stadium.
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