Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Jethro Sumner to John Penn [Extract]
Sumner, Jethro, 1733?-1785
October 12, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 785-786


October 12th, 1780.

“I arrived at Salisbury on September 14th & joined Gen. Davidson on the 21st. His Brigade was greatly reduced, not amounting to upwards of 20 privates fit for duty. On September 25th I was informed that the enemy had moved towards Charlotte. We marched into Charlotte at 6 o'clock in the morning, and found the

-------------------- page 786 --------------------
main British army advancing and only 12 miles away. Having positive orders not to risk a general engagement, & our force not being able to cope with the enemy's, I thought proper to order a retreat, having secured what provisions we could and all the public stores, leaving Colo. Davie with his horse to cover our retreat. The enemy entered the next day at noon. Col. Davie kept skirmishing with their horse as long as he could, repulsed them twice, but the enemy's foot coming up on the flanks rendered his retreat indispensable. On the 27th we arrived at Salisbury, and next day took post on the Yadkin. On the 10th we received agreeable news from the west. Colos. Campbell, Shelby, Sevier, Williams, Brandon, Lacy, etc., formed a junction of their forces, amounting to 3,000 men, of which they selected 1,600 horse to send on in pursuit of Ferguson, who was marching 1,400 men, the greatest part tories, to Charlotte. Our people overtook him near King's mountain, killed 150, took 810, including 150 wounded, and 1,500 stand of arms, with the loss of only twenty men on our side. Ferguson fell in the action, which lasted only 47 minutes. This defeat must greatly dispirit the disaffected, and operate advantageously in our favor. Among the letters intercepted the 7th instant is one from Cornwallis in cypher. It seems they meditate an excursion towards Cape Fear from both Camden and Georgetown, whilst their main body is to advance to Salisbury.”