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South of the town of Kings Mountain, N.C., off I-85, is Kings Mountain National Military Park, one of the largest military parks in the United States. Spreading across York and Cherokee counties in South Carolina, this 3,950-acre area is a spur of the Kings Mountain Range. Battlefield Ridge, about 600 yards long, is a narrow hogback 60 feet above the surrounding valleys.
After several years of hostilities, only one Southern region remained undisturbed by the Revolutionary War—the southern Appalachians. That tenuous peace soon came to an end as British troops under Gen. Charles Cornwallis occupied vast areas of North and South Carolina.
In September 1780 Maj. Patrick Ferguson raided a mountain town. The threatened backwoodsmen joined forces with Whigs from Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina and converged on Kings Mountain, where Ferguson was camped. Although outnumbered by the trained Loyalists, the mountain men advanced steadily against repeated bayonet charges and took the summit. Ferguson, who had threatened to lay their country waste with fire and sword, was killed.
The park is the southern terminus of the 220-mile Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, which traces the Patriot army's assembly route from Abingdon, Va. Access to the trail primarily is by motor vehicles, but there are some hiking segments. In the park stand the United States Monument, Centennial Monument and other memorial markers. A self-guiding trail leads to significant battlefield sites. The visitor center offers exhibits, a film and a diorama of the battle as well as information about the national historic trail. Allow 1 hour minimum. Daily 9-5 (also Sat.-Sun. 5-6, Memorial Day-Labor Day). Closed Jan. 1, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Free. Phone (864) 936-7921.
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Current Location: Kings Mountain National Military Park, South Carolina