In this program, Lord Cornwallis has ordered Major Patrick Ferguson, a Scotsman, to form the Loyalists into a strong royal militia. In late September 1780, Ferguson took up post near present day Rutherfordton, NC. From there he dispatched a paroled Whig prisoner to Colonel Isaac Shelby in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. He informed them that "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 waste with fire and sword."
On September 25, 1780 the "overmountain men" began to gather under Colonels Charles McDowell, John Sevier, Isaac Shelby, and William Campbell at Sycamore Shoals, on the Watauga River in present day Tennessee. They began an arduous march, picking up recruits along the way. After a march of nearly 200 miles, they arrived at Kings Mountain, on the afternoon of October 7, 1780, where they had heard Loyalists were encamped. The Loyalists on the mountain were taken completely by surprise. The battle lasted for approximately one hour. The "overmountain men” killed 225 Loyalists including Patrick Ferguson, wounded 163, and took 716 prisoners. The Patriots losses were 28 killed and 62 wounded. This had been another case of civil war. Patrick Ferguson had been the only British soldier in the battle. He was buried on Kings Mountain.