Shannon Stirnweis (B. 1931) “Battle of King’s Mountain” Signed lower right. Original Oil painting on Illustration Board.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting is the original painting which was published on the Fleetwood First Day Cover for the U.S. 10c King’s Mountain stamp issued October 7, 1980.
Brimming with confidence after his overwhelming victory at Camden, S.C., British General Charles Cornwallis marched north, taking Charlotte on September 26, 1780. With him were 1,100 Loyalists under Major Patrick Ferguson. Ferguson had vowed to “hang the rebel leaders, and lay their country waste with fire and sword.” To meet his threat, backcountry militia — the toughest frontiersmen armed with long rifles — rallied under William Campbell. Ferguson took position atop the rugged crest of Kings Mountain, “a post,” he assured Cornwallis, “where I do not think I can be forced by a stronger enemy than that against us.” He was utterly wrong. On October 7, Campbell’s 900 men reached Kings Mountain and deployed for attack. Obeying their leader’s exhortation to “shout like hell and fight like devils!” they crept up the rocky, wooded slopes, firing from under cover. Hit from all sides, the Loyalists fell back. Major Ferguson was shot trying to rally them. His men threw down their arms, but before Campbell could halt the firing, the vengeful Rebels killed many more Tories. In just an hour Ferguson’s entire force was dead, wounded or captured. “A more total defeat was not practicable,” a rebel remarked dryly. Kings Mountain shattered Cornwallis’ invasion plans and forced him to pull back into South Carolina. The spectacular victory reinvigorated American morale. Where there had been only despair, now there was a gleam of hope.
Image Size: 17.25 x 15 in.