“The Revolution’s epochal battle between patriots and Tories came on October 7, 1780, at Kings Mountain on the North Carolina-South Carolina border, when some 900 rebels annihilated a force of about 1,200 loyalists, all Americans but for the British officer who led them.
“The rebels took 698 prisoners and, for murky reasons of vengeance, held a campfire court martial that sentenced 36 of the captives to death. After nine were hanged — three at a time, from the limb of a great oak tree — officers stopped the lynching. On the march to prison, a survivor later wrote, an unknown number of captives, ‘worn out with fatigue, and not being able to keep up,’ were ‘cut down and trodden to death in the mire.’
“To Tories everywhere, Kings Mountain sounded a call to reality. All the combatants except Col. Patrick Ferguson had been American, and those who chose to fight for King George III had chosen the wrong side.”
– From “With Little Less Than Savage Fury” by Thomas B. Allen in American Heritage magazine (Fall 2010)