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Carolina Backcountry Campaign

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After surrender at Charlestown, southern defense was primarily led by local militias under the command of backcountry men. At the Battle of Waxhaws on May 29, 1780, American forces were massacred by the ruthless British under Colonel Banastre Tarleton despite their efforts to surrender. This instance of British brutality inspired many Patriots in the area, leading many fresh militiamen to join the American cause. Such impassioned recruits contributed to an inspiring Patriot victory at the Battle of Hanging Rock in August of 1780. Shortly after, Patriot forces drew a numerically superior British force into an ambush at the Battle of Musgrove’s Mill. Although an American victory, the battle’s end was greeted by news of American defeat at Camden and forces dispersed to aid the diminished army. Providing an air of confidence for the Patriots, the Battle of King’s Mountain saw a victorious American militia from the Carolina backcountry, the “Overmountain Men,” brutally ambush and decimate a Loyalist militia in October of 1780. Seen as an act of vengeance for Waxhaws, Patriot victory at King’s Mountain was a factor that led the British to abandon the North Carolina campaign.

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