General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN

 


Cumberland Gap Patriot


Solomon Lewis
 

Solomon lewis, a great Tory and Indian  fighter and  soldier at the battle of Guilford Courthouse. Lewis was born in 1750 in Bladen county Nc. In 1779, Lewis joined  the  Nc Militia in  Surry county Nc under the command of Col. Armstrong. For the next 9 months, Lewis  fought Tories and Indians. For 3 months,Lewis served as an Indian spy with the job of scouting out Cherokee Indian Villages.
         Indians in North carolina had started out peaceful. In 1775, a shawnee delegation came to the Cherokee, and asked them to join them in raids of he White man settlements west of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, but the Cherokee refused. In july 1776, Dragging Canoe attcked the Watauga settlements starting a war that would last for over 3 years
    The year 1780 was a  big year for Lewis. Lewis met his first wife and had twin daughters. Lewis's first wife is unknown. Also In 1780, Lewis joined the command of Benjamin Cleveland.  For the next year, Lewis would participate in over 100 Tory skirmishes, and help capture the most Tories captured in NC. Although Cleveland was at Kings Mountain, Lewis doesn't mention Kings Mountain in his pension so its unclear whether  he was there or not.
   In 1781, Lewis joined with other Nc militia groups under the command of Nathaniel Greene, commander of the Continental army in the Southern campaign.  In February 1781, Greene wrote Thomas Jefferson, governor Of Virginia a letter saying" We stand  ten chances to one getting defeated by British should we ever engage them. Should we be defeated, all the Southern states will fall.
 On March 12, 1781, Greene decided to engage the British at Guilford Courthouse.  Lewis was part of the 1000 Nc militia under the command of brigadier General John Butler and Col. Thomas Eaton. the Nc  militia was the first line of defense located behind a rail line with woods to their rear.
  In the center of the first line was two small artilery pieces, probably  two 3 Pounder cannons also nicknamed Grasshoppers because they  hopped like grasshoppers when fired. they could fire on the British while they crossed the open fields.  The front left  flank was supported by Henry lee's Cavalry legion's, and Col. Richard Campbell's Continentals. The right front flank was supported by William Washington's cavalry, and a group of Continental sharpshooters under the command of Col. Charles Lynch.
 On March 15, 1781, the battle of  Guilford  Courthouse took place. the Nc Line fired two volleys at the British and then fled during a bayonet charge when teh British kept coming towards them. Greene would end up losing this battle only because he was the first to leave the field of battle. Historians say that Greene could have won thee battle if he had performed more aggressive maneuvers such as throwing both  front flanks agaisnt  British Commanders Ohara and Leslie  during a period of battle confusion which would have destroyed most of the British army.
 At the end of the battle of Guilford Courthouse, 93 British soldiers were killed, 413 wounded and 26 captured. Although Greene officially lost the battle he had wounded one- third of teh British army. Also no Southern state would fall due to this defeat as Greene had previously feared would happen.
  Lewis moved back to Surry county Nc after this battle. In 1790, lewis Married Catherine Moon and had 1 child from this Union. By 1810, lewis  had moved to Claiborne county TN. In 1832, Lewis would apply for a Revolutionary war pension for his service in the Revolutionary war.
        On March 6, 1843,  at the age of 93,Lewis died and was buried at Rogers cemetery located in Speedwell Tn. Lewis lived a long and fruitful life. During his lifetime, Lewis protected settlers aginst Indians , helped stop Tory domination of western North Carolina, and participated in one of the bloodiest battles that the British would ever engage in. The British demise at Guilford courthouse kept other southern states from falling under British control, and help lead to an American Victory at  Yorktown.

 


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