General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Thomas Arthur

Thomas Arthur was born in 1745 Bedford county Virginia. In May 1778,
Arthur joined an expedition to guard the Lead mines located in Wythe
county Virginia. The Lead mines had been the site for the signing of
the Fincastle Resolutions, Southwest Virginia's version of the
Declaration of Independence that had been signed 3 years earlier.
In August 1780, Arthur was with the 700 Virginia militia at the battle
of Camden. At Camden, the Patriots were defeated by the British when
the North carolina militia fled along with its commander Horatio Gates.
Gates rode over 60 miles away before his horse fell down from
exhaustion. In Arthur's pension, Arthur talks about neraly starving to
death before he arrived at Camden, also being sick after eating cooked
molasses,and barely able to fight during the battle
After the battle of Camden, other Virginia militia men stated the
following comments about the Battle of Camden. One Virginia soldier
stated it was the unhappiest day of his life during the Revolution
after being forced to retreat from Camden. The Virginia militia faced
the 23rd Fusiler regiment and the 33rd foot regiment of the British
army. When the 23rd started a bayonet charge, the whole Virginia line
fled causing the Nc line to retreat also.
One Virginia militia officer stated, Gates squandered an opportunity to
regain SC. Some of Gates's mistakes included no reconnaissance to see
the size of the British army in front of them.At the start of the
battle, it appeared Gates had made no plans for the upcoming battle or
gave any orders to attack the British while they were still forming
their lines. Col. Williams of the Nc line tried to talk General Stevens
of the Virginia line into attackiing the British before their lines
formed for battle , but Stevens refused to attack without orders from
Gates. Not Placing the Virginia militia near the Maryland Continentals
allowed the Virginia militia to flee the field.
Arthur next participated in the Siege of Fort Ninety six, the longest
siege of the revolutionary war( May 22-June15,1781). The British wanted
to surrender, but never could receive the order to surrender from
British General Rawdon because the couriers kept getting captured by
the Sc militia. Rawdon led an expedition to Fort Ninety six to end the
siege. On the way there, Rawdon suffered a sun stroke.
Arthur returned to Bedford county after the war where he died On
November, 1805

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