General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

James Beaty

James Beaty, NC militia Revolutionary war soldier was born on February 10, 1753  in Chester County PA.  Around 1775, Beaty moved to Rowan County NC. In December 1775, Beaty joined the NC militia under the command of General Griffith Rutherford. his first campaign would be the Snow campaign fought near Greenville SC.
  The Snow campaign  got its name due to a severe blizzard that hit Sc in mid December 1775. Beaty and the rest of Rutherford's army was able to defeat a small band of Tories at  the battle of Cane Break near Greenville SC. This battle would help destroy  Tory control of the region for next several years until 1780.
 In September, 1776, Beaty joined Rutherford on expedition during the Cherokee wars of 1776. The purpose of the war was to punish the Cherokee for the raids that had occurred in Nc along the Catawba River in June 1776.  The only problem was Beaty and the rest of Rutherford's army couldn't find any Cherokee warriors to fight, so they ended up burning over 36 Indian villages, Killing Indian women and children, burning and stealing their crops which nearly wiped out the Cherokee nation in NC by starving them to death. The Cherokee were forced to sign the treaty of Long Island in 1777 which forced the cherokee to give up most of their land.
   In January 1779, Beaty was sent to Charleston SC to help Benjamin Lincoln with the defense of Charleston.  The most memorable event was that a sergeant in Beaty's company started a mutiny due to the lack of food. Over 36 soldiers were tried and hanged for this mutiny.
 In February 1779, Beaty helped General Moultrie run the British out of Beaufort Sc.  In 1782,  Beaufort SC was one of the last cities in Sc to be  burned almost to the ground before the British left Sc.
 In March 1779, Beaty participated in the Briar creek campaign in Georgia. On March 3 1779, British soldiers surprised the NC and GA militia army killing almost 400 patriots before they could escape. Beaty barely escaped with his life. This would be his last campaign Beaty would participate in.
 The Battle of Briar Creek is believed  by some historians to be the battle that led the British to renew their pursuit of their Southern strategy created after their defeat at the battle of Saratoga in 1777.
  The Southern Strategy was a plan to conqueror and pacify the Southern colonies by using as minimal  British troops as possible.
 However  The British Southern Strategy had several flaws, 1) It overestimated loyalist support in SC. The loyalist support in Sc was about 35 % compared to 25 %  in the rest of the colonies.2) The inability  to translate the Southern Strategy into a coherent operational and Tactical plan designed to win the support of the people.  The Southern Strategy never won the support of the people of SC. 3) The British never develop a means to determine ifthe Southern strategy was being effective at the time it was being implemented, 4)  Underestimated the logistic problems  of transporting supplies from the coast to the inland of Sc often  times leaving the British army with very little food and supplies to conduct their campaigns in Sc.
  Beaty moved to Sullivan County TN after the war. In 1803. Beaty soon married Mary Smith from which they had one child from this Union. In 1803, Beaty moved his family through the Cumberland Gap to Cumberland County KY. By 1830, Beaty had moved to Rutherford County TN where he applied for his pension in 1832. Beaty died some time in 1835 and was buried on a family farm.
     During the Civil war, one of Beaty's descendents, David Beaty kept Confederate raiders out of Fentress County TN.  During the civil war , the Cumberland Plateau, which Fentress County TN is a part of was a no man land full of guerilla activity of both Confederate and Union Sympathizers. The worst Confederate sympathizer was Champ Ferguson who would become David  Beaty's arch enemy. Ferguson  was notorius for capturing a Union Company of Soldiers in KY, beheading them, and then ordered his men to kick the heads around like soccer balls, turning  one of the worst war atrocities into a  game. Ferguson was later captured by Beaty and hanged for his crimes in 1865.

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