General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

William Epperson


William Epperson was born on March 22, 1757 in New Kent Va. sometime
before 1775, his family moved to Wilmington NC. In February 1776,
Epperson joined the NC Militia and participated in the battle of Moores
Creek Bridge NC. Epperson was apart of the 1000 man militia who defeated
the British loyalists in one of the shortest battles of The
Revolutionary war, lasting only 3 minutes.
Epperson joined the Nc Continental Line later that year in 1776.
Epperson would fight in all the major battles of the northern campaign
from White Plains (Oct 28, 1776) thru the battles at Trenton,
Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth( June28, 1778). At
Brandywine Pa, fought on September 11, 1777, The NC Line was best known
for disturbing Howe's victory part after the British defeated the
Americans. At 7:30 pm, Nc troops under Francis Nash surprised Howe's
troops by coming in from the rear, attacking them while they were
celebrating. That night, a small brigade kept a bridge open at Painter's
crossing allowing the North Carolinians to retreat from the battlefield.
In December , 1777, Epperson was apart of the NC Line at the winter
quarters at Valley Forge Pa.. At Valley forge, nearly 330 men were
placed in the infirmary where over 200 of them would die. Nearly 250
soldiers were deemed unfit for duty because their uniforms had become
rags and most of the NC Line there at Valley Forge had no shoes. The
most exciting event at Valley Forge involving a Nc Soldier, was when
this soldier tried to desert by stealing a horse. the Soldier was
captured, and almost flogged to death.
By August 1779, Epperson was in Surry County NC where he joined a NC
Militia expedition to relieve the Fort Ninety Six in SC with Salathiel
Martin. However in a few weeks later, Martin called the expedition off
before they reached the settlement of Ninety Six SC. In the Fall of
1779, Epperson chased Tories all over Wilkes County NC with Colonel
Benjamin Cleveland. Wilkes County had became notorious for Tory
atrocities. The Tories had just recently Killed John Witherspoon, one of
the signers of the Declaration of Independence from NC. Also in 1779,
Cleveland hanged two Tories in Wilkes county for atrocities that
occurred in nearby Lincoln county Nc. Epperson continued chasing Tories
up until June 1780.
On July 21, 1780, Epperson fought some Tories in Anson county NC at a
place called Colson Mills. here Col. William Davidson defeated a band of
Tories. Only 3 Tories were killed during the battle. In May 1781,
Epperson was sent to Richmond VA to guard some British Officers taken
prisoner at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777. The British Officers
arrived in Richmond VA On January 19, 1779. Upon their arrival, the
British Officers became unruly with fights occurring daily. Some British
Officers were moved to Plantation Houses along the James River, placed
under house arrest, but were still treated like royalty compared to the
other British Prisoners. Epperson had guard duty for one month when he
was soon discharged.
Epperson moved back to Surry County NC where he married Elizabeth Kerr
in June 1781, where they would have10 children from this union.
Epperson lived in Surry County until he died on June 22, 1826. By 1840 ,
most of Epperson's children had moved to different parts of Kentucky.


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