General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Charles Lambert

Charles Lambert was born in May 1754 in Bedford county VA. In March
1777, Lambert joined an expedition with Evan Shelby to fight the
Cherokee Indians on the holston River near Kingsport Tn. Between March
1777- December 1777, Lambert along with Shelby burned 11 Cherokee
Villages to the ground,and seized goods sent by the British worth over
20,000 British Pounds.
In July 1777, Lambert was with William Christian at the Treaty of Long
Island near Kingsport Tn. The Treaty of Long Island forced the cherokee
to give up territory that consisted of much of the present day State of
In March 1781, Lambert was at the Battle of Guilford
courthouse(March15,1781) in the VA line. Lambert fought bravely along
with the rest of the VA line, but the VA line was soon overwhelmed in a
bayonet charge. On April 4,1781, Lambert was discharged after his
commander Nathaniel Greene decided not to pursue Conwallis after
Cornwallis crossed the Cape Fear River in Chatham County Nc.
In April 1781, Lambert participated in the battle of Petersburg VA.
Lambert had been sent to Petersburg to help guard stores of gunpowder
and over 200,000 rounds of ammunition.
On April 18, 1781, after burning the Virginia naval Docks of the VA
State Navy located east of Petersburg, the British under the command of
General Phillips heard rumors that the colonists had hidden gunpowder
and other supplies in Petersburg. The battle of Petersburg( April,25,
1781) was primarily a 3 hour artillery battle between the Va militia who
was out numbered 3 to 1 against the British army.
After the British defeated the patriots, they searched for the gunpowder
and ammunition, but never found it. Phillips contracted malaria while
searching for the supplies,and was forced to leave Petersburg. If the
British had found the gunpowder and ammunition, there is a possibility
that the outcome of the battle of Yorktown may have been different.
After the British left Petersburg, Lambert and other Va militia men
sneaked back into Petersburg and moved the gunpowder and other supplies
to a different location.
On April 29, The Patriots forced the British out of Richmond Va to
Portsmouth VA. On May 13,1781,at Portsmouth while Phillips lay dying
from malaria, the Patriots started bombarding the house that Phillips
was staying in with cannon fire. The official British report concerning
the death of General Phillips is that he died of a high fever before the
roof collapsed on the house that Phillips was staying in during the
Lambert returned to Bedford county after this battle where he lived
until he died on November 7, 1839. Lambert was a great Indian fighter
who also kept the British from seizing the gunpowder and ammunition at
Petersburg, possibly preventing a British victory at Yorktown a few
months later.


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