General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Peter Livingston

Peter Livingston, one of the Overmountain men at Kings Mountain, and  a great Indian Fighter was born in Louisa county  VA in 1755. Sometime between 1760 and 1780 Peter's father William moved to Washington County VA. the Livingston home was was located near  Wolf hills, present day Abingdon VA.
 In September 1780, Livingston joined the VA militia after a call came out from Col. William Campbell to try and find Patrick Ferguson who had just recently threatened to burn all their houses to ground. On September 24, 1780 Livingston left Abingdon with 400 other VA militia men.   The next day they arrived at Sycamore Shoals. On September 26, 1780, Livingston left  Sycamore shoals with about 900 men from Tn  and VA settlements.
 Livingston was placed in charge of herding the cattle along the journey. Beef was one luxury  that the Overmountain men had that some militia units during the Revolutionary war didn't have. Portion of beef were often rare among their fellow Continental units also. For the next 11 days, Livingston herded the cattle until they found Ferguson at Kings mountain.
  On October 7, 1780   At Kings mountain, Col. William Campbell split his army into two divisions. the Virginia line was led across the Southern end of the ridge along the left side of the Mountain.  The Virginians were soon spotted by a Tory Sentinel who fired a warning shot. Ferguson ordered a bayonet charge upon  the Virginians.  The Virginians  were the first to face the first of three bayonet charges ordered by Ferguson.   Some Virginians refused to retreat during the bayonet charge, and were  thrust through with the bayonet.
    Campbell soon rallied his Virginia troops up  the mountain killing every British Tory that was met along  the way until they came to the main body of the enemy. The Virginians began firing their weapons for 10 minutes straight at the British Tory army. There was so much smoke, fire and noise from the gunfire, Kings Mountain resembled a volcano.
    During the last 20 minutes of the one hour battle, the Virginians fought the Tories in a fierce gun battle with both armies being only 30 yards apart. Ferguson was killed and the patriots won the battle By the end of the battle 16 Virginians lay dead or mortally wounded out of the 28 patriots killed. This was Livingston's only battle that he would participate in. 
 In 1781, Livingston married Elizabeth Head and had 13 children from  this union. On April 6, 1794, An Indian massacre took place at the Livingston home.  Peter's mother Sarah was massacred, and his wife Elizabeth was taken hostage by Cherokee Indian Chief Benge. Benge was the most ferocious Indian chief in Southwest VA. Benge had been attacking settlements for the past 10 years in Southwest VA, but this time he had gone too far . Livingston joined a local militia known as Hobb's militia. Livingston and Hobbs tracked Benge to Stone mountain near Dorchester Virginia. Hobbs shot Benge in the head killing him. Benge's scalp was sent to Governor of Virginia.
 Livingston died  February 1, 1815. In 1835 Scott county was formed from Washington County VA. During the Civil war, several of Livingston's descendents joined  the Confederate Virginia 25th cavalry from Scott County. The Virginia 25th was most noted for their bravery at Antietam in 1863 . One of Livingston's descendent's  William Livingston of the Virginia 25th was captured in 1864. He was sent to a make shift prison camp in Louisville KY , where he was soon released if he promised to cross the Ohio River into Indiana and never cross it back again

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