General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Fredrick Nester


Frederick Nester was born on April 24, 1739 in Düsseldorf, Germany. His family arrived in America in the early 1760’s and moved to Berks county PA. In 1765, Nester met and married Maria Parberes. They had 4 children from this union. By 1780, Nester had moved to Burke County NC. In February, 1780, Nester joined the burke county Militia. For the next year, Nester would spend most of his time chasing Tories and Cherokee Indians in NC. In January 1781, Nester was transferred to Fort Mckahey in NC.

 A few days before the battle of Cowpens, Nester’s unit was ordered to report to Daniel Morgan. Nester arrived at the Cowpens on January 18, 1781, One day too late to participate in the battle. Upon arrival, Nester was placed in charge of the 530 British prisoners captured during the battle of the Cowpens and transferring them to prison at Salisbury NC.  Salisbury NC was the headquarters for the Continental army in Western NC. Upon arrival in Salisbury, Nester was placed in charge of the prison where the British prisoners were kept.

 On February 2, 1781, the Salisbury fort and prison was ordered to evacuate due to the approaching British army under the command of Lord Charles Cornwallis. For 2 days during the first week of February 1781, the continental army moved men and supplies across the Yadkin River with the British prisoners located in the rear to Trading Ford NC. The Continental army was nearly across at midnight on the night of February 3rd when a British regiment showed up during the crossing. One hundred North Carolina and VA militia fought an Eight hundred man British Regiment and barely escaped across the river before British reinforcements appeared at the scene of the battle.

 Only 2 militia men were killed and several baggage trains loaded with badly needed supplies were regrettably left behind captured by the British. When the militia finally crossed the Yadkin River, the river became swollen and unnavigable making it impossible for the British Army to pursue the Continental army. The successful crossing at Trading Ford NC was strategically important to Greene’s Continental army. Had Greene been captured along with his army, the course of the war would have been changed and the battle of Guilford courthouse never would have happened.

On February 4, 1781, Cornwallis arrived at the banks of the Yadkin River. Seeing it was impossible to pursue the Americans, he returned to Salisbury. At Salisbury, Cornwallis inspected the prison at Salisbury where the British prisoners were kept. He found some British prisoners just barely hanging on to life too weak to move. Cornwallis would write a letter to Greene complaining of the conditions of the prison and lack of food given to the British prisoners while at Salisbury. Nester would be in charge of he prisoners until he was ordered to take some men to Eutaw Springs for the up coming battle there. On September 8, 1781, Nester arrived at the battle of Eutaw Springs with the battle already commencing. The battle of Eutaw springs lasted for four hours. It was the bloodiest battle ever fought in SC. Blood ran ankle deep is some places. When it was over 85 British were killed, 351 wounded and 430 missing. 

 Nester was placed in charge of transporting the wounded Continental soldiers to a hospital at Burdell Plantation. Over 600 Continental soldiers were wounded at Eutaw Springs. This would require over 60 trips back and forth from the scene of the battle to the field hospital at Burdell plantation. This would be the last battle that Nester would participate in.

 At the end of 1781, Nester was ordered to Fort Pitt to help build a new fort 30 miles away called Fort McIntosh. Fort McIntosh is famous due to it being the site of his first Indian treaty negotiated between the Federal government and Indians of a local state.

 In 1782, Nester resigned from the army due to severe stomach cramps over something he had ate. Later that year Nester would move his family to Montgomery county NC

 In 1810, Nester’s wife Maria would die forcing Nester to move to Pulaski county Kentucky to live with one of his daughters. In 1830, Nester moved to Pike county Kentucky to live with another daughter. In 1832, Nester moved to Campbell County with his daughter Charity. In 1832, Nester applied for a pension. In 1836 at the age of 97 Nester would die and was buried near by. Today most of Nester’s descendents live in the Campbell county TN region.     


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