General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

William Wilson

William Wilson  was born in Rowan county Nc in 1754. In September 1776, Wilson was apart of a 2400 man expedition  led by General Griffith Rutherford to fight the  Cherokee of Tennessee. During this  expedition, Rutherford and his men burned over 36 Cherokee Indian villages to the ground.
    On June 20, 1780, Wilson participated in the battle of Ramsour mill located in present day Lincolnton Nc. Ramsour Mill has been caused the bloodiest local partisan battle of the American Revolution. It was actually a battle between neighbors whose hatred of each other existed before the start  of the Revolution. The Patriots were led by franis locke ,while the Tories were led by Lt. John Moore. At the initial start of the battle the patriots were disorganized and were beaten back in two consecutive charges up a hill by bayonet charges led by John Moore against the Patriots.
During the battle, Wilson was wounded when his musket exploded on him while firing. This was a common occurrence during the revolution caused by either the soldier  not loading the musket properly or due to the poor manufacture of the. The explosion left Wilson blinded during the rest of the battle. While trying to get his bearings away from the battle, Wilson was bayoneted twice, once in each arm,and hit over the head with the butt of the musket knocking him unconcious.
  When a person was bayonetted it left a triangle shaped scar on the body,and was major cause of Infection which led often times to a body part being amputated. Wilson was lucky ion this aspect , because no amputation of any limb was recorded.
 By the end of the battle, Locke and his 400 man militia had defeated a Tory army  that was 3 times bigger than their own. The Tory defeat led to the destruction of the Tory influence and raids in the region Wilson went back to Rowan county to recuperate,while the rest of the Nc militia went to sc to join forces with Thomas sumter in the upcoming battle of Rocky Mount Sc.
     In January 1781, Wilson participated in the battle of Cowpens Sc located near Chesney Sc, under the command of Andrew Pickens. Wilson was apart of the first line of defense. Pickens had ordered the Nc militia  fire twice and then file to the left of the third line. When the battle started, The Nc miltia fired twice, but instead of filing to the left line, they ran as fast as  they could to their horses hidden in the nearby woods, Pickens was able to regroup most of the Nc militia and get them  to file to the  third line consisting of mostly Maryland Continentals.
    While on tthe third line, Pickens, and his Nc militia was able to defeat a Scottish Highlander regiment and capture most of them by the end of the battle. Cowpens was the first major battle fought in the southern campaign where the Patriots were able to defeat  an army consisting of British Regular  soldiers.This would become Wilson's last battle. After the battle, Wilson returned to Rowan county.
 By 1810, Wilson had moved to Rutherford county Nc. During the  War of 1812, Wilson's two sons fought under the command of Andrew Jackson. During the battle of Horseshoe bend AL, where Jackson fought the Creek Indians under the command of chief Menawa During the battle, one of Wilson's sons was killed , while the other was wounded. Jackson went on to defeat the Creek Nation and force them to sign a the Treaty of Fort Jackson which ceded twenty three million acres consisting of half of the state of Alabama and the southern half of Georgia.
In 1817, Wilson died and was buried in Rutherford county.

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