Monday, June 12, 2017
The way Cousin David Knox Celebrated the News of King's Mountain
Robert Henry’s account of the aftermath of King’s Mountain, his encounter with my cousin David Knox, a lifelong bachelor known as something of a bully, but one of my Ornery People if anyone is. His brother Matthew is the one who misled Tarleton about the best place to cross the Catawba.
Before my wounds were well I went to Charlotte, after Cornwallis had left, and met David Knox, an acquaintance. David Knox was either a brother or near relative of James Knox, grandfather of President Polk. He gave me the following information: That on Monday-next after Fe[r]guson’s defeat, he being a p[r]isoner in the streets of Charlotte, an office[r] came to the officer of the guard and the following conversation took place:
First officer—“Have you heard the news?”
Second officer—“No. What news?”
First officer:--“Col. Ferguson is killed and his whole army defeated and taken prisoners.”
Second officer—“How can that be, and where did the men come from to do that?”
First officer—“2,000 desperadoes, calling themselves blue hens’ chickens from most everywhere, started on horseback in pursuit of Ferguson, leaving as many on foot to follow, overtook surrounded, killed and took prisoners him and all of his army at a place called Kings Mountain. We may lookout for snakes.”
Second officer—“God help us!”
Whereupon David Knox jumped on a pile of wood in the street, slapped his thighs; crowed like a cock and exclaimed, “Day is at hand!” Hence he was called Peter’s Cock. It was generally reported about Charlotte and elsewhere that this exag[g]erated report came from the Neutrals [defined earlier as Tories], and Col. Campbell’s force, horse and foot, amounted to 4,000, which carried a strong air of plausibility with it and which induced Cornwallis to retreat from Charlotte that night.