The Treatment of British Prisoners of War at the Battle of Kings Mountain

“ A gentleman lately come to town has favoured us with an account of the base treatment the unfortunate officers and men met with who surrendered prisoners of war last October to the Rebel, Col. Campbell, in the action of King’s Mountain. A small party of the (British) militia returning from foraging, unacquainted with the surrender, happening to fire on the Rebels, the prisoners were immediately threatened with death if the firing should be repeated. The morning after the action the prisoners were marched sixteen miles. Previous to their march, orders were given by Campbell, should they be attacked, to fire on and destroy every prisoner. The party kept marching for two days without any kind of provisions. On the third day’s march all the baggage of the officers was seized and shared among the Rebel Officers. A few days after a mock court-martial sat for the trial of the militia prisoners, when, after a short hearing, thirty gentlemen, some of the most respectable characters in that country, had sentence of death passed on them, and at six O’clock the same day they began to execute. Col. Mills and Capt. Chitwood, of North Carolina, Capt. Wilson, of Ninety-Six, and six privates were first executed. The British Officers were compelled to attend at the execution of their brave but unfortunate men, who, with manly firmness, avowed their loyalty in their last moments, and with their latest breath expressed their unutterable detestation for the Rebels and their base and infamous proceedings. The remaining twenty-one were reprieved for a time.”

Sources: Description of the treatment of British prisoners of war December 27, 1780; Volume 15, Page 183; KING’S MOUNTAIN BATTLE — BRITISH ACCOUNTS; [From Scots Magazine, January, 1781.] Find your Ancestors