Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review -- The Rear Guard of the Revolution by James R. Gilmore

I recently read Rear Guard of the Revolution, the first part of a two volume biography of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, who was known among the mountain folk of early Tennessee as "Nolichucky Jack," after the river where he built his home. I previously read the book's sequel, John Sevier as a Commonwealth Builder, not knowing it was a biography in two volumes. In Rear Guard of the Revolution, Gilmore takes Sevier from his arrival in the Watauga settlement at Sycamore Shoals near present day Elizabethton, through the Battle of Kings Mountain and a war with the Cherokee, Chickamauga and Creek Indians that occurred shortly thereafter.

I've been interested in learning more about the Battle of Kings Mountain, and how the pioneers west of the mountains traveled to the east to fight the British, whose Patrick Ferguson, threatened to "march his army over the mountains, hang the leaders and lay waste their country with fire and sword." One should not make such threats to hardy mountain folk. Sevier was one of several leaders who marched his men to confront Ferguson, meeting him on a ridge known as Kings Mountain, and defeating his force of loyalist forces. Ferguson did not live to tell the tale.