The Backwater Men
24x30 Oil - Contact Richard for purchase or more information.
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“The Backwater Men”
This piece is the 1st in a series of paintings that I plan to do of the march the Overmountain Men took to the battle of King’s Mountain in 1780. In this painting I am describing just who these men were, where they lived and why they came together this one time in such force and with such determination. Their heroic tale needs to be told and shown as it is at the very foundation of the American character that has built this country into the greatest nation mankind has ever known. The character that fought for and built this country must be maintained in order for us to preserve it and pass it on down to our children. I will tell the story of these men and what they accomplished in future artworks and my only hope is that I do them the justice they deserve as the heroes of King’s Mountain.
“The Backwater Men”
The Pioneers who settled in the areas now known as Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee were considered to be a wild and uncivilized people. They were mainly of Scots- Irish descent and spent decades fighting Indians and carving out their homesteads from the wilderness. They were described as being tall, raw boned and sinewy and able to hit their mark at 300 yards with their rifled squirrel guns. Somewhat clannish they moved their families over the Blue Ridge Mountains into the frontier to leave behind the “English” of the coastal colonies.
When the American Revolution broke out they remained out of reach and almost forgotten by both sides. However in 1780 as the war moved into the southern states they would on occasion form militias to march over the mountains and take part in several battles proving themselves to be a formidable force. They were called The Overmountain Men, the Yelling Boys or the Backwater Men who would scream and fight like hell, then retreat back over the mountains out of reach. They were despised by both the British and the Tories alike who considered them to be nothing more than a damned banditti to be dealt with as soon as possible. So when Maj. Ferguson sent an ultimatum over the mountains to Col. Isaac Shelby stating for them to “Desist from their opposition to the British arms and take protection under his standard or he would march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders, and lay their country waste with fire and sword”, the result was predictable. The militias were called in and an army of over 1000 men was raised to find and destroy Maj. Ferguson and his entire command. After a forced march of almost 3 weeks they accomplished the task at the battle of King’s Mountain on Oct.7, 1780.
These were the men who defeated one of the best trained fighting forces of the time and forced Lord Cornwallis to abandon his southern campaign to invade North Carolina.
These were the men who caused Sir Henry Clinton to later claim that Ferguson’s defeat was the first link in a chain of evils that ended in the total loss of America.
These were the men who Thomas Jefferson described as making “That memorable victory “at King’s mountain “The joyful annunciation of that turn of the tide of success, which terminated the Revolutionary war with the seal of independence”.
These were the Backwater Men.
For more information about the Over Mountain Men and this series of paintings CLICK HERE
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