Overmountain Victory Trail Association March

On September 20th the OVTA reenactment members met at the Abingdon, VA. muster grounds. Here Col.  William Campbell assembled 400 men and began the “Overmountain March” to King’s Mountain.

We marched out of Abingdon on Sept. 24th to visit the Pemberton Oak, another muster site along the way. The 600 to 800 year old oak tree fell only a few years ago and is recognized as part of the national trail.

On Sept. 24th we followed the original trail to the town of Watauga, then crossed the Watauga river at the Sycamore Shoals giving a rifle salute in the river with our flintlocks.

It was here that a large muster took place combining the forces of Cols. Campbell, Shelby, Sevier, and McDowell. On Sept. 26th we came to the Shelving Rock campsite at the Roan Mountain State Park. Now, as in 1780, it was raining. The Patriots used the rock overhang to protect their gunpowder and keep it dry. The next day we hiked up the Roan.

There is only about 30 miles of original trail bed that has not been developed. We try to walk on as much of it as we can.

Along the way we stopped to give school programs to almost 6,700 children explaining the march and battle at King’s Mountain.

On Sept. 28th we visited the grave of Robert Sevier who was wounded at the battle and died on the return trip.

On Sept. 29th we walked down the Hefner Gap on the Blue Ridge along original roadbed remnants.

On the 30th we camped at Quaker Meadows near the McDowell house.

It was here under a large council oak tree that more men under Col. Cleveland and Maj. Winston joined the patriot army swelling their numbers to well over 1,000 men. The following day we arrived at Dysartsville where we camped for 2 days. This was our halfway point and we rested and cleaned our weapons.

We went on to Gilbert Town where the patriots  thought Maj. Ferguson’s army was encamped. However he had left the area 2 days before and his current whereabouts were unknown to them.

From there we went on to Gray’s Chapel and walked on more historic roadbed to Alexander’s Ford. We camped behind the Chapel and a few of our party experienced a late night visitor possibly  from the nearby graveyard.

The next morning we moved on to the Cowpens National Battlefield. Here the Patriots having learned Ferguson’s general whereabouts decided to send only the strongest among them in pursuit. The mounted army left at night during a steady rain and reached the area of King’s Mountain the next day. We arrived on October 7th and walked to the Monument at the summit. Upon passing Ferguson’s grave I placed a stone that I carried in my pocket from Abingdon.

Members of the DAR and SAR as well as the National Parks Service presided over a ceremony at the Monument. We marched to the Monument to honor the men we were representing.

The battle at King’s Mountain was a complete victory for the patriot cause and was considered the turning point in the war for independence. I was proud to take part in this recreation of the march and plan to do a series of paintings to tell the story.

Richard Luce

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