September 26, 2018 O'Connor's Americana Collection
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/26/2018
DAVIDSON, William (1746-1781) as general in the North Carolina militia, to Brigadier General Jethro Sumner of the same, dated in "Camp [at] Rocky River, 10 Oct. 1780". Manuscript letter signed (LS), 1 page, folio (8 x 12.5 inches). Addressed on recto to "The Honble. Brigadier Genl. Sumner/Head Quarters/Per Express" and docketed "Genl. Davidson/Left the 10th Octob[er 1780]." Minor toning; hole in center of lower margin from removal of wax seal. One of the most detailed accounts of the momentous defeat of Colonel Patrick Ferguson and his Loyalist forces at Kings Mountain, posted within three days of the battle: Camp Rocky River Oct. 10, 1780 Sir I have the pleasure of handing you very agreeable intelligence from the W[est]. Ferguson the great partisan has miscarried. This we are assured of by Mr. Tat, Brigade Major in Gen. Sumpter's late Command. The particulars from that gentleman's Mouth stand thus. that Colo[nel]s. Campbell, Cleveland, Shelby, Seveir [sic], Williams, Brandon, Lacey &c. formed a conjunct body near Gilbert Town consisting of 3000. From this Body was selected 1600 good Hors, who immediately went in pursuit of Colo. Ferguson who was making his way to Charlotte. Our People overtook him well posted on King's Mountain & on the evening of the 7th. Inst., at 4 o'Clock, began the Attack which continued 47 Minutes. Colo. Ferguson fell in the action besides 150 of his Men; 810 were made prisoners: including the British. 150 of the prisoners are wounded. 15 Hundred Stand of Arms fell into our Arms. Colo. Ferguson had about 1400 Men. Our people surrounded them & the Enemy surrendred [sic]. We lost about 20 Men among whom is Major Chronicle of Lincoln County. Colo. Williams is mortally wounded. The Number of our wounded cannot be ascertained. This Blow will certainly affect the British very considerably. The Designs of our conquering Friends near King's Mountain are not clearly known. It is most probable that they will secure their prisoners in or over the Mountains & proceed towards Charlotte. The Brigade Major who gives this was in the Action. The above is true, the Blow is great. I give you joy upon the Occasion. I am Sir your most obedt. & most hum. Servt. Wm. Davidson Honble. Brigr. Gen. Sumner It was a common practice at the time to send critical military communications by different couriers, in case of capture, to ensure that at least a copy of the original would be received by its intended recipient. This would appear to be the original letter sent to Sumner, rather than one of the contemporary copies; copies usually had "duplicate" or "copy" appended at the bottom and a clerical signature was often applied, instead of an original (indicated by "(s)" or "signed" before the name of the writer). Moreover, this manuscript letter contains additional text not found in any of the printed versions, such as that published in the Belfast News Letter of 12 October 1780 or in Tarleton's A History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781,in the Southern Provinces of North America (1787), which seem to have been derived from an intercepted copy or copies of the above original, even taking into account transcription errors and editing. William Lee Davidson was born in Pennsylvania but moved with his family to Rowan County, North Carolina at age 4. Active in the Patriot cause, he was commissioned as major of the 4th North Carolina Regiment in 1776 and marched north, fighting at Germantown, Monmouth and other actions. When the North Carolina Continentals were sent to support the Southern Army under Lincoln at Charleston, now-Lieutenant Colonel Davidson went on leave enroute and thereby avoided becoming a prisoner with the fall of Charleston in 1780. Without a Continental command, he was appointed second-in-command of Rutherford's North Carolina militia forces. Severely wounded at the Battle of Colson's Mill on July 21, 1780, he did not participate in the Battle of Camden, at which Rutherford was captured. Davidson was promoted to brigadier general and given command of Rutherford's Salisbury District militia. He participated in resisting the entry of Lord Cornwallis into Charlotte in late September 1780 and was subsequently killed at the Battle of Cowan's Ford on 1 February 1781, while attempting to rally his men. Provenance: purchased by Mr. O'Connor at Cowan's Americana sale of 13 December 2010 as lot 1 for $6462.50.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $12,500.00
Estimate: $6,000 - $9,000
Number Bids: 20
Auction closed on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.
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