“…and the powers not delegated…”

overmountain.jpg

The early history of what would become the United States is fraught with stories of folks breaking away out of want or need, in each case being built on Men ready for a fight. Never did such a move happen peacefully, even those relatively minor, normally with violence incurring nearly immediately. In each case, these moves were caused by little representation of economic interest from centralized power, weak or ineffectual defense by that power in their daily lives, or the notion that self-governance was more fit to the frontier than from a King afar.

Such is the fascinating history of pre-Revolution  North Carolina and present day Tennessee. Not usually told outside of academic conversation among Historians, even then limited to footnotes, the story of the Regulators, later the Watauga Association, and the rise of the Overmountain Men Militia just prior to and early within the American Revolution provide a historical context not only relevant today, but also lessons of the cost incurred by effective, and conversely ineffective, movement formation and means to attain goals.

The Regulators and the Battle of Alamance

alambatAround 1765, a large social rift was emerging amid the planters and urban aristocracy. A continuing drought made crops unprofitable and led to rampant poverty. In Orange County alone, arrests for debts increased tenfold, leaving many with few options. The local governance was largely ineffective. County Sheriffs and officers of the Court were increasingly viewed as corrupt, with the political apparatus providing little respite for the worsening conditions as a large immigrant population of Scots-Irish began to settle the western regions and further strain the already fragile situation. Small scale populist resistance ensued, and independent militias were formed. By 1770, tax resistance was encouraged, rhetoric galvanized to action, and the popularity of the Regulator movement was growing rapidly along the north central NC border, being the modern day Granville, Person, Caswell, Rockingham, Guilford, Alamance, and Orange counties. Their aim was not to break away, but rather draw attention to the increasingly disproportionate distribution of law concerning property rights. Being the financial stronghold known as the tobacco belt, the crisis had reached a tipping point, with Royal Governor Lord Tryon pleading with the leadership of the Regulators to disarm and diffuse while threatening force. The situation came to a head at the Battle of Alamance, with the NC colonial militia marching on the independent militia of Herman Husband and his fellow landowners in present-day Alamance County. Husband, a Quaker, departed. The theory of ‘Armed Nonviolence’ was proven to invite such violence, and his loss of control of subordinates was the result of his internal moral crisis in conflict with his pacifist beliefs.

The battle was over before it began. Outnumbered and outgunned with no plan beyond getting into a fight at a single point, the Regulators suffered nine dead with the Lord Tryon’s militia suffering the same. Once overrun, one Regulator was summarily executed in camp, with the remainder of the leadership taken into custody. Six were hanged, with the rest issued pardons for treason. Having captured the interest of several northeast newsmen, the rebellion became a sensational story, inspiring other acts of rebellion more famous. Also interestingly, several anti-Regulators became Patriot statesmen, most notably Richard Caswell, delegate to the Continental Congress and future Governor of NC.

The Watauga Association

On the heels of the War of Regulation, many settlers of early Appalachia had found governance from afar weak, restrictive, and not in their interest. Settlers within the Cherokee Nation boundary with North Carolina and Virginia. Needing expansion for economic survival, the inhabitants of the Watauga region defied the orders to abandon their settlements by Virginia Governor, Lord Dunmore, and led the settlers to negotiate independent terms of settlement with the neighboring Cherokee Confederation whom legally had claim to the territory. The Cherokee were torn on such a move. The local tribes saw economic benefit from their neighbors, while a rising, young Cherokee Chief known as Dragging Canoe who had proven himself as an effective Leader in the previous Anglo-Cherokee War only saw encroachment as an act of war.

fortcaswell.jpgBeing largely out of the effective reach of Colonial Forces, the Wataugans formed a Compact for an Independent Republic having negotiated their own terms for existence with the Cherokee. Immediately the frontier stronghold constructed for protection was christened ‘Fort Caswell’ (after statesman Richard Caswell), later to be known as Fort Watauga, and came under attack by Dragging Canoe and those Cherokee loyal to him, likely instigated, understandably so, by Royal Agents. A Rifle Company was formed and successfully defended the stronghold, resulting in Dragging Canoe’s retreat and subsequent decline.

Amid the larger Revolution brewing in the Colonies, the Wataugans, coming to be known as the Washington Republic, sought integration into North Carolina’s borders and pledging support to the Patriot cause. Their model inspired the later Cumberland Compact which led the way to Tennessee’s formation as a state and many settlers who would move on to Kentucky and with them carried the ideals of self governance ingrained as a result of their experiences. Theirs was a story of fierce independence and the willingness to do what it took to carve it. Independence is not won from words, but from action, a concept understood by those with the courage to engage in it with both its rewards and ramifications.

The Overmountain Men

overmtn2From the ranks of that early Wataugan Rifle company came the Overmountain Men Militia. The majority of the Appalachian region settlers were Whig Party members and generally opposed to the Monarchy of Britain. Sourcing fighters was easy to do among the Wataugans, rapidly building a capable light Infantry force on the natural skills required of living in the region.

By 25 SEP 1780, General Cornwallis’ invasion of North Carolina proved a grave threat to Patriot forces in the region and dire consequences should the rebellion fail. The decision to take action was made, and at the conclusion of a sermon by Reverend Samuel Doak, several hundred Overmountain Men started their movement southeast concluding in the battle of Kings Mountain on 10 OCT, the day after their fight at Cowpens, cornering Loyalist militia forces atop the mountain commanded by Loyalist Militia Major Ferguson. Consistently firing accurately at Loyalist positions, they managed an effective attrition, killing 157 and capturing over 600 of a 1,000 man strong force while only losing 28 of their own during the battle. Both a healthy knowledge of effective use of terrain and disciplined marksmanship played large roles to their advantage, winning quite literally an uphill battle. Of this militia came such notable figures as John Sevier and John Crockett, the former being a highly influential Tennessee statesman and the latter fathering David Crockett. Again, the measure of Men required for such feats did not come by accident, it was required not for simply for success but for survival.

A Modern Perspective

It would be easy for us, amid the facade of modernity and the normalcy bias of the past century to assume such turbulent times are behind us. Quite the contrary. The seeds of secession and the questioning of the status of government is perpetual, following the outcomes of elections. For the Left, the furthering of the Hegelian dialectic never stops no matter the outcome, it merely removes the facade in between failures. Texas grumbled of secession post-2008; many theorists have offered, to varying degrees of validity, models of balkanization of the American nation, and contemporary local level scizms are threatening from both the Left and the Right. California is moving, with the State of Jefferson yet again gaining steam amid more draconian laws, with the emerging State of Liberty seeking independence from Washington’s Seattle Communists and northern Colorado having one bad election cycle away from becoming two states. I assert that none of these moves, however welcome they may be, will occur without significant levels of violence and economic fallout.

Be that as it may, such movements are made by determined Men. Lip service and words are exactly that- with no demonstration of skill they contain no teeth. Without prior demonstration of useful skill in praxis that lip service serves no purpose and thus should be squelched. These movements described within this text were made by Men of skill, on both sides of that conflict, understanding that force is not something to be teased. The ‘patriot movement’ from the Right is in dire need of reform, and now is the prime opportunity. You have won nothing but time, and the Left’s effeminate facsimile, while at its outset humorous, should not be taken lightly. They will act, of that I’m certain. Marxists are, for all their faults, inherently predictable should you actually read their guiding texts. Take each of those tidbits of history above for the implied lessons contained; compare them to contemporary events, and the broader implications of those moves with the ones of today. Only then will the lessons of history remembered ring true, in both victory and defeat, erstwhile hardening yourselves for the road to come.

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30 thoughts on ““…and the powers not delegated…”

  1. Brad in TX

    Look to Europe to see our future, we should use this lull to hone skills and find like-minded folks (in meatspace only).
    Or, as my wife says, “Someday we are gonna need some men, I just hope there are enough men left.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a descendant of one of the Regulators hung I am reminded of the courage and sacrifice that was made in fighting the British. Our forefathers did the best they could to establish a country that valued freedom! We must recapture the independence, self sufficiency, and God fearing values before it is too late.

    It is time to reclaim those values and put them into practice!

    Liked by 2 people

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  4. Henry Bowman

    Spot on perspective…..The Left and their ilk will not quit, they simply move the Overton Window again, and start over. Add in the fact that they have willing, able and useful idiots to actually engage in the “action,” part of resistance or change, they are still a formidable force to reckon with.

    This is far from over just because Trump won in a landslide, and most governorship’s and other positions are in “conservative,” control. The progressives are entrenched within the system and need to be rooted out like a mole hunt, much time, energy and money to be spent….

    Still, we must try and determine to know who these folks are, think “Squad Rules,” of the IRA coming into play.

    On another note, as a Scot myself, quite interested in my heritage, and living in Charlotte, have been to Kings Mountain many times and at 1000′ elevation, 45degree climbs and surrounded to this day by house sized boulders and dense woods, would have a bitch back in the day to surmount.

    I can only imagine the shear terror felt by the Loyalists, knowing that a bunch of wild ass Scots-Irish, who hated the British, were down below tormenting them, picking them off from cover using the Pennsylvania Long Rifle or Kentucky Long Rifle, to great effect, after traveling hundreds of miles to do so.

    Given the fact the OMM traveled some 300miles over rugged terrain and hostile conditions to get to the fight, traveling lightly is a feat in itself.

    I routinely stalk trout in the regions the OMM originated from, and it is some of the most rugged terrain in the country.

    The Battle of Kings Mtn. was a testament to the passion, commitment, and warrior ethos of the men, and women, who made up all that is Appalachia, and i hope and pray there is enough still smoldering should it need to be re-ignited for the eventual festivities.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is important to remember the final straw for the Over Mountain Men was when Ferguson threatened to cross the mountains and burn their farms and hang the men. As true in Ulster and Appalachia alike to this day, if you threaten a man’s family or ability to provide for them, great and terrible violence will be visited up you. If Ferguson had not done that he probably wouldn’t still be on top of that mountain to this day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. That’s actually where they got their name, as Ferguson said he’d travel over mountains to kill them.

        I omitted that part to specifically focus on their side and the deeds they accomplished (and the subsequent lessons for today’s potentials, from the need for Religion to the method of armed battle).

        Like

  5. lineman

    “Independence is not won from words, but from action, a concept understood by those with the courage to engage in it with both its rewards and ramifications”

    Wish more people understood that simple fact…Or maybe they do and just don’t value Liberty enough to put any effort into to keeping it and/or gaining it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Its a two way street- ‘watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants’ means, quite literally, it usually won’t go your way.

      There’s a lot of parallels to current events as I framed the argument…should one read between the lines.

      Like

  6. Once again NCS you have exactly summed the situation while connecting it to our own not so distant history. The battle is far from over and is only just beginning. Those who think it is a done deal or who wish to ignite the fuse will probably become the first statistics. Since you have already had contact with some of my confederates and they gave you an AOK, when do you want to meet ? PM me on our back channel.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Doc

    Simply put, I’m certainly not your peer, but I have to say this piece is outstanding, and you don’t need me to say it!

    My guess is that Kings Mountain was won with Heart, technical prowess and, of course, lots of training.. the keys to success??? 🙂

    Awesome history lesson here, as well. Many thanks for that.

    Was it Samuel Clemens who said, “History doesn’t repeat, but it sure does rhyme.”

    Far be it from me to debate a true thinker, but, recent events make me wonder if it is an actual repeat this time around…

    Doc

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 2knives

    Afraid I must disagree…whomever controls the military/police/media wins. This is a different era with different tools. The misinformation/disinformation will and does control the population of this once great country. Any small acts of defiance will be put down, to many people on government handouts to rebel against their masters. All the world order is waiting for is enough old people to die and who is left will be Left. The woman looking for a few good men will be hard pressed to find them among the millennial metrosexuals. I would love to know how anyone intends to “recapture the independence, self sufficiency, and God fearing values before it is too late”. Please let us know the plan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d argue that such a statement is blanket in nature and self defeating, two things I despise most, however you are free to hold such opinions.

      I’d also very easily argue, based upon contemporary events, that traditional controls of media have been nullified. Direction of the military/police/social control apparatus is at best fragmented and loyal to many masters as well, not limited to a homogeneous ideology as so many of the laity pontificate.

      I’d argue, should you feel so fruitless in your individual endeavors, that reading such drivel as mine or the other outlets which brought you here are a waste of your time. There’s plenty of more entertaining ways to pass your time whilst singing the tunes of ‘…everything is awesome…’

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Pogo

      2 – please consider the utility of “pirate radio” when viewing the control over media as insurmountable. If freedom fighters can’t capture local media outlets and change the content, they damn sure can render them useless, and establish new media sources that will supplant them and get out their message. The Branch Davidians had guns; what they needed was communications.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. thedude

      War is largely a battle of willpower and determination. If you have already given up you are of no use to anyone except the tyrant whose boot needs licking.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Badger

    Thank you for that. Other than a few good-natured ticks of the proof-reader’s pencil that is simply a damned good piece of writing. It will make it to discussion with the grand-kids.
    2x thumbs-up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ray

    Interesting look at the politics of the18th century. BUT: It overlooks the fact that whites had been moving west into Kentucky since before the F&I war. My mothers family came to Ky. sometime before 1758 (oldest burial in our family plot) and my ancestors sister was D.Boone’s mother. I know of three “trading post’s” and four “forts” in central Ky. alone that were established before 1700. They say that “history is written by the victors”, but the history of the trans-Appalatichian region was rewritten by the eastern plantation owners who awarded themselves with “ownership” of places like Ky., Tenn. and Ohio after the American revolution. Then rewrote history to justify the theft of property from the whites that were already settled there ,and had been for a generation or more. Most of our “history” has been propagandized this way. Or do you believe that the “whisky rebellion” was really about whisky–Or rebellion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t overlook it, there were plenty of settlers there. But what were they doing? (I know the answer) The continental US had also mostly been explored long prior to the Lewis expedition as well. The Spanish crown had a handle on the West at least fifty years prior to us even thinking about it.

      But these facts are irrelevant to the larger point I was making.

      Like

  12. mtnforge

    History shows it is the dirt people who have ever effected positive change, the larger might of which has always originated in agrarian and provincial cultures. The statists and globalist, (did I repeat myself?), have yet to create the level of pressure on agenda 21’s “Unsecured Spaces” of the American frontier beyond the boundaries of metropolitan zones of influence, which by rights should lead to physical resistance. Though myself being a dirt person in the rural elevations of WV, developments current and possible are viewed with a very wary eye towards incursions beyond mostly provincial county and state government. It is common tribal and community knowledge who is corrupt, who is involved, how it functions, and the line of departure from tolerance to something of the roots of physical rebellion is when that corruption begins to prey on the poverty of the dirt people beyond the long held current, but despised state of affairs.
    I think it is safe to say that when your a dirt person in these ridges, most don’t have much, but some land to live off of, a sturdy house, trusted family and tribe, some local system D economy, and a propriety Christian charity. It isn’t much, but it is a good wholesome life with provincial serenity. But being it is so provincial it’s basic value'(s) leaves no room for tolerance for incursions by the State and it’s actors/agents such as they currently are. One blessing is the local Law presence is represented by a rather small Sheriff’s department and an occasional state trooper, building codes, permits, regulatory and administration tyranny in comparison to the world beyond these mountains are essentially non existent, I think because of the effects a low population and those who work for the county are born local. The state has for decades concentrated it’s administrative tyranny where the money was, around coal mining, and to a smaller value, logging. It’s expenditure on it’s tyranny spent on agents concerned with protecting it’s take from mining and logging, so they have had little interest in squeezing and extorting the dirt people.
    We did have a quite interesting event in the form of constitutional carry pass, the political lines where very telling, as it was unanimous vote by county representatives, against the agents of the state executive and state police who where satisfactorily outraged and predicted their day would come when the rest of us would rue our intransigence against their all consuming superiority and lordliness over our affairs. Their voices fell on deaf ears and politely mocked with the truly rightful and righteous phrase, God bless them.
    I am reluctant to say the character and caliber of the dirt people in these ridges guarantee’s action like the early colonials who jumped the Monogahela spine into the frontier, but there is courage and a cold Scotts Irish hillbilly’s revenge, a decisiveness that runs cold in many veins, that once triggered is indomitable and merciless. And most in these ridges are born with a rifle in one hand and a Cat joystick in the other. Men who understand and haven’t forgotten what a shovel an axe and a rifle are for, and a lot of women also. A fearlessness hard to define.
    In many ways, the facets of life, the way of living is preparatory to physical revolution, so much so the thinking and principles involved are part of hearts and minds, and only a minimum organization and auxiliary support, along with a refinement in small infantry mindset/tactics would be a force multiplayer in at least comparison to the outside world. I think to make these boys pissed off to where they seek restitution and revenge, you are kicking the timber hornets nest. It is with healthy respect the local law and county agents understand this, that it is always best to leave and let leave.

    I’m always interested in the parallels of character of the mountain boys in the Smokey’s, don’t hear much, but what the boys you work with who migrate up into the mines and forest to work, but they strike me as the same caliber and grit, just maybe a different clan.

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