Sycamore Shoals

25Sep1780 below the confluence of Doe and Watauga Rivers, now Elizabethton TN, some Carolina and Georgia refugees had been taking refuge from the Red Coats and Tories who had driven them from their homes. Some had brought families. Some were with remnants of militia companies. With some food and rest among the Watauga settlements, they were anxious to return and to protect what was left of their homes.

Sycamore Shoals>-map Elizabethton TN

Since they had arrived, the volunteers of Washington County (soon to be Franklin, then to be Tennessee) NC had begun preparations for an expedition. Mary Patton had a recipe for gun powder which she had meticulously followed in her makeshift laboratory to make the finest quality available on the frontier. She had 500 pounds for the Vols.

John Adair, the NC land agent had some state money. He told Col John Sevier and Col Isaac Shelby that he had no authority to loan them money to provision their militias. Then he told them that if Ferguson came over the mountain, he might have neither authority nor money. He made the loan.

Isaac Shelby hired blacksmith John Corsage to strip iron from wagons to make horseshoes for his militia.

When Samuel Phillips brought word to Col Evan Shelby’s fort about Ferguson’s threat, the word went out through the hills to meet at Sycamore Shoals on Monday 25Sep. Rev. Samuel Doak came on Tuesday to send the men off with and inspiring sermon. The hillbillies, I mean Blue Grass Americans, knew well the story behind his “smite the foe with the sword of the Lord and the sword of Gideon” line in the benediction.

Just as they were moving out on Tuesday, Col Arthur Campbell brought 200 more men from Virginia to join the expedition.

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