By Liberty Mountain, May 23 2018 01:45AM
"Neighbor against neighbor, even brother against brother." The Battle of Kings Mountain is known as the largest all-American battle of the Revolutionary War, as both sides were mostly comprised of American settlers and their families. Maj. Ferguson's army mainly consisted of loyalist militiamen, while the Patriot forces were made up of largely untrained Overmountain settlers. Historians often estimate that between 15%-20% Americans remained loyal to the crown at the time of the Revolution, putting their number at around 400,000.
Why did they remain loyal to Great Britain? Many were older and resistant to change, others felt that disloyalty to the crown was morally wrong. Some did not believe America was strong enough to sustain itself as its own country. Still others were worried that the new Patriot government would not be able to control the territories, resulting in mob rule, while others remembered the brutal defeat of the Jacobites in Scotland some 40 years prior, which lead to massive casualties, executions, and confiscations of land. African American slaves were also promised freedom in the British Empire if they fought for the crown.
There was not a conflict that involved so many Americans fighting against each other until the Civil War more than 80 years later. Even after the end of the Revolutionary War, all wounds were not healed immediately. Anyone professing loyalty to the crown was not allowed to stay in the United States, so many either fled to the United Kingdom or kept their opinions to themselves. After the Battle of Kings Mountain, South Carolina loyalists were offered pardons if they joined the Patriot forces. After the war, some were required to pay a 10% fine on their property. Most, however, were pardoned and assimilated into the United States. It is estimated that 15% of British loyalists returned to the United Kingdom, or fled to Canada.