Patrick Ferguson, the British commander at Kings Mountain, is best known for his rifle. Ferguson improved on an earlier design to produce a breech-loading rifle. This weapon was loaded from the rear, and did not require a ramrod. It could be loaded while lying or crouching, which was impossible with traditional muzzle loading rifles.
Ferguson's rifle combined the speed of a musket with the accuracy of a rifle. During a test before the King and Queen, he fired 6 shots a minute.
Only about 100 Ferguson Rifles were produced. Ferguson was given command of a special rifle corps as an experiment in 1777. They fought at the Battle of Brandywine, PA, where Ferguson was severely wounded. During his recovery, the corps was disbanded. It is not known if any Ferguson rifles were with him at Kings Mountain, as he commanded new troops in the South. His death at the battle ended efforts to promote the rifle.
The original Ferguson Rifle on display at the park is one of only a few on public display.
Did You Know?
Kings Mountain National Military Park was established in 1930 and run initially by the War Department. Kings Mountain NMP is one of the largest National Military Parks, at nearly 4,000 acres, it is one of two Revolutionary War National Military Parks.