'Twas the Night Before Kings Mountaing at Cowpens National Battlefield

OVTA presenting program

At 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 6, the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, which annually retraces the 330-mile march that patriot militia took to Kings Mountain in 1780, will present a special drama about the events that took place at the Cow Pens that night before the Revolutionary War battle of Kings Mountain. The free 45-minute performance will explain why the Over Mountain Men were coming from Tennessee and Virginia to meet the loyalists at Kings Mountain, South Carolina; how the patriots chose those who would continue on the march to Kings Mountain; and what other events occurred that night before the great patriot militia victory over the loyalist militia on the following day.

This year the park has added to the event:

  • 4:00 – 5:30 Interact with reenactors around their campfire as they talk about the night before Kings Mountain, and learn how to roll musket cartridges and make musket balls.
  • 5:30 – 6:00 Cavalry demonstration
  • 6:30 – 7:15 Drama, “’Twas the Night before Kings Mountain”

Bring the family, lawn chairs, and blankets and enjoy an entertaining evening on the lawn behind the Visitor Center.

On October 6, 1780, patriot militiamen from across the mountains in Virginia and Tennessee met at the Cow Pens, a well-known South Carolina backcountry pasturing area, to plan their attack on British Major Patrick Ferguson’s loyalist militia at nearby Kings Mountain. Ferguson infuriated the “Over Mountain Men” by threatening to “march over the mountains, hang their leaders and lay waste their country with fire and sword” if they did not stop their opposition to the king. Though 1800 men gathered at the Cow Pens, only 900 continued to Kings Mountain on horseback. Three months later, Daniel Morgan and his American army would defeat Lt. Colonel “Bloody” Banastre Tarleton’s British army at the same Cow Pens where the Kings Mountain attack had been planned. These two battles helped turn the tide of America’s fight for independence.

Kings Mountain National Military Park will celebrate the 228th anniversary of the battle with an encampment on October 4-5, and with a wreath-laying ceremony, the arrival of the Over Mountain Marchers, and a speech on October 7. For more information on the Battle of Kings Mountain celebration, please call Kings Mountain National Military Park at (864) 936-7921 or visit the park’s webpage at www.nps.gov/kimo.

Cowpens National Battlefield has a visitor center, movie, bookstore, and a one-mile trail on the battlefield. There is also a picnic area, nature trail and three mile auto tour loop. Visitor Center hours are 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. For more information, call (864) 461-2828 or visit the park’s webpage at www.nps.gov/cowp.


Last updated: April 14, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Cowpens National Battlefield
338 New Pleasant Road

Gaffney, SC 29341


(864) 461-2828

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