07 January 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Pipes and drums

were part of some battles. I find no drummer, but some fifers on 07Oct1780. Fifer was alternately spelled Phifer in the German settlements. Phifer’s Mill was was a York District SC landmark. Martin and Caleb Fifer were officers in other engagements, though not in the Battle at Kings Mountain. They commanded some of the patriots who were at BKM.

William Hooker was a musician and a soldier learning to play the fife, perhaps tooting at BKM. Lewis Wolf was an accomplished fifer who sounded for other battles, some of which also had drummers. He was in the battle of Kings Mountain and likely tooted some. The sound of the fife was often used as a signal high above the lower pitched din of battle. A tune on the fife was also used to bolster morale.

Wayne Metcalf and George Thomason were drummers elsewhere and were in the Kings Mountain expedition, but did not mention drumming there. Andrew Ferguson (a patriot soldier of no known relation to Patrick Ferguson) mentioned that Jack Head was a drummer. They arrived at BKM when the action was over. In the European style battles, pipes, fifes, bugles, and drums were used for the cadence as units entered or departed the field and as they marched into the battle. Different regiments used different tunes. A given song on the pipes and drums growing louder as they approached could strike fear into the opposing army and provide comfort to the allied units.

Some of the BKM vets mentioned flag bearers, but not at BKM. The long expedition to catch Ferguson and the last minute rush made military parade elements, had they been available, unworkable at BKM. The battle took a backwoods frontier character, not the style of open field battles such as Cowpens.

Leave a Reply