COL Patrick Ferguson

COL Patrick Ferguson

Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Death 7 Oct 1780 (aged 36)
Blacksburg, Cherokee County, South Carolina, USA
Burial Blacksburg, Cherokee County, South Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 10227 · View Source
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British commander at Battle of King's Mountain. Scots army officer, rifle designer and satirist; commander of Loyal American troops at King's Mountain. He was born in Edinburgh on 4 June 1744, the second son of advocate (later judge) James Ferguson of Pitfour and his wife Anne Murray, and nephew of General James Murray. His family had close links with leading figures of the Edinburgh Enlightenment: Hume, Kames, Monboddo, Boswell. Another maternal uncle, Patrick Murray, Lord Elibank, wa a noted literary patron. Patrick was commissioned Cornet in the Scots Greys in 1759, and served briefly in the Seven Years' War, having to return home after a knee ailment, probably TB, left him slightly lame. He then served with his regiment around Britain on garrison duty. In 1768, he bought a company in the 70th Foot, with whom he served in the West Indies, again until his bad leg began to trouble him. Returning home, he became interested in the development of Light Infantry tactics, and commanded his regiment's light company. He worked on a modification of Chaumette's breech-loading system, which became the Ferguson rifle. He was sent to the American colonies in 1777, to give his rifle a field trial with a trained rifle corps. However, he was badly wounded at Brandywine, his right elbow immobilised by a shot. He overcame his disability, learning to fence and shoot with his left hand. He led daring raids against the enemy, and refortified Stony Point. He wrote several satirical essays for Rivington's Royal Gazette, under various pen-names. In the Southern Campaign of 1780, he was promoted to Major in the 71st Foot (Fraser's), and Inspector General of Militia. He was killed in action, suffering about a dozen bullet-wounds, and his body ill-used before burial in a beef-hide. He was the only British serviceman in the battle, his troops being Loyal militia and uniformed American Volunteers from New York and New Jersey. According to tradition, one of his mistresses, a redhead known as Virginia Sal, was also killed and is buried with him. He was a slight, wiry young man, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Bio by: Doc M

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10227
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for COL Patrick Ferguson (4 Jun 1744–7 Oct 1780), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10227, citing Kings Mountain Battleground Cemetery, Blacksburg, Cherokee County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .