Battle of Ramsour's Mill

Battle of Ramsour's Mill

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The Battle of Ramsour's Mill took place on June 20, 1780 in present-day Lincolnton, North Carolina, during the British campaign to gain control of the southern colonies in the American Revolutionary War. The number of fighters on each side of the battle is still an issue of contention, but Loyalist militiamen (many of them German Palatine emigrants and settlers in the local area) outnumbered Patriot militia and had captured a group of Patriots who they were planning to hang on the morning of June 20.

The one to two-hour battle during the foggy morning of June 20 did not involve any regular army forces from either side and was literally fought between family, friends, and neighbors with muskets sometimes being used as clubs because of a lack of ammunition. Numerous cases of fratricide occurred during the battle. William Simpson, a patriot scout, rushed to the battle to kill his brother Reuben, and Peter Costner, a loyalist, was killed by his brother Thomas who buried his sibling's corpse after the fight.  Despite being outnumbered, the Patriot militia defeated the Loyalists.

The battle was significant in that it lowered the morale of Loyalists in the south, weakening their support of the British