Friday, 23 July 2010
Ulstermen played a major role during the American War of Independence which lasted from 1775 to 1783. Twenty-five of the American generals were of Ulster Scot descent as was half of the revolutionary army. One famous force of regular soldiers was the Pennsylvania Line and it was composed almost entirely of Ulster Scots and the sons of Ulster Scots.
The turning point in the war was the Battle of King's Mountain in South Carolina on 7 October 1780. A body of American militiamen defeated a British force twice its size and took 1,000 prisoners. The five colonels in the American force were all Presbyterian elders of Ulster stock and their men were of the same race and faith.
President Theodore Roosevelt made this comment on the Ulster contribution to the war: "in the Revolutionary war . . . the fiercest and most ardent Americans of all were the Presbyterian Irish settlers and their descendants". He described those Ulster Scots as "a grim, stern people, strong and simple, . . . the love of freedom rooted in their very hearts' core".
The Ulster immigrants brought with them from the shores of Ulster a love of freedom and in America's hour of crisis they fought to defend freedom. They had traveled far across the sea but their courage, convictions and commitment were undiminished.