William Lee Davidson
|William Lee Davidson|
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
|Place of burial||Hopewell Presbyterian Church|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
North Carolina Militia
|Years of service||1775–1781|
|Unit||4th North Carolina Regiment|
Battle of Colson's Mill
Battle of Cowan's Ford
Origins and education
William Lee Davidson was born in 1746 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His father moved with his family to Rowan County, North Carolina, in 1750, and William, the youngest son, was educated at Queen's Museum (later Liberty Hall) in Charlotte.
Active in the war from its inception as adjutant to General Griffith Rutherford during the Snow Campaign in December 1775, he was promoted to major of the Fourth Regiment of the North Carolina line in 1776. He marched with the North Carolina line to the north and was at the Battle of Germantown, after which he was promoted to Lt. Colonel of the Fifth Regiment of the North Carolina line. At Valley Forge with Washington, “Light Horse Harry” Lee, Daniel Morgan and others, he became friends with most of the influential military commanders in the Continental Line. Left without a command he had been ordered out for the purpose of preventing the British from crossing the Catawba. Griffith Rutherford appointed Davidson his second in command. Severely wounded at the Battle of Colson's Mill on July 21, 1780, he did not participate in the Battle of Camden at which Rutherford was captured. Davidson was promoted to brigadier general and given command of Rutherford's Salisbury District militia. He participated in resisting the entry of Lord Cornwallis into Charlotte in late September 1780. Davidson was killed at the Battle of Cowan's Ford in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on February 1, 1781 while opposing the re-entry of Cornwallis into North Carolina. General Davidson was trying to rally his men as the lead British and German elements arrived on the near bank. He was killed within minutes as the engagement unfolded. Davidson's body was recovered by fellow officers later that evening after the battle; and was buried at Hopewell Presbyterian Church located on Beatties Ford Road North of Charlotte.
- Davidson County, North Carolina and Davidson County, Tennessee.
- The town of Davidson, North Carolina.
- Davidson College in North Carolina. His sword once hung in one of its halls.
Congress voted $500 for a monument to him, but it has never been erected.
- "Descendants of William Lee Davidson Sr. and Mary Brevard". Rootsweb. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Davidson, William". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
- Stonestreet, O.C. IV, The Battle of Cowan's Ford: General Davidson's Stand on the Catawba River and its place in North Carolina History, (Createspace Publishing, 2012) ISBN 978-1468077308.pp.10-11.
- William S. Powell, Ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill: 1991), Vol. 2, pp. 27-28.
- Charles B. Baxley (February 2006). Battle of Cowan’s Ford 3 (2). SCAR. p. 3.
- Chalmers Davidson. Piedmont Partisan: The Life and Times of Brigadier General William Lee Davidson. Davidson: Davidson College, 1951.
- O’Kelley, Patrick. Nothing but Blood and Slaughter: The Revolutionary War in the Carolinas: Volume Three 1781. Booklocker.com. 2005.
- Muster Roll of 5th NC Division at Valley Forge
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 101.
- Davidson Encyclopedia
- David Ramsay, The History of the American Revolution, vol. 2 (1789)
- Battle of Cowan's Ford
- Death of General Davidson
- Hopewell Presbyterian Church: General Davidson's Wallet
- Davidson College: Alumnus Reclaims College Namesake's Revolutionary War "Wallet" for USA