Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Davidson, William

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DAVIDSON, William, soldier, b. in Lancaster county, Pa., in 1746; killed at the battle of Cowan's Ford, N. C., 1 Feb., 1781. His father removed with his family to Rowan county, N. C., in 1750, and William, the youngest son, was educated at Queen's museum, afterward Liberty hall, Charlotte. At the beginning of the Revolution he was appointed major in one of the first regiments raised in North Carolina, and was in the engagements at Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. In November, 1779, he was detached to re-enforce the army of Gen. Lincoln in the south, at which time he commanded his regiment with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In an engagement with a party of loyalists, near Calson's Mill, a ball passed through his body; but he took the field eight weeks later, with the rank of brigadier-general conferred on him by the state of North Carolina, and exerted himself to interrupt the progress of Cornwallis. Detached by Gen. Greene on 31 Jan., 1781, to guard the wagon ford chosen by Cornwallis for his night passage of the Catawba, Gen. Davidson posted himself on the bank of the river with 250 men. The British army forced its way across, reserving its fire until it had reached the bank, when the militia fled. Gen. Davidson was the last on the field, and was pierced by a rifle-ball through the breast. Congress voted $500 for a monument to him, but it has never been erected. Davidson college, N. C., is named in his honor, and his sword hangs in one of its halls.