Here in Tennessee, when you think of “Volunteers,” you think of football, basketball, and Big Orange Country.

But did you ever wonder why they’re actually called The Volunteers?

It all started back during the American Revolution, when our only hope of independence depended on the little militias and “minutemen” who courageously fought against the British crown. Many of these patriots had defied a royal order that said: “no subject shall settle west of the Appalachian Mountains,” and were labeled “Overmountain Men.”

Well, in 1780, British Colonel Patrick Ferguson threatened these settlers, saying that if they didn’t “desist from their opposition to the British crown,” he’d “lay their country waste with fire and sword.”


So, a few militias from North Carolina and Virginia decided they’d take it upon themselves to confront Ferguson’s army, which was camped at King’s Mountain, South Carolina.

Naturally, when the folks in Tennessee heard about this, they decided to “volunteer” their services in the fight. And after their own little pep rally at Sycamore Shoals, they hiked 200 miles to King’s Mountain, and totally decimated the Colonel’s army in less than an hour.

Historians agree that it was actually the turning point in the Revolutionary War, and saved America’s hope for victory.

Go Volunteers!