The Continental Congress journal of proceedings does not contain back room discussions from Autumn of 1780. The delegates were weary from years of war. The army was tired and hungry. Enlistments were nearing expiration. The treasury was filled with IOUs.
General Clinton sat comfortably at British headquarters in New York City. They had enjoyed Philadelphia to the point of boredom and departed. The Red Coats, under Benedict Arnold, had ransacked Richmond VA. Patrick Ferguson was touring Georgia and the Carolinas, where he organized loyalist Tories for civil government offices and recruited soldiers to join Lord Cornwallis’ army in Charlotte. The powerful British navy roamed the American coast almost at will. Savannah, long regained by the British, was a harbor for rest and resupply from the interior. After General Benjamin Lincoln surrendered Charleston, General Horatio Gates took a new American army to the south. He lost it at Camden and retreated to North Carolina where GA and SC state officials had already fled for safety. General George Washington was dealing with a New Jersey mutiny in his army. New York and Charleston harbors were jammed with British prison ships full of sick and dying American soldiers.
Some of the delegates were discussing a peace treaty. Georgia and South Carolina were on the table to return as colonies of King George. Perhaps North Carolina was negotiable as well. Ten or eleven states at peace could be more comfortable than thirteen states at war.
Then on 07Nov1780, 6’7″ Joseph Greer pushed his way into the Philadelphia session to report the complete victory of the patriot militia over Ferguson’s loyalists at Kings Mountain in South Carolina. The Americans had captured 1200 stands of arms and every surviving enemy soldier in the battle on 07Oct1780. The reinvigorated congressmen took heart and began concentrating upon plans for victory instead of a premature treaty. With retelling, Greer gradually grew to 7’2″. Whatever the measure, Joseph Greer, from Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga (Elizabethton TN), towered over the average 5’7″ contemporaries of the era.