He enlisted in 1776 at age 18 in Burke County, North Carolina, serving nine months with Captain Knox’s company.
Rendezvousing at Salisbury then marching down Cape Fear River into Charleston South Carolina, Duckworth fought in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island against Britain’s first attempt to capture the city.
When Captain Knox was fatally wounded, his company was discharged. In August 1777, Duckworth returned home only to volunteer again under Captain Kennedy and Captain Harden in scouting party expeditions against the Cherokee Indians.
Volunteering yet again, Duckworth served six months with Captain Lytle on the frontier of Burke County along the Catawba River, maintaining forts to guard against American Indian attacks until peace was made with the natives.
After Charleston surrendered on May 12, 1780, the British controlled South Carolina and Georgia. Their next target was North Carolina, and Lord Cornwallis’ Tory officers were enthusiastic to conquer their North Carolina home in the name of the King.
In true patriot fashion, Duckworth volunteered once again to fight against the Tories in the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill and was wounded in June. This battle disrupted Loyalist support for Lord Cornwallis, providing energy for the crucial patriot victory months later.
In October 1780, with his arm in a sling, Duckworth joined other mountain men and helped Colonels Shelby and Sevier in defeating the despicable British Major Ferguson at the Battle of King’s Mountain.
His service lasted two years, simply because Duckworth loved his homeland and did not want to be a subject of Britain’s King George III any longer.
Late in life, he served as honorary banner carrier during parades to support political candidates.