The Battle of Cowpens • January 17th, 1781

<p>The Cowpens, South Carolina, January 17, 1781</p> <p>In upland South Carolina, at a place where local farmers penned their cows, an American force of 300 Continentals and 700 militia from North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, won a brillant victory against the British. On January 16, Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, pursued by 1,100 British under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, carefully picked his ground for a defensive battle. That night, Morgan personally went among the Continentals and militiamen to explain his plan of battle. Morgan wanted two good volleys from the militia, who would then be free to ride away. The next day, the battle went very much as Morgan had planned. Georgia and North Carolina sharpshooters, in front of the main body of American militia, picked off British cavalrymen as they rode up the slight rise toward the Americans. Then the deadly fire of the main body of South and North Carolina militia forced Tarleton to commit his reserves. Seeing the militia withdrawing as planned, the 17th Light Dragoons pursued, but were driven off by Morgan's cavalry. Meanwhile, the British infantry, who assumed that the Americans were fleeing, were hit by the main body of Continentals, Virginia militiamen, and a company of Georgians. At the battle's end they were aided by militia troops, who, instead of riding away as planned, attacked the 71st Highlanders, who were attempting to fight their way out of the American trap. The British lost: 100 killed including 39 officers, 229 wounded, and 600 captured. As they fled the field, Tarleton and his dragoons were pursued by Colonel William Washington's cavalry, which included mounted Georgia and South Carolina militiamen. The Continentals who fought at Cowpens are perpetuated today by the 175th Infantry, Maryland ARNG, and the 198th Signal Battalion, Delaware ARNG, and the Virginia militia by the 116th Infantry, Virginia ARNG. The heritage of the rest of the American troops who fought i</p>

The Battle of Cowpens by Don Troiani

 

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Battle of Cowpens “The bloody butcher” is what colonists called British Colonel Banastre Tarleton. He let his dragoons bayonet and hack hundreds of surrendering Americans at Buford’s Massacre during the battle of Waxhaw, May 29, 1780. In January of 1781, 26-year-old Colonel Banastre Tarleton led 1,200 of Britain’s best troops, consisting of British dragoons, regulars, highlanders…

 

 



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