Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Battle of Cowpens

January 17, 1781: The Battle of Cowpens South Carolina.

The British and their Tory allies were guilty of many brutai and cruel acts throughout the western part of the state, where they held almost undisputed sway. A strong post was maintained at Ninety Six, and detachments were sent out to annoy the people almost every day. For the relief of this part of the state, General Greene sent Colonel Morgan with a good force of soldiers. Colonel Morgan began operations by dispatching Lieutenant Colonel Washington to attack a force of Tories who were plundering the people. Washington met these Tories near Hammond's store and completely routed them.

Cornet James Simons led a small force to a fort where General Cunningham had about 150 British militia to guard a supply of provisions and military stores. Simons, without the loss of a man, captured the stores and routed the enemy. These successes caused Cornwallis to fear for the safety of the post at Ninety Six, so he ordered Tarleton to throw himself at once across the path of Morgan. Tarleton took 1200 picked men and started after Morgan, while Cornwallis, to cut off any possible escape, marched northward in the direction of King's Mountain.

Instead of flying from Tarleton, Morgan advanced to meet him. On the 17th of January, 1781, the armies met at a place called Cowpens, and a terrific struggle ensued. Morgan had chosen his position with great judgment, and when Tarleton made his charges he was received with a deadly discharge of musketry. The Americans fired deliberately and at close range. Colonel Washington led a cavalry charge at the turning-point of the battle and won the day. The victory was complete. The British fled and were pursued for miles by the victorious Americans. The terror of Tarleton's name was lost. Eight hundred stand of arms, two cannon, and thirty-five wagons were captured. Congress voted medals to General Morgan and Colonels Washington and Howard, and a sword to Colonel Pickens.

Morgan knew that Cornwallis was close at hand with a strong force, so he prepared for a hasty retreat. He moved across Broad River as soon as he could after the battle. Cornwallis waited two days to make preparations, and that delay saved Morgan, who managed to get across the Catawba River just

Cornwallis came up in pursuit. The river then became much swollen on account of heavy rains, and Cornwallis was unable to get across. Morgan, saved by his delay, hurried on and joined General Greene with his prisoners and plunder. General Davidson was detailed to annoy Cornwallis as he advanced, and his riflemen shot many of the British soldiers.

The Battle of Cowpens

Description: English: The Battle of Cowpens, painted by William Ranney in 1845. The scene depicts an unnamed black soldier (left) firing his pistol and saving the life of Colonel William Washington (on white horse in center).

Date: 1845. Author: William Tylee Ranney (1813–1857) Link back to Creator infobox template..

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 in this case 1845, are now in the public domain.

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris in this case William Tylee Ranney (1813–1857) and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year. +sookie tex

TEXT CREDIT: Fifty lessons in the history of South Carolina Compiled by: John Langdon Weber. Publisher: Ginn & Co., 1891. Original from: the New York Public Library. Digitized: Feb 12, 2008. Length: 202 pages. Subjects: History › United States › State & Local › South, History / United States / State & Local / South, South Carolina.

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