The Battle of Cowpens
January 17, 1781, it was a decisive victory by American
Revolutionary forces under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, in
the Southern campaign of the American Revolutionary War. It
was a turning point in the reconquest of South Carolina from
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The Battle of Cowpens?
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1) Lt. Col Banastre Tarleton commanded
the British forces. General Cornwallis instructed Tarleton and
his Legion, who had been successful at battles such as Camden
and Waxhaw in the past, to destroy Morgan's command.
2) At 2:00 a.m. on January 17, 1781,
Tarleton roused his troops and continued his march to the
Cowpens. Lawrence Babits A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle
of Cowpens states that, "in the five days before
Cowpens, the British were subjected to stress that could only
be alleviated by rest and proper diet". He points out
that "in the forty-eight hours before the battle, the
British ran out of food and had less than four hours' sleep".
3) Realizing that poorly-trained militia
were unreliable in battle, especially when they were under
attack from cavalry, Morgan decided to ask the militia to fire
two shots and then retreat, so he could have them re-form
under cover of the reserve (cavalry commanded by William
Washington and James McCall) behind the third, more
experienced line of militia and continentals. The movement of
the militia in the second line would mask the third line to
the British. The third line, composed of the remainder of the
forces (about 550 men) was composed of Continentals from
Delaware and Maryland, and militiamen from Georgia and
Virginia. Colonel John Eager Howard commanded the Continentals
and Colonels Tate and Triplett the militia.
4) Taking the withdrawal of the first
two lines as a full blown retreat, the British advanced
headlong into the awaiting final line of disciplined regulars
which firmly held on the hill.
Who did Tarleton order to
attack the American's?
Loyalist Prince of Wales' American
5) The Americans retreated. Flushed with
victory and now disorganized, the British ran after them.
Abruptly, the American's pulled an about-face, fired an
extremely devastating volley into his enemy, and then charged.
Who lead the American troops?
Lt. Col. Benjamin Martin
Lt. Col. John Eager Howard
Lt. Col. Harry Burwell
6) With Tarleton's right flank and
center line collapsed, there remained only a minority of his
troops who were still putting up a fight against part of the
What was the British force?
17th Light Dragoons
7) Tarleton was stopped by an American
officer, who attacked him with his saber, calling out,
"Where is now the boasting Tarleton?".
Who was the
Lt. Col. William Washington
Captain John Lawson
Colonel Joseph McDowell
8) Tarleton was given the nickname
"Barbarous Ban" by the Patriot press, a title that
Tarleton relished since he felt it gave his command an
9) Daniel Morgan had fought a masterly
battle. His tactical decisions and personal leadership had
allowed a force consisting mainly of militia to fight
according to their strengths to win one of the most complete
victories of the war.
What was he known as?
The Old Waggoner
The Old Ranger
The Old Man
10) In July 1781, who did Morgan briefly
join to once more pursue Banastre Tarleton, this time in
Virginia, but they were not successful?