Monday, June 28, 2010

The Battle at Cowpens

Cowpens was a battle fought between Brigadier General Daniel Morgan and Bannister Tarlton. Tarlton was very arrogant and thought that this would be a easy victory over the Patriots. He was soon to be proven wrong. At 6:45 A.M, Tarleton met Morgan at Cowpens. Morgans plan was simple: he had 4 lines. The Skirmishers, The Militia, The Continentals, and the the Cavalry. When Tarleton saw the Skirmishers, he ordered his Dragoons to attack them. The militia fired a volley and dropped 15 Dragoons. They then retreated to the Second line with Pickens militia. The British infantry attacked again, this time reaching the militia. The Militia poured 2 volleys into the British and 40% of the British casualties were officers. Pickens' militia then filed around the American left to the rear as planned after getting off their second volley. The 71st Highlanders were ordered to flank the American right. John Eager Howard spotted the flanking movement and ordered the Virginia militiamen manning the American right to turn and face the Scots. However, in the noise of battle Howard's order was misunderstood and the militiamen began to withdraw. It was now 7:45 am and the British had been fighting for nearly an hour. They were tired and disorganized, but they saw the militia withdrawing and believed the Americans were on the run. They charged, breaking formation and advancing in a chaotic mass. Morgan ordered a volley. Howard's militia stopped their withdrawal and made an about-face. The Virginians fired into the British at a range of no more than thirty yards, with deadly effect, causing the confused British to lurch to a halt. John Eager Howard then shouted "Charge bayonets!" Some of Tarleton's men surrendered. Others turned and ran. Tarleton managed to escape and reported the defeat to Lord Cornwallis. The battle was won by the Americans.

I thought it was really interesting. Here is a map of the layout of the battle (Click on the image to enlarge it):

1 comment:

Joshua Horn said...

Very interesting! We are going to go to Cowpens this weekend.