232 Years Since Cowpens

Thursday, January 17, AD 2013

A very accurate video on the battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781.  Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, the American commander, was an American original.  An ill-educated frontiersman, Morgan was also a natural leader of men, made easier by his height, well over six-foot, and his robust sense of humor, along with his willingness to use his fists to enforce discipline if necessary.  He served in the French and Indian War, being sentenced to 500 lashes for punching a British officer.  He later made a joke of it saying that in carrying out the sentence the count was one short, but it was a tribute to his toughness that he survived such an experience.  It is a pity that the late John Wayne, circa 1955, did not appear in a movie bio of this remarkable man.

At the beginning of the Revolution, Morgan led a company of Virginia riflemen to join Washington’s Army besieging Boston.  Volunteering to join the invasion of Canada, he led three companies of riflemen that quickly became known as Morgan’s Sharpshooters.  In the attack on Quebec on December 31, 1775, Captain Morgan led his men in ferocious fighting in the city.  The attack was ultimately defeated, with Morgan refusing to surrender to the British and instead tendering his sword to a French priest.

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2 Responses to 232 Years Since Cowpens

  • To have survived 499 lashes is amazing.

    American Cannae, maybe; American Hannibal . . .

    The contributions of men like Washington, Morgan, the Continental Regular, and militia (men like you and I) cannot be exaggerated.

  • One of the more brilliant examples of tactical planning in American military history–he made his own weaknesses work in his favor. The fact he’d worn out the British by keeping a step ahead of them for weeks didn’t hurt.

    If only William Washington had run Bloody Ban through–he wounded Tarleton, if I recall correctly.

    And the Cannae reference is dead on: during the Civil War, both sides would desperately look for battles of annihilation, but never come close to achieving them. With the partial exception of Thomas at Nashville, I suppose.