Revolutionary War: The Battle of Cowpens

via: American Minute w/Bill Federer

The Battle of Cowpens, JANUARY 17, 1781, depicted in Mel Gibson’s movie “The Patriot,” was where American General Daniel Morgan had a line of militia fire into British General Cornwallis’ and Colonel Tarleton’s dragoons, regulars, Highlanders and loyalists.

When the Americans retreated, the British pursued, only to be surprised by American Continentals waiting over the hill. In the confusion, the Americans killed 110 British and captured 830.

Cornwallis regrouped and chased the Americans, arriving at the Catawba River just two hours after the Americans had crossed, but a storm made the river impassable. He nearly overtook them as they were getting out of the Yadkin River, but rain flooded the river.

This happened again at the Dan River. British Commander Henry Clinton wrote:

“Here the royal army was again stopped by a sudden rise of the waters, which had only just fallen (almost miraculously) to let the enemy over.”

In March of 1781, General Washington wrote to William Gordon:

“We have . . . abundant reasons to thank Providence for its many favorable interpositions in our behalf. It has at times been my only dependence, for all other resources seemed to have failed us.”


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