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Battle of the Cowpens

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

January 17.—This morning, after a very severe action, General Morgan, with a detachment of the southern army, obtained a complete victory over Colonel Tarleton at the Cowpens, with eleven hundred and fifty men, the flower of Cornwallis’s army. Tarleton, that enterprising, though inhuman young officer, advanced to the attack about sunrise. General Morgan was apprised of his approach, and had time to form his troops in a manner which would have done honor to the most experienced general. His whole force, including the Georgia, South and North Carolina militia, amounted to but eight hundred men. The conflict was severe, and the Americans at first were yielding to the impression. A critical manoeuvre was performed in the height of the action. The continental infantry were obliged to change their front, to prevent their being flanked by the enemy; it was done with coolness and activity, and terminated the fate of the day. When formed, a close and well-directed fire was given, which threw the enemy into confusion. Embracing the fortunate moment, a general charge was directed, a total route ensued, and no opposition was made afterwards. About eight hundred, including the wounded, with twenty-nine commissioned officers, were taken prisoners, and near one hundred and fifty left dead on the field; two field-pieces, the same which General Morgan took in 1777, upon Bemis Heights, two stands of colors, thirty-five baggage wagons, and eight hundred stands of excellent arms, together with all their music, were among the trophies of victory; and what adds to its importance, it was obtained with the loss of but ten killed and fifty-three wounded of the Americans.

This is but the prelude to the era of 1781, the close of which, we hope, will prove memorable in the annals of history, as the happy period of peace, liberty, and independence to America.1


1 New Jersey Gazette, February 21.