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Tarleton, Banastre (1751-1833)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“T” is for Tarleton, Banastre (1751-1833).  British soldier. A native of Liverpool, Tarleton purchased a commission in the British army in 1775 and sailed for America in 1776. Impressing his superior officers, he rose steadily through the ranks and in 1778 was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the unit known as the British Legion. Tarleton’s unit was part of the British army sent south in 1779. His dragoons completely overwhelmed the American cavalry defending Charleston. He exceled at quick-strike, surprise attacks that overwhelmed his foes. After Charleston’s surrender, he tracked down and attacked retreating American troops at the Waxhaws. His cavalry smashed into the American infantry, and a horrible slaughter ensued. Word of the massacre spread quickly. Until his defeat at Blackstock’s and Cowpens, Banastre Tarleton’s methods were brutally effective against South Carolina patriots.