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"C" is for Cowpens, Battle of (January 17, 1781)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Cowpens, Battle of (January 17, 1781). In mid-December 1780 General Daniel Morgan’s "Flying Army" threatened the British stronghold of Ninety Six. British general Lord Cornwallis responded by dispatching Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton to protect Ninety Six and drive Morgan out of South Carolina. Morgan withdrew and assembled his force at Hannah’s Cowpens, a well-known local site situated near the North Carolina border in present-day Cherokee County. When the British reached the battlefield about daybreak, Morgan—reinforced by militia to about two thousand men—was ready to fight. Initially, the Americans withdrew and lured the British into charging into their lines. Then, having reloaded their weapons, the Patriots turned and fired—shocking the enemy. American infantry and dragoons swept the battlefield. The Battle of Cowpens was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.