The Beginning of the End of the American Revolution

Portrait Banastre Tarleton by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Portrait of Banastre Tarleton by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens (1781), one of the most disastrous defeats of British forces in the Southern theater of operations during the American Revolution. Portrayed by Mel Gibson like it was a sequel to the film “Braveheart” in his cartoonish “The Patriot,” the American victory at Cowpens, South Carolina, did two things that are far more impressive than an epic, slow-motion portrayal of guerrilla battles. First, Daniel Morgan and his army turned the flanks of the infamous Banastre Tarleton’s British Legion, a force which had crushed American efforts to block British operations in the Carolinas, and destroyed both Tarleton’s legion and its fierce reputation forever. Second, Lord Cornwallis and his exhausted army gave up on the Carolinas, moving forces back to Virginia where by October 18 the British army surrendered at Yorktown. Cowpens can accurately be called the beginning of the end of the war for independence. The National Park Service has a superb synopsis of the battle here.

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Filed under History of the Declaration of Independence

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