Sons of the American Revolution
Revolution History note
Misc. reminders and information
The January meeting of the
Tampa Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, will held on Saturday, January
17th at the Piccadilly Cafeteria, located at
American Revolution Notes:
This month we turn to
Following the disaster at
Morgan was already well known and
well respected. He was captured during
the assault on
When Greene split his army in two, Cornwallis responded by sending Banastre Tarleton after Morgan. Tarleton also had acquired a reputation. He was a good commander but also ruthless. At the skirmish at the Waxhaws, his men had cut down American soldiers trying to surrender. Plus, as the local loyalists and local patriots fought each other in a tit for tat guerilla war, very little quarter was given. Tarleton’s tactics had a mixed influence on the colonial militia men. On one hand it caused many people to sit on the sidelines and did have an effect on the militia once a battle or skirmish had begun. On the other hand, many of them were just mad enough that they were eager to have a chance to stop Tarleton.
Morgan, more than any other American commander understood the militia. He was one of them; a hard drinking, hard fighting back woodsmen. He knew they were at some level intimidated by Tarleton but he also knew that these were proud independent men. He had to somehow come up with a plan that allowed them to retain their self respect, inflict damage on the enemy while at the same time assuring them they could/would survive the engagement. His plan, which is no doubt familiar to most readers of this short essay, was to position his men in three lines. The first was a line of militia skirmishers, then a line of more reliable militia, back stopped by the trained continentals in a third line. The plan was simple. The skirmishers were to fire twice and then fall back and reorganize behind the militia line. The militia line was to fire twice and then fall back behind the continentals. Morgan’s assumptions, which proved to be correct, were that if the men understood all I have to do is fire twice and I’ve done my duty, they would do it. Second, he figured the British would see the planned withdrawal as the beginnings of a rout and lose their formation and begin to charge recklessly which would lead to the continentals being able to shock them with their well timed volleys.
The night prior to the battle Morgan went from camp fire to camp fire talking and joking with his men about their girlfriends, talking to them of home and explaining the plan with words of encouragement and motivation. As far as we know Morgan did not sleep that night, spending the whole night encouraging his men.
When Tarleton attacked the next day, Morgan’s plan unfolded brilliantly. While some of the skirmishers and militia only fired once, the effect was significant. They did inflict some casualties and the British did perceive a rout in the making. Just as the 2nd line was withdrawing, Wm. Washington’s cavalry crashed into the onrushing British further confusing them which set them up for the solid wall of continentals to finish the job.
Most historians agree that the
victory at Cowpens set the stage and was the opening act in the sequence of
events that would lead to
Misc. Notes and reminders:
Chapter Website—always remember you can find information about the chapter and programs on the chapter website. http://www.patriot-web.com/
One of the duties of the Chapter Chaplain is to send cards to our members that are sick. Another is to send a sympathy card to the family of a member who has passed away. If you know of anyone that should be the recipient of these cards please mention it to the chaplain at our next meeting.
Chapter officers and committee chairman are encouraged to send any pertinent information they wish included in the newsletter to the editor.