The Battle of Cowpens (Part 1)

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  • On December 3, 1780, Nathanael Greene received control over the colonial forces in the South. Gen. Charles Cornwallis of the British army attempted to destroy Greene's much smaller army and pursued them.
  • Nathanael Greene
  • Greene divided his already smaller army in half and put Daniel Morgan in command for his second half of his army. Cornwallis divided his army in half as well, with one half chasing Greene and the other, led by Banastre Tarleton, chasing Morgan.
  • This ended up leading to the Battle of Cowpens when Daniel Morgan's half of the Continental Army made a stand at Cowpens in South Carolina.
  • Going against the normal way, Morgan lined his men up with their backs to the Broad River. He did this because the militia often fled as soon as shots were fired, and he wanted to prevent them from simply running away.
  • Morgan situated his men into 3 lines. His first line was sharpshooters, his second was militia commanded by Andrew Pickens, and his third line was composed of the Continental soldiers commanded by John Howard.
  • Morgan told the second line of militia that the first line would be running back from their position and that it is all planned. He gave them the same directions as the first line, fire twice when they see the British and then retreat.
  • Since Morgan knew his militia would flee as soon as fighting started, he instructed his first line of militia to, when they see the British, fire, reload, fire again, and then retreat.
  • Once you see the British, fire twice and then you can retreat.
  • The night before the battle, General Morgan encouraged his soldiers at their campfires. He went between the different campfires making speeches and talking about past battles, putting the army in good spirits the day before the battle.
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