At the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina on January 17, 1781, during the Revolutionary War , American troops under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan routed British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. The Americans inflicted heavy casualties on the British, and the battle was a turning point in the war’s Southern campaign.
More than 800 British troops were killed, wounded or captured. The Americans suffered less than 100 casualties in the first Patriot victory to demonstrate that they could outfight a similar British force without any other factors
Morgan instructed the militia to skirmish with them but to leave the front line after firing two rounds. The British mistook the repositioning of the Americans as a rout and ran into an unexpected volley of concentrated rifle fire
After the British scored victories in South Carolina at Charleston and Camden, Major General Nathanael Greene, commander of the Continental army’s Southern campaign, decided to divide Patriot troops in the Carolinas in order to force the larger British contingent under General Charles Cornwallis
Daniel Morgan was an American pioneer, soldier, and politician from Virginia. One of the most gifted battlefield tacticians of the American Revolutionary War, he later commanded troops during the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion
The Battle of Cowpens, together with the King's Mountain, caused Lord Cornwallis to pull troops from South Carolina and move them farther north, leading to Yorktown and eventually the end of the Revolutionary war.