CW17-04 Trooper, 17th Light DragoonsTrooper, 17th Light Dragoons
The Battle of Cowpens was an engagement during the American Revolutionary War fought on January 17th 1781, near the town of Cowpens, South Carolina, between American forces under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, and British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, as part of the campaign in the Carolinas.
The battle was a turning point in the American reconquest of South Carolina from the British.
Tarleton’s force of 1,000 British troops were set against 2,000 troops under Morgan. Morgan’s forces suffered casualties of only 25 killed and 124 wounded. Tarleton’s force was almost completely eliminated with almost 30% casualties and 55% of his force captured or missing, with Tarleton himself and only about 200 British troops escaping.
Morgan’s forces conducted a double envelopment of the British forces, the only double envelopment of the war.
Formed in 1759, the regiment was sent to Boston in 1775 to help quell the growing rebellion. Only a small part of the regiment was sent south and was attached to Tarleton’s command. They are said to have clung to the by now bedraggled scarlet coats that set them apart from the green uniformed Provincials of the British Legion.
Only about a hundred dragoons were present at the Cowpens battle, and it was the only unit to retire from the battlefield in good order.