CW3LD-02 Gillie, Third Continental 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.
One of Brigadier General Daniel Morgan’s greatest concerns was his lack of adequate numbers of dragoons. Dragoons served both sides as scouts, mounted pickets, mobile reserves, and shock troops. One of their primary functions was to exploit a victory by riding down the remnants of broken enemy infantry. Weapons included a carbine and a brace of heavy pistols, Although according to Colonel William Washington the “only necessary weapon a dragoon carries” was the sabre.
Several small volunteer militia contingents were hastily equipped as dragoons to reinforce the cavalry, as it was well known the strength of Tarleton’s mounted legion.