CW71-05 Two Line Infantry, 1st Battalion, 71st Regt of Foot
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.
The 71st Regiment of Foot was a regiment of infantry raised in 1775, and unofficially known as Fraser’s Highlanders. It was disbanded in 1786. The regiment was raised at Inverness, Stirling and Glasgow by Lieutenant- General Simon Fraser of Lovat as the 71st Regiment of Foot in 1775.
It was specifically intended for service in the American Revolutionary War.
After service in the northern colonies, the regiment was sent south in December 1778. From that time forward all parts of the regiment were involved in most actions of the southern campaign. The 71st was to incorporate numerous colonial recruits, though the morale of the unit as a regular regiment was high.
The 1st Battalion under Major Archibald McArthur was assigned to Tarleton’s command to pursue Daniel Morgan’s Flying army until the clash at Cowpens. The only men to escape the Cowpens debacle were those few left guarding the baggage train in the rear. As a result of the defeat the regiment thereafter wore no uniform facings. The officers of the 71st petitioned Cornwallis that the regiment never again serve under Tarleton’s command, and Cornwallis honored the request. The remnants of the 71st would fight on, and surrendered at Yorktown.