Cowpens, Battle of

Cowpens, Battle of

      (January 17, 1781), in the American Revolution, brilliant American victory over a British force on the northern border of South Carolina, slowing Lord Cornwallis (Cornwallis, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess and 2nd Earl, Viscount Brome, Baron Cornwallis of Eye)'s campaign to invade North Carolina. From his headquarters at Charlotte, North Carolina, the new American commander in the South, General Nathanael Greene (Greene, Nathanael), had divided his army and sent a force of 1,000 men under General Daniel Morgan (Morgan, Daniel) to the southwest to intercept Cornwallis's advance. At Cowpens, Morgan confronted about 1,150 troops under Colonel Banastre Tarleton and inflicted a surprise defeat upon them. British casualties were set at about 600, while the Americans lost only 72. Not discouraged by what he described as a “very unexpected and severe blow,” Cornwallis pushed on into North Carolina.

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