The ‘Old Wagoner’ and the ‘Green Dragoon’
M. Foster Farley describes the battle of the Cowpens, of January 17th, 1781, whereby an experienced old soldier, Daniel Morgan, routed the force led by Banastre Tarleton, a ‘ruthless and ambitious’ young adventurer.
Today, where youth everywhere are the darlings of this world, and ‘older’ individuals are being more and more hurried into retirement, it is refreshing to read in history of an ‘old man’ totally defeating a rash young man in his early twenties.
The victory of American arms at the Cowpens, now in Cherokee County, South Carolina, near the city of Gaffney, in early 1781, over a corps of British and Loyalist regulars, was the second victory enjoyed by the Americans within three months. Depressed by years of defeat and persecution, American hopes had been raised by their victory at King’s Mountain, also in South Carolina, the previous October. Cowpens transformed that hope into bold action. After Cowpens, lukewarm sympathizers became more positive; hesitant Whigs more outspoken; and fervent patriots more active in their support of the struggle for independence.