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Larry represented the National Society Sons of the American Revolution in his position as Vice President General of the South Atlantic District and spoke at the 223rd Anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens          2004 Photos     2005 Photos

"Come to the Cowpens!

Meet me at the Cowpens!"

Why should we bother to gather here in the cold and celebrate what happened here and to understand the significance of this exclamation?

The Patriots had been defeated often and when they weren’t, their successes were usually small. Events turned to the best when in October 1780, British forces under Patrick Ferguson were soundly beaten in South Carolina at Kings Mountain-only a few miles from here. The British were not happy. Lord Cornwallis wanted revenge and sought it here.

General Nathaniel Greene, in an unusual move, divided his army and sent 600 men under Daniel Morgan west while he went east. Cornwallis split his force as well and sent Banistre Tarleton with 1100 men to crush Morgan and then rejoin him to crush Greene. Armed with his own legion, British infantrymen, 50 British cavalrymen and some Tory militia, Tarleton caught up with Morgan who retreated to the Cowpens. Morgan’s cry, “Come to the Cowpens”, awoke the countryside and enough local militia joined him so that his numbers nearly matched Tarleton’s.

Morgan knew Tarleton’s disdain for the militia and that Tarleton would attack frontally with bayonets to force the militia to retreat. Morgan gave his full permission to the militia to retreat, but only after firing two volleys low and at officers if possible. He even held their horses in the rear for their retreat if they chose. He placed Maryland and Delaware Continentals along with some militia accustomed to battle in a line along a low hill and behind them he put Col. William Washington with two small bodies of cavalry.

Tarleton did what was expected, but the riflemen beat back the British once and then retreated. Col. Washington protected the retreat and the British took heart and attacked again,this time against the right flank. The retreating riflemen did not leave, but circled the rear and struck at the British left as Morgan’s veterans repulsed the center. The Royal troops broke and ran. Tarleton escaped with only 140 horsemen! Only about 25 Patriots died! Morgan rejoiced having “whupped” Tarleton.

This very unexpected and severe blow gave heart to the Patriots and caused Cornwallis to destroy his own heavy baggage so he could pursue Morgan and Greene quickly. The beginning of the end of the war was set in motion, by playing upon the knowledge that the British held such low regard for the Patriot militia! The nine-year Revolution was started in the north with the cry “The British are coming!” It was won in the south. The end may have been put in motion by the shout “Come to the Cowpens!”, “Meet me at the Cowpens”!

For these reasons, we come together here today to celebrate. Our current way of life is in no small way owed to these brave men.  Col. Morgan and all who fought and died here, we salute you! "