We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We recently linked Surber on Col. John Gunby. A history buff pal emailed this comment:
Saw your post about the colonel. Cowpens indeed was an interesting battle and a first class case study in the power of effective leadership and using an opponent's aggressive tendencies against him (mental jiu jitsu). The real hero there was Brigadier General Dan Morgan. He was a veteran of French and Indian War (shot through the neck, the bullet knocking out two teeth and exiting through his cheek), present at the disastrous siege of Quebec (where he served with honor and took the responsibility of surrendering when his commander was killed). He led a corps of riflemen at Saratoga (as a colonel) and then, sick and not promoted by Congress, went home to Winchester, Virginia, where his home, named Saratoga, still stands. He came out of retirement to defend the rebellion again during the calamitous situation in the South in 1780 and came up with the strategy that won at Cowpens. Among the British regiments that surrendered there was Fraser's Highlanders, the 1st battalion of the 71st regiment of foot. I own one of the 200+ Second Model Brown Bess muskets issued to that battalion, used as a foraging gun after the war.
Last week, B. and I walked the Cowpens battlefield alone with the chief park ranger on a beautiful sunny day (very unlike the January day the battle actually occurred). It was very evocative, as was the reality that practically no one visits the site anymore (history, what is history?).
The best book on the battle from a detailed perspective is A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens. If you would like to read it I will deliver it to your door.
Ninety Six, North Carolina, where Morgan later conducted a siege that failed through a lack of supplies, also is quite interesting. His engineer for that siege that that bridge guy: Thadeusz Kosciuszko (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tadeusz_Ko%C5%9Bciuszko).
Morgan's superior at Quebec, Benedict Arnold, was wounded not killed.
There were many heroes at the battle of Cowpens. Some, like Andrew Pickens the "fighting elder," fought after having been paroled by the British at Charleston. It was said they went to battle with a "halter around the neck," as capture meant hanging. Pickens, a staunch Presbyterian, maintained the British broke the terms of his parole because of a Loyalist attack on his home in the SC upstate when he was away. Elijah Clark, just across the Savannah River in GA, was on his deathbed but sent his militia to battle. Many of the "over the mountain men", buoyed by their victory at King's Mountain, also came to Cowpens.
Daniel Morgan was quite the character prior to his military service as well. Surviving "499" lashes from a British whip is no mean feat.
When I was a young boy, I had an old history book about Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox that had an excellent description of the battle of Cowpens. It took me years to realize just how perfect of a battle it really was.
In terms of perfectly executed strategies and surprise, I think you have to go all the way to Chancellorsville to find something to match it.
Also, my baby sister now has that book, so she's learning all sorts of important things about the revolution and it's heroes.
I need to go to Cowpens sometime soon. It's not that far away.
Thanks for the link. Yep, Morgan was a great man. Did a piece on him, too. Learned to read at 27. Must have done some catching up on the Battle of Cannae 218 BC because Cowpens was a classic double envelopment