Monday, January 16, 2017

Cowpens, Greene, Morgan & SnailMail

General Nathanael Greene, unaware that the Battle of Cowpens had already taken place two days prior, wrote to General Daniel Morgan on 19 January 1781 regarding taking on British commander Banastre Tarleton and his legion:
"I do not wish you should come to action unless you have a manifest superiority, and a moral certainty of succeeding. Put nothing to the hazard. A retreat may be disagreeable, but not disgraceful. Regard not the opinions of the day. It is not our business to risk too much. Our affairs are in too critical a situation, and require time and nursing to give them a better tone."

That very same day, 19 January 1781, Daniel Morgan had been writing his post-battle report to Nathanael Greene:
"On the evening of the 16th the enemy occupied the ground we had removed from in the morning. An hour before daylight one of my scouts informed me that they had advanced within five miles of our camp. On this information the necessary dispositions were made, and, from the alacrity of the troops, we were soon prepared to receive them. The light infantry, commanded by Lieut. Col. Howard, and the Virginia militia under Major Triplett, were formed on a rising ground; the third regiment of dragoons, consisting of about 80 men, under the command of Lieut. Col. Washington were so posted in their rear, as not to be injured by the enemy fire, and yet to be able to charge them, should an occasion offer; the volunteers from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, under the command of Colonel Pickens, were posted to guard the flanks; Major Mc Dowal [sic, McDowell], of the North Carolina volunteers was posted on the right flank, in front of the line 150 yards; Major Cunningham, of the Georgia volunteers, on the left, at the same distance in front; Colonels Brannons and Thomas, of the South Carolina volunteers, on the right of Major Mc Dowal; and Colonels Hayes and McCall, of the same corps, on the left of Major Cunningham; Captains Tate and Buchanan, with the Augusta riflemen, were to support the right of the line."