ruuning North Carolina, but of invading Virginia, General Leslie was detached from New York to the southward with a considerable body of troops, and, according to orders, landed in Virginia, expecting to meet the southern army in that state. On finding himself unable to accomplish his lofty schemes, and obliged to fall back into South Carolina, Cornwallis ordered General Leslie to reimbark and sail for Charleston. He arrived there on the 13th of December, and on the 19th began his march with 1,500 men to join Cornwallis, who resolved to begin offensive operations immediately on the arrival of his reinforcements ; but, in the meantime, alarmed by the movements of Morgan for the safety of the British post at Ninety-Six, he detached LieutenantColonel Tarleton with the light and legion infantry, the fusileers or 7th regiment, the first battalion of the 71st regiment, 350 cavalry, two field-pieces, and an adequate number of the royal artillery, in all about 1,100 men, with orders to strike a blow at Morgan, and drive him out of the province. As Tarleton's force was known to be superior to that under Morgan, no doubt whatever was entertained of the precipitate flight or total discomfiture of the Americans.

Meanwhile Cornwallis left Wynnesborough, and proceeded toward the northwest, between the Broad and Catawba rivers. General Leslie, who had halted at Camden, in order to conceal from the Americans as long as possible the road which the British army was to take, was now ordered to advance up the Catawba and join the main body on its march. By this route Cornwallis hoped to intercept Morgan if he should escape Tarleton, or perhaps to get between General Greene and Virginia, and compel him to fight before the arrival of his expected reinforcements. The British generals, encumbered with baggage and military stores, marching through bad roads, and a country intersected by rivulets which were often swollen by the rains, advanced but slowly. Colonel Tarleton, however, with his light troops, proceeded with great celerity, and overtook Morgan, probably sooner than was expected.

On the 14th of January, 1781, General Morgan was informed of the movements of the British army, and got notice of the march of Tarleton and of the force under his command. Sensible of his danger, he began to retreat, and crossed the Pacolet, the passage of which he was inclined to dispute ; but, on being told that Tarleton had forded the river six miles above him, he made a precipitate retreat ; and at ten at night, on the 16th of January, the British took possession of the ground which the Americans had left a few hours before.

Although his troops were much fatigued by several days' hard marching through a difficult country, yet, determined that the enemy should not escape, Tarleton resumed the pursuit at three next morning, leaving his baggage behind under a guard, with orders not to move till break of day. Morgan, though retreating, was not inclined to flee. By great exertions he might have crossed Broad river, or reached a hilly tract of country before he could have been overtaken. He was inferior to Tarleton in the number of his troops, but more so in their quality; as a considerable part of his force consisted of militia, and the British cavalry were three times more numerous than the American. But Morgan, who had great confidence both in himself and in his men, was apprehensive of being overtaken before he could pass Broad river, and he chose rather to fight voluntarily than to be forced to a battle. Therefore, having been joined by some militia under Colonel Pickens, he halted at a place called the Cow-Pens, about three miles from the line of separation between North and South Carolina. Before daylight, on the morning of the 17th of January, he was informed of the near approach of Colonel Tarleton, and instantly prepared to receive him.

The ground on which General Morgan halted had no great advantages ; but his dispositions were judicious. On rising ground, in an open wood, he drew up his continental troops and Triplett's corps, amounting together to nearly 500 men, under Lieutenant-Colonel Howard. Colonel Washington, with his cavalry was posted in their rear, behind the eminence, ready to act as occasion might require. At a small distance, in front of his continentals, was a line of militia under Colonel Pickens and Major M‘Dowell: and 150 yards in front of Pickens was stationed a battalion of North Carolina and Georgia volunteers under Major Cunningham, with orders to give one discharge on the approaching enemy, and then to retreat and join the militia. Pickens was directed, when he could no longer keep his ground, to fall back, with a retreating fire, and form on the right of the continentals.

Scarcely were those dispositions made when the British van appeared. Colonel Tarleton, who had been informed by two prisoners of Morgan's position and strength, instantly formed his troops. The light and legion infantry, and the 7th regiment, and a captain with fifty dragoons on each flank, constituted his first line : the first battalion of the 71st regiment and the rest of the cavalry composed the reserve. Formerly Tarleton had succeeded by sudden and impetuous assaults ; and, entertaining no doubt of speedy and complete victory on the present occasion, he led on his men to the attack with characteristic ardor, even before his troops were well formed. The British rushed forward impetuously, shouting and firing as they advanced. The American volunteers, after a single discharge, retreated to the militia under Pickens. The British advanced rapidly, and furiously attacked the militia, who soon gave way, and sought shelter in the rear of the continentals. Tarleton eagerly pressed on: but the continentals, undismayed by the retreat of the militia, received him firmly, and an obstinate conflict ensued. Tarleton ordered up his reserve ; and the continental line was shaken by the violence of the onset. Morgan ordered his men to retreat to the summit of the eminence, and was instantly obeyed. The British, whose ranks were somewhat thinned, exhausted by the previous march and by the struggle in which they had been engaged, and believing the victory won, pursued in some disorder; but, on reaching the top of the hill, Howard ordered his men to wheel and face the enemy : they instantly obeyed, and met the pursuing foe with a well-directed and deadly fire. This unexpected and destructive volley threw the British into some confusion, which Howard observing, ordered his men to charge them with the bayonet. Their obedience was as prompt as before ; and the British line was soon broken. About the same moment, Washington routed the cavalry on the British right, who had pursued the fleeing militia, and were cutting them down on the left and even in the rear of the continentals. Ordering his men not to fire a pistol, Washington charged the British cavalry sword in hand. The conflict was sharp, but not of long duration. The British were driven from the ground with considerable loss, and closely pursued. Howard and Washington pressed the advantage which they had gained : many of the militia rallied, and joined in the battle. In a few minutes after the British had been pursuing the enemy, without a doubt of victory, the fortune of the day entirely changed: their artillery-men were killed, their cannon taken, and the greater part of the infantry compelled to lay down their arms. Tarleton with about forty horse, inade a furious charge on Washington's cavalry ; but the battle was irrecoverably lost, and he was reluctantly obliged to retreat. Upward of 200 of his cavalry, who had not been engaged, fled through the woods with the utmost precipitation, bearing away with them such of the officers as endeavored to oppose their fight. The only part of the infantry which escaped, was the detachment left to guard the baggage, which they destroyed when informed of the defeat, and, mounting the wagon and spare horses, hastily retreated to the army. The cavalry arrived in camp in two divisions : one in the evening, with the tidings of their disastrous discomfiture, and the other, under Tarleton himself, appeared next morning.

In this battle the British had ten commissioned officers and upward of 100 privates killed. More than 500 were made prisoners, nearly 200 of whom, including 29 commissioned officers, were wounded. Two pieces of artillery, two standards, 800 muskets, 35 baggage-wagons, and about 100 horses, fell into the hands of the Americans, whose loss amounted only to twelve men killed, and sixty wounded. The British force under Tarleton has been commonly estimated at 1,100 men, and the American army, as stated by General Morgan, in his official report to General Greene, written two days after the battle, at only 800.

Formerly Tarleton had been successful by the celerity of his movements, and by the impetuosity of his sudden and unexpected attacks, chiefly on raw troops. But at the Cow-Pens he was opposed to an officer as daring as himself, and who was prepared to receive him at the head of a band of veterans. Seldom has a battle in which the number of combatants was so small produced such important consequences ; for the loss of the light infantry not only considerably diminished the force, but also crippled the movements of Cornwallis during the campaign.

Cornwallis was at Turkey creek, twenty-five miles from the Cow-Pens, confident of the success of his detachment, or at least without the slightest apprehension of its defeat. He was between Green and Morgan ; and it was a matter of much importance to prevent their junction, and to overthrow the one of them while he could receive no support from the other. For that purpose he had marched up Broad river, and instructed General Leslie to proceed on the banks of the Catawba, in order to keep the Americans in a state of uncertainty concerning the route which he intended to pursue ; but the unexpected defeat of his detachment was an occurrence equally mortifying and perplexing, and nothing remained but to endeavor to compensate the disaster by the rapidity of his movements and the decision of his conduct.

He was as near the fords of the Catawba as Morgan; and flattered himself that, elated with victory and encumbered with prisoners and baggage, that officer might yet be overtaken before he could pass those fords. Accordingly, on the 18th of January he formed a junction with General Leslie, and on the 19th began his reinarkable pursuit of Morgan. In order the more certainly to accomplish his end, at Ramsour's Mills he destroyed the whole of his superfluous baggage. He set the example by considerably diminishing the quantity of his own, and was readily imitated by his officers, although some of them suffered much less by the measure. He retained no wagons, except those loaded with hospital stores and ammunition, and four empty ones for the accommodation of the sick and wounded. But notwithstanding all his privations and exertions, he ultimately missed his aim; for General Morgan displayed as much prudence and activity after his victory as bravery in gaining it. Fully aware of his danger, he left behind him, under a flag of truce, such of the wounded as could not be moved, with surgeons to attend them; and, scarcely giving his men time to breathe, he sent off his prisoners, under an escort of militia, and followed with his regular troops and cavalry, bringing up the rear in person. He crossed Broad river at the upper fords, hastened to the Catawba, which he reached on the evening of the 28th, and safely passed it with his prisoners and troops next day; his rear having gained the northern bank only about two hours before the van of the British army appeared on the opposite side.

Much rain had fallen on the mountains a short time before, and it rained incessantly during the night. The river rose, and in the morning was impassable. It was two days before the inundation subsided ; and, in that interval, Morgan sent off his prisoners toward Charlotteville in Virginia; under an escort of militia ; and they were soon beyond the reach of pursuit. The Americans regarded the swelling of the river with pious gratitude, as an interposition of Ileaven in

their behalf, and looked forward with increased confidence to the day of ultimate


General Morgan called for the assistance of the neighboring militia, and prepared to dispute the passage of the river; but, on the 31st of January, while he lay at Sherwood's ford, General Greene unexpectedly appeared in camp, and took on himself the command. Toward the end of December, General Greene, as already mentioned, took a position at Hick's creek, on the east side of the Pedee ; and had in camp 1,100 continental and state troops fit for service. On the 12th of January he was joined by Colonel Lee's partisan legion, which arrived from the north, and consisted of 100 well-mounted horsemen, and 120 infantry. This reinforcement was next day despatched on a secret expedition ; and, in order to divert the attention of the enemy from the movements of the legion, Major Anderson, with a small detachment, was sent down the Pedee. On the night of the 24th, Lee surprised Georgetown, and killed some of the garrison; but the greater part fled into the fort, which Lee was not in a condition to besiege.

On hearing of Morgan's victory and danger, General Greene's great aim was to effect the junction of his two divisions. Accordingly he called in his detachments; and, leaving the division at Hick's creek, under the command of General Huger and Colonel Otho Holland Williams, and accompanied only by one aid-de-camp and two or three mounted militia-men, he set out to meet Morgan, in the persuasion that on the spot he could better direct the movements of the troops than by any written instructions. On his journey he was informed that Cornwallis was in rapid pursuit of Morgan ; he therefore despatched instructions to Huger and Williams to march as fast as possible in order to join Morgan's division at Charlotte or Salisbury, as circumstances might permit. After a ride of 150 miles, Greene arrived in Morgan's camp on the 31st.

On the evening of the 31st of January, the river had subsided, but the fords were all guarded. Cornwallis, however, resolved to attempt the passage; and, in order to perplex the Americans, made a show of intending to cross at different points. "Colonel Webster with one division of the army, was sent to Beattie's ford to cannonade the enemy on the opposite bank, and make a feint of attempting to force the passage ; but the real attempt was to be made at a private ford near M-Cowan's. For that purpose the division of the army under the immediate orders of Cornwallis, left their ground at one in the morning of the 1st of February, and arrived at the ford toward dawn of day. The fires on the opposite bank showed the British commander that the ford, though a private one, was not neglected. General Davidson, with 300 militia, had been sent on the preceding evening to guard it; and was directed by General Greene to post his men close by the side of the river; he, however, stationed only a small party on the bank, while the rest were encamped at some distance.

Although Cornwallis perceived that he would meet with opposition, yet he determined to force the passage. The river was about 500 yards wide, three feet deep, and the stream rapid. The light infantry of the guards, under Colonel Hall, accompanied by a guide, first entered the ford: they were followed by the grenadiers, who were succeeded by the battalions; the men moving in platoons, in order to support each other against the rapidity of the current.

When near the middle of the river, they were challenged by an American sentinel, who, receiving no answer, after challenging thrice, gave the alarm by firing his musket. The party on the bank instantly turned out, and began to fire in the line of the ford. On the first discharge the guide fied, and Colonel Hall, ignorant of the direction of the ford, led his men straight across the river. This carried the column considerably above the termination of the ford, and consequently tuok them out of the line of the American fire, which, in the darkness of the

morning, was kept up in the direction of the ford, and fell diagonally on the rear of the grenadiers. As soon as Davidson perceived the direction of the British column, he led his men to the point where it was about to land. But, before he arrived, the light infantry had overcome all difficulties, and were ascending the bank and forming. While passing the river, in obedience to orders, they reserved their fire, and, on gaining the bank, soon put the militia to flight. Davidson was the last to retreat, and, on mounting his horse to retire, he received a mortal wound.

The defeat of Davidson opened the passage of the river. All the American parties retreated, and on the same day the rest of the British army crossed at Beattie's ford. Tarleton, with the cavalry and the 23d regiment, was sent in pursuit of the militia ; and being informed on his march that the neighboring militia were assembling at Tarrant's tavern, about ten miles distant, he hastened with the cavalry to that place. About 500 militia were assembled, and seemed not unprepared to receive him. He attacked them, and soon defeated and dispersed them with considerable slaughter, and the British army received no further trouble from the militia till it passed the Yadkin.

General Greene now retreated and marched so rapidly that he passed the Yadkin at the trading ford on the night between the 2d and 3d of February, partly by fording and partly by means of boats and flats. So closely was he pursued that the British van was often in sight of the American rear; and a sharp conflict happened not far from the ford, between a body of American riflemen and the advanced guard of the British army, when the latter obtained possession of a few wagons. General Greene secured all the boats on the south side: and here it again happened as at the Catawba; the river suddenly rose, by reason of the preceding rains, and the British were unable to pass. This second escape by the swelling of the waters was interpreted by the Americans as a visible interposition of Heaven in their behalf, and inspired them with a lofty enthusiasm in that cause which seemed to be the peculiar care of Omnipotence.

The river being unfordable, and still continuing to rise, all the boats being removed, and the weather appearing unsettled, Cornwallis resolved to march up the south bank of the Yadkin about twenty-five miles up to the shallow fords near its source, which are commonly passable. General Greene, released from the immediate pressure of his pursuers, continued his march northward, and on the 7th of February joined his division under Huger and Williams near Guilford courthouse. Thus Cornwallis missed his first aim, which was, to recover the prisoners, to retaliate the blow which Morgan had given at the Cow-Pens, to prevent the junction of the two divisions of the American army, and to overwhelm one or both of them.

General Greene's army was inferior to the force under Cornwallis; and therefore the British general deemed it important to get between Virginia and General Greene, and to compel him to fight before he was strengthened by his expected reinforcements. Accordingly, although his army was without tents, and, like the Americans, obliged to subsist on what it could hastily procure in a rapid march, he resolved not to abandon the pursuit of the enemy.

General Greene's infantry amounted to 2,000 men, and he had between 200 and 300 cavalry; but his equipments were greatly inferior to those of the British. He believed Cornwallis to have upward of 2,500 men, and he therefore determined to avoid a battle if possible. His aim was to retire into Virginia ; that of Cornwallis was to prevent the execution of that movement, and to fight the Americans without delay.

The river Dan, the largest and most southern branch of the Roanoke, separates North Carolina from Virginia : and the British general was informed that

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