This image, depicting an artistic interpretation of the Battle of Cowpens, features an African-American soldier (whose name is unknown) firing his pistol to save the life of Colonel William Washington (on the white horse). The painting, created by William Ranney in 1845, is called “The Battle of Cowpens.” It is online via Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image for a full-page view.


In 1780, as America struggled, Thomas Paine wrote:

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

After the Patriots' victory at Cowpens (January 17, 1781), the momentum of war turned against the British. Generals Nathanael Greene and Daniel Morgan employed unusual but brilliant strategy to stop the British as they retreated north. Men like Andrew Pickens and Francis Marion continued to frustrate the British.

Redcoat victories were few and casualties high. The battle of Guilford Courthouse, a technical British victory, left Lord Charles Cornwallis in a weakened position. Things had drastically changed for Cornwallis since the early days of his campaign in the colonies. Many battles had been fought and won by the British, but Lord General Cornwallis would soon be known in London as "the man who lost America."

By the time Cornwallis and his men reached Yorktown, America was taking full advantage of France's offer to help. French assistance on land and sea was key to the ultimate American victory. (Ironically, Louis XVI's decision to aid America ultimately cost him his head since a declining French economy—caused, in part, by the American war—led to the French Revolution and, for Louis, the guillotine.)

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Jul 18, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"THE REDCOATS RETREAT" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2000. Feb 26, 2020.
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