Friday, March 14, 2008
I read this book this week and really enjoyed it. It's about a Southern family in Tennessee. Randall Stargill is old, has lost his wife and one of his 5 sons, his farm is beyond his abilities and he is ready to die. He gives up. But, before he dies, his neighbors, Dovey Stallard and her father, find him and get him to the hospital and call his remaining 4 sons home. He left handwritten instructions that he wanted his sons to use the rosewood planks in the barn and his wood hand tools to build his casket.
Robert Lee Stargill and his wife, Lilah, leave their home in Cincinnati and his job as a car salesman to come home. They've been married 30 years and Lilah is a real practical wife except that she sees her guardian angel, Rudy.
Garrett Stargill and his wife, Debba, come from Kentucky. Garrett is in the military. He and his wife have some problems. It seems Debba is scared of everything and very clingy and dependent. It's hard to like her until the end.
Charles Martin Stargill is a famous country music singer and his live in girlfriend is Kelly and she comes with her little girl, Kayla. Charles Martin, Kelly and Kayla come from Nashville, TN.
Clayt Stargill is the youngest son and still lives in the area. He's not married and has a hard time making a living because his only interest is history, especially Daniel Boone, and nature/wildlife. He's a virtual encyclopedia about this kind of stuff and he re-enacts Daniel Boone for schoolchildren. But this doesn't make him much money.
The Stargill farm has been in the family for 200 years (same for the Stallards) but it's hard to keep the family land these days. Farming is hard in the mountains and with the limited farmable land and help these days so the land is being developed for mountain cabins, retirement homes and mansions of the wealthy. For people who have a deep affinity for the land or their family history, it is devastating to lose their family land, their family identity.
Once the brothers get together at the farm, they begin to work on the casket. The women go through the trunks in the attic and pick out clothes to use to make a coffin lining. They quilt it with pieces from the boy's mother's wedding dress, items from the boy's childhood, etc. As the family works on these things...family secrets and scandals begin to come out. Neighbors add to the secrets and drama when old Nora Bonesteel, a neighbor and clairvoyant, brings something to tuck into Randall's coffin: a small box containing a child's skeleton.
I was impressed with this book. It's a quick and easy read but there is nothing easy and quick about the art. Just as the men built the casket and the women sewed together a quilt from the past, so Sharyn McCrumb crafts a story using bits and pieces of a small farm family. She opens your eyes to the complications of small farms in America today. There are depths to this family that slowly come out and you actually understand them by the end of the book.
I encourage you to read this. And I'm going to check into her other books too.
Bradford Pear Trees are in full bloom in SC right now. They look so beautiful but it is shortlived. But, at least, for the next couple of days I can enjoy them.
I enjoy from afar. I won't have a Bradford Pear in my yard. Although they are so lacy and beautiful in the Spring, they have a lot of other characteristics that make them not so attractive. The flowers don't have a good fragrance, the fruit is useless and a mess, the trees are brittle, they break easily, they are shortlived and need to be replaced every 20 yrs or so. So I enjoy them every Spring in everybody else's yard!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Battle of Cowpens, SC
Southern agricultural products -- notably tobacco, rice, cotton, and indigo -- were important to British mercantile interests. Charleston and Savannah were important ports to get those products to England. Charleston was the 4th largest and richest city in North America. Savannah, GA was lost to the British in 1778 and they held it until 1782. The Southern Campaign began with British concern over the course of the war in the North. Failure at Saratoga, fear of French intervention, and over-all failure to bring the rebels to heel persuaded British military strategists to turn their attention to the South. The British military strategists saw the South as a Loyalist stronghold and didn't think they would have a problem taking it over. The South, however, was more sharply divided than British estimates. The strengthening of Loyalist sentiment and consequent Patriot hostility resurrected age-old animosities and loyalties as regions, individuals, or even families chose sides. Consequently, the war took on the nature of a violent civil war. Raids, murders, and reprisals became the order of the day. The fall of Charleston on May 12, 1780, was perhaps the worst defeat Americans suffered during the entire Revolution. Subsequent British victories at the Waxhaws, Camden, and Fishing Creek eliminated much of the southern Continental Army and made the British confident that the South was theirs. Cornwallis took possession of Camden and Ninety Six. In late 1780, Cornwallis moved his forces into North Carolina. He assigned Major Patrick Ferguson to command Loyalist troops on his left flank. Ferguson placed his army at Kings Mountain but lost his life and the battle. Cornwallis retreated to SC. Major Nathanel Greene arrived in Charlotte, NC on 12/2/1870 to take control of the Southern Campaign after the loss at the Battle of Camden on August 16, 1780. There had been some small victories and the Patriot victory at the Battle of King's Mountain since Camden but it was still a delicate time in the Southern theatre. After the loss of Charleston, Savannah, and, most recently, Camden the South was demoralized. But the victory at Musgrove's Mill and King's Mountain brought new life into the Patriots. General Greene and his officers found the army in disarray. Of what was reported to be about 2,400 men, only about 1,500 men were present. Of these only 1,000 were Continental-trained soldiers and about 800 were outfitted with enough clothing and equipment to be fit for duty. Greene first set out to rehabiliting and rebuilding the Continental forces in the region. He instituted severe punishment for theft and destruction of property and curtailed desertion. Greene divided his army, sending Daniel Morgan into western Carolina. Cornwallis countered, and dispatched Banastre Tarleton and his dragoons to destroy Morgan's army. Tarleton was only twenty-six, but he was an able commander, both feared and hated – hated especially for his victory at the Waxhaws. There, Tarleton was said to have continued the fight against remnants of the Continental Army trying to surrender. His refusal, tradition says, of offering no quarter, led to the derisive term "Tarleton's Quarter". Buford's Massacre at Waxhaw resulted in 113 killed, 150 seriously wounded and left behind and 203 prisoners. Tarleton alienated the citizenry by numerous acts of cruelty to the civilian population.
The field itself was some 500 yards long and just as wide, a park-like setting dotted with trees, but devoid of undergrowth, having been kept clear by cattle grazing in the spring on native grasses. There was forage at the Cowpens for horses, and evidence of free-ranging cattle for food. Beef was indeed available: James Turner, a Spartanburg District resident and participant in the battle, butchered beef to feed Morgan's army before and after the battle. It was reported that militia groups constantly left camp to hunt for forage. Such were the realities of feeding the armies. Morgan, too, since he had learned of Tarleton's pursuit, had spread the word for militia units to rendezvous at the Cowpens. Many knew the geography. The OverMountain men who had come from Sycamore Shoals in TN for the Battle of King's Mountain came again to fight at Cowpens.
These events set the stage for the Battle of Cowpens. On January 12, 1781, Tarleton's scouts located Morgan's army at Grindal's Shoals on the Pacolet River. In South Carolina's backcountry and thus began an aggressive pursuit. Due to the time of year, it was cold and wet. The roads were muddy and hard to traverse, rivers were flooded. Tarleton gained ground as his army proceeded toward the flood-swollen Pacolet. As Tarleton grew closer, Morgan retreated north to Burr's Mill on Thicketty River on January 16, with Tarleton reported to have crossed the Pacolet and much closer than expected, Morgan and his army made a hasty retreat, so quickly as to leave their breakfast behind. Soon, he intersected with and traveled west on the Green River Road. Here, with the flood-swollen Broad River six miles to his back, Morgan decided to make a stand at the Cowpens, a well-known crossroads and frontier pasturing ground. It had rolling pastures and easy forage for the horses. The place where General Morgan established his camp the night of the 16th was near the intersection of the Mill Gap Road and the road from the present city of Spartanburg running northeast into North Carolina, and crossing the Broad River at Island Ford. The Mill Gap Road crossed the Broad at Cherokee Ford and ran northwestwardly through the present town of Gaffney, into the mountains far to the west. Its course followed generally the tops of ridges, thereby avoiding the crossing of creeks and rivers. The road from Spartanburg to North Carolina now runs through Chesnee, but in olden days it crossed the Mill Gap Road about 3 miles southeast of Chesnee. Morgan made camp in a wooded ravine having a stream of water running through it, which lay north of the Mill Gap Road.
The figures given by Laurence E. Babits gave totals of 82 Continental Light Dragoons; 55 State Dragoons; 45 Militia Dragoons; 300 Continental infantry; about 150 State infantry and 1,255-1,280 Militia infantry, for a total of 1,887-1,912 officers and men. Broken down by state, there were about 855 South Carolinians; 442 Virginians; 290-315 North Carolinians; 180 Marylanders; 60 Georgians and 60 Delawarans. A brigade of four battalions of South Carolina Militia under Colonel Andrew Pickens, comprising a three-company battalion of the Spartanburg Regiment under Lt-Col Benjamin Roebuck; a four-company battalion of the Spartanburg Regiment under Col John Thomas; five companies of the Little River Regiment under Lt-Col Joseph Hayes and seven companies of the Fair Forest Regiment under Col Thomas Brandon. Babits states that these battalion "ranged in size from 120 to more than 250 men". If Roebuck's three companies numbered 120 and Brandon's seven companies numbered 250, then Thomas's four companies probably numbered about 160 and Hayes's five companies about 200, for a total of 730. Morgan's Continentals were veterans, and many of his militia, which included some Overmountain Men, had seen service at the Battle of Musgrove Mill and the Battle of Kings Mountain. The British were commanded by Colonel Banastre Tarleton, who headed his own Loyalist British Legion (250 cavalry and 200 infantry, a troop of the 17th Light Dragoons (50), a battery of the Royal Artillery (24) with two 3-pounder cannons, the 7th (Royal Fusiliers) Regiment (177), the light infantry company of the 16th Regiment (42), the 71st (Fraser's Highlanders) Regiment (334), the light company of the Loyalist Prince of Wales's American Regiment (31) and a company of about 50 Loyalist guides: a total of over 1,150 officers and men. Tarleton's men from the Royal Artillery, 17th Light Dragoons, 16th Regiment and 71st Regiment were reliable veterans: but the detachment of the 7th Regiment were raw recruits who had been intended to reinforce the garrison of Fort Ninety-Six where they could receive further training rather than go straight into action.
About two hours before daybreak on January 17, 1781, a scout brought news to General Morgan that British Lt. Col. Tarleton was about five miles away. Morgan immediately ordered reveille. He gave his men a chance to eat breakfast before deploying his forces. By placing his men downhill from the advancing British lines, Morgan exploited the British tendency to fire too high in battle. The downhill position of his forces allowed the British forces to be silhouetted against the morning sunlight, providing easy targets for Patriot troops. With a ravine on their right flank and a creek on their left flank, Morgan's forces were protected against British flanking maneuvers at the beginning of the battle. Morgan himself spent most of the night of January 16th going from campfire to campfire exhorting the militia to stand and take two shots. By establishing himself between the Pacolet and Broad Rivers he made escape impossible if the army were routed. His reason for cutting off escape was obvious; to ensure that the untrained militiamen would not, as they had been accustomed to do, turn in flight at the first hint of battle and abandon the regulars. Morgan reasoned that Tarleton would attack him head on, and he made his tactical preparations accordingly. He set up three lines of soldiers: one of skirmishers (sharpshooters to pick off officers and cause disarray), one of militia, and a main one. The 150 select skirmishers were sharpshooters from North Carolina (Major McDowell) and Georgia (Major Cunningham). Behind these men were 300 militiamen under the command of Andrew Pickens. Realizing that poorly trained militia were unreliable in battle, especially when they were under attack from cavalry, Morgan decided to ask the militia to fire two shots and then retreat, so he could have them reform under cover of the reserve behind the third, more experienced line of militia and continentals. So, the first line would be made up of all militia and his orders to them were to allow the British to come within killing distance and fire two volleys, aiming for the British officers and sergeants. They would then go to their left and right and retreat back and join the second line of militia, commanded by militia Colonel Andrew Pickens. The second line would fire three rounds and then fall back while reloading. Then both the first and second lines would combine their firepower with the third line of Colonel John Howard's battle hardened Continentals. Lieutenant Colonel Washington and his cavalry would be out of sight behind the knoll. At Morgan's command sometime after the first line had retreated and the second line was about to fire, he would dispatch the cavalry to come around on the left and the right flanks of the British. Thus the British would be forced to not only defend their front, but also their flanks. After his men had formed up, General Morgan rode his lines giving encouragement by his speech and presence. Morgan again instructed the forward sharpshooters to harass Tarleton's lines, then retreat back to Andrew Pickens before the British could mount a bayonet charge on their positions. Morgan told Pickens' men to hold their fire until the British were within fifty yards, fire twice and retreat back behind the left of the Continental line and form up to the left of regulars commanded by Lt. Colonel John Eager Howard. Morgan then addressed his regulars with some encouraging words before he took his position just behind the regulars where he could observe the whole field.
About 3:00 a.m. on the 17th he loaded his wagons and his Legion commenced marching towards Morgan's position. He ran up against the same obstacles that Morgan had encountered, i.e. the dirt roads were a quagmire. Furthermore, the deep ruts left by Morgan's wagons hampered the British wagons. Around 6:45 A.M. on that cold morning the head of Lt. Colonel Tarleton's force of 1,076 emerged from the woods. Soon after, the sharpshooters began their harassing fire, which made it difficult for Tarleton to study the deployment of General Morgan's forces. Tarleton ordered a detachment of fifty dragoons to charge and disperse the sharpshooters. The dragoons never finished their charge as the sharpshooters sent them back to the British line after fifteen fell from their saddles. The cavalry moved to the side and allowed the foot soldiers to advance. After firing the second volley the skirmishers ran to their left to join Colonel Pickens' second line. The British soldiers thinking this retreat meant that the militia had been routed, began a pursuit that disregarded any disciplined formation. As they charged to within killing distance, Pickens' militia fired three rounds that Morgan had ordered to cause many casualties among the charging British and brought them to a temporary halt. After the third round when Pickens ordered a retreat to their left, the British again took this as a rout and their cheers caused confusion amongst Colonel Howard's Continentals. They assumed that their retreat had been ordered and they turned and marched further up the hill until Morgan and Howard regained control. The British marched within range of Howard's third line, which opened fire on the British. Tarleton ordered up the Highlanders to crush Morgan's right flank. Howard ordered his right side of the line to not advance to meet the British which resulted in some confusion. The right side steadied themselves and fired into the advancing British at close range. Howard sensed that the British was wavering and ordered his ment to follow it up with a bayonet charge. The British infantry started to charge over the hill. Just as the British passed the crest of the hill, ready to bayonet the Americans, Howard's ordered his troops to wheel about and they fired with every musket at a distance of less than 30 yards. Then, they leveled their bayonets and charged. At the same instant, Washington's cavalry slammed into the surprised British from behind.The Continentals then did an about face and fired another devastating volley into the British. At this point William Washington's cavalry charged around the left side of the hill and engaged the British right flank. Then Tarleton tried to outflank the Continentals. Pickens' militia had reformed behind the knoll and now came out on the British left flank and opened fire. Tarleton attempted to call in his reserve cavalry but the 200 dragoons refused his order and rode off the field. Tarleton and what was left of his cavalry were in the heat of battle with William Washington's cavalry. At the same time Pickens' militia who had fired a deadly blast into Tarleton's remaining force, staggered them to a halt. Now there was confusion on both sides. Howard's line supported Pickens' militia as the British units started to fall back. Tarleton tried one more attack with 14 officers and 40 horsemen and made a quick decision to make a stand against Washington's advancing cavalry. As Washington's cavalry cut into the British, Tarleton turned his horse and swiftly retreated with what was left of his troops, finally realizing the battle was over. He fled down the Green River Road. With Cornwallis's command only 20 miles away and closing in on him, Morgan paroled the British officers, left the care of the wounded men to the local citizens, and withdrew his force northward. In one of the most dramatic moments of the battle, Washington, racing ahead of his cavalry, dueled hand-to-hand with Tarleton and two of his officers. Tarleton and his remaining forces galloped away to Cornwallis' camp at Turkey Creek. When Tarleton and what remained of his 1,100 men reached their baggage wagons, they found they were being sacked by a party of Tories. To prevent further looting and/or the capture of his wagons, he set them afire. The whole battle lasted a little over one hour. American losses were twelve killed and 60 wounded while the British suffered 100 killed, 229 wounded who were all captured along with 600 more British in the custody of Morgan and his troops. Many of the wounded on both sides later died making uncertain the final casualty count of those killed. Morgan had just defeated one of the British elite units.
The Americans were encouraged to fight further, and the Loyalists and British were demoralized. The battle resulted in a series of events leading to the end of the war. Cornwallis his army of its excess baggage, and pursued Greene's force into North Carolina. After a long chase Cornwallis met Greene at Guilford Courthouse, winning a pyrrhic victory (victory with devastating cost to the victor) that so damaged his army that he withdrew to Yorktown, Virginia, to rest and refit. Washington seized the opportunity to trap and defeat Cornwallis at the Battle of Yorktown, which caused the British to give up their efforts to regain their colonies.
was born on February 28, 1752 and was a cousin to George Washington. He married Jane Elliott on April 21, 1782. The couple had two children. He was an active member of the South Carolina General Assembly for 17 years. He hosted President George Washington in 1791. He died on March 6, 1810. He was elected a captain of the 3rd Virginia Regiment in 1775. He fought at Harlem Heights. He was one of the few Patriot wounded at the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. In January 1777, he was promoted to major in the newly formed 4th Continental Light Dragoons. In late 1778, Congress promoted him to lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Dragoons and told him to take full command of the regiment. In late 1779 the rebuilt 3rd was ordered to South Carolina. He was one of a small, loyal cadre of key field officers who served with distinction in the Continental Army for duration of the War of the American Revolution. His independent operations and battlefield actions as a cavalry commander in the South were comparable to the exploits of his better-known fellow officers. Washington was a gallant battlefield commander who personally led his men, and he was wounded on at least two occasions (possibly four). His battlefield dash and personal bravery were balanced by modesty and selflessness.
Banastre Tarleton ("Benny", "Bloody Ban", "Butcher")
was born in Liverpool, England in 1754 to upper middle class parents. His father had made most of his money on sugar and slaves as a merchant. His father was highly respected and had served several terms as Lord Mayor. When Tarleton was 19, his father died, leaving him a fortune of five thousand pounds. In less than a year, Tarleton had exhausted the inheritance through gambling. He studied at the Universities of Liverpool and Oxford. Instead of studying law as he had been groomed, his mother purchased a commission in the British Army as a cavalry officer in 1775. A few months later, he volunteered for duty in America and arrived in May 1776 in the same fleet that brought Earl Cornwallis. In December 1779, Tarleton was chosen as one of the officers to participate in the Southern Campaign. A company of British Dragoons was added to his command and there would be tension between the British regulars and the Loyalists. On the voyage south, all horses had to be thrown overboard because of serious injuries, so when his legion was put ashore at Savannah, Georgia, they had to find new mounts. In the march north to South Carolina, Tarleton skirmished with Lt. Colonel William Washington several times. Once Tarleton reached Charleston, Lt. General Henry Clinton ordered him into the countryside to cut off lines of communication and supply lines.
Tarleton by Heather Bruton
For much of November Tarleton ranged along the Santee River punishing parole-breakers, or those who had pledged loyalty to the King only to take up arms again. Houses were burned, livestock slaughtered and crops destroyed. He spent several days in a fruitless attempt to run down the guerilla leader Francis Marion, after which he was heard to exclaim in disgust that the devil himself couldn't catch "this damned old fox." Marion was known as the "Swamp Fox" forever after. Marion remained quite popular with South Carolina residents and continued his guerrilla campaign with their support. Tarleton, by contrast, alienated the citizenry by numerous acts of cruelty to the civilian population. On April 12, he and Major Patrick Ferguson cut off the last line of communication at Monk's Corner, South Carolina. On May 12, 1780, Charleston was surrendered by Major General Benjamin Lincoln. As the British were securing outposts, General Cornwallis ordered Tarleton to pursue a force of Continentals. On 5/29/1780, Tarleton, with a force of 150 mounted soldiers, overtook a detachment of 350 to 380 Virginia Continentals led by Abraham Buford. Buford refused to surrender or even to stop his march. Only after sustaining heavy casualties did Buford order the surrender. According to American accounts, Tarleton ignored the white flag and mercilessly massacred Buford's men. By Tarleton's own account, his horse was shot from under him in the charge, and chaos erupted when his men believed he had been killed. Tarleton's Legion were so enraged that they attacked Buford's men, cutting and hacking every live body they could reach, even those bodies who were kneeling on the ground with their hands up. Patriots claimed that their enemies attacked under orders from Tarleton himself, who didn't want to bother with taking prisoners. In the end, 113 Americans were killed and another 203 captured, 150 of whom were so badly wounded that they had to be left behind. Tarleton's casualties were 5 killed and 12 wounded. The British called the affair the Battle of Waxhaw Creek, while the Americans knew it as the Buford Massacre or the Waxhaw Massacre. Tarleton was detached to General Cornwallis' command when General Clinton sailed north in June 1780. Tarleton materially helped Cornwallis to win the Battle of Camden in August 1780. He was completely victorious in an engagement Thomas Sumter at Fishing Creek, aka Catawba Ford, but was less successful when he encountered the same general at Blackstock Hill in November 1780. Then in January 1781, in spite of much personal valor, Tarleton's forces were virtually destroyed by American Brigadier General Daniel Morgan at the Battle of Cowpens. Having been successful in a skirmish at Tarrants House, and having taken part in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in March 1781, during which he was shot in the hand and lost two fingers, he marched with Cornwallis into Virginia. Tarleton undertook a series of small expeditions while in Virginia. Among them was a raid on Charlottesville, VA in an attempt to capture then-Governor Thomas Jefferson and disrupt the meeting of the Virginia legislature. The raid was partially foiled when Jack Jouett rode 40 miles through the night to warn Jefferson and the legislature of Tarleton's approach. All but seven of the legislators escaped, but Tarleton did destroy arms and munitions and succeeded in his objective of dispersing the Assembly. Cornwallis instructed Tarleton to hold Gloucester Point, VA. This post, however, was surrendered to the Americans after the surrender of Yorktown. He was paroled and returned to England as a hero.
On his return to London in January of 1782, he was the toast of the city and soon counted the young Prince of Wales among his friends. But it was not to last; the Colonel squandered his brilliant reputation over the next several years through his compulsive gambling . For 15 years, he had a relationship with the actress Mary Robinson (Perdita), whom he seduced on a bet. Tarleton and Robinson had no children, although in 1783 Robinson had a miscarriage. In 1790 he became MP for Liverpool in the Parliament of Great Britain and, with the exception of a single year, remained in the House of Commons until 1812. He worked to preserve the slavery business of his brothers Clayton and Thomas, and he became well-known for his taunting and mockery of abolitionists. In 1786 he was the subject of critical letters published in the London papers which excoriated his handling of the Cowpens battle. To save his military reputation,
Sir Banastre wrote a History of the Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the Southern Provinces of North America (London, 1781), which favourably portrays his actions in the Carolinas; it also questions decisions made by Cornwallis. Cornwallis cut off all communication with him. He married Susan Bertie, the illegitimate daughter of the 4th Duke of Ancaster in 1798. They had no children. He received a series of appointments to insignificant army posts. He died on January of 1833, at Leintwardine in Shropshire, a major general and Knight of the Bath in 1833, having outlived most of his contemporaries.
Daniel Morgan was born circa 1735-1736 to Welsh James Morgan in Hunterdon County, New Jersey although there is a possibility that he was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania which was just across the river and where his father worked as an ironmaster. His father was a landless laborer and the name of his mother and siblings are unknown. Daniel Morgan never spoke of them and little is known of his earliest years and it can be assumed they were harsh. At 16 or 17 years old he and his father had an argument and he left home. Morgan spent some weeks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania working at odds jobs. Morgan next headed south along the Great Wagon Road, settling in Charles Town, Virginia at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley. He proved to be uneducated and uncouth, who liked gambling, drinking and fighting, but he was a big strong man, who wasn't afraid of hard work. Morgan first worked to prepare land for planting but, in less than a year, he had earned the trust of his employer and was put in charge of his sawmill. He then became a wagoneer because of higher pay. He saved enough money to buy his own wagon and team and set up as an independent wagoneer by the age of 19. There was plenty of work to be had hauling farm produce from the backwoods and over the mountains. During the French And Indian War Morgan hired himself out hauling supplies for the British army. He was in the wagon train when General Braddock's army was attacked and almost wiped out by a French and Indian coalition; instead of supplies, Morgan found himself hauling wounded soldiers. At some point during that same year, 1754, he got into a fight with a British officer which led to military justice with a sentence of 500 lashes. This was not unusual in the British army at the time, and a man could die, but Morgan was too tough to die. It left his back a mass of bone and hamburger. He was not too soured on the British army to scout and run messages for them. On one occasion he was ambushed and chased by Indians for several miles, after taking a bullet through the mouth that knocked out several of his teeth and left a deep cleft on his left cheek. By 1758 he was settled near Winchester, Virginia and his favorite hangout was a tavern near Battletown, a place that may have got its name from the numerous frontier brawls in which Daniel Morgan was a leading figure. He was often on the wrong side of the law during this time and appeared in court more than once on such charges as arson, horse stealing, assault and battery, and resisting arrest.
In 1759 Morgan bought a two-story house (which he named Soldier's Rest). By 1763 he claimed a sweetheart, Abigail Curry, and the two set up housekeeping and produced two daughters (Nancy and Betsy) before they ever got married in 1773. But Abigail settled him down, and taught him to read and write as well. By 1774, Daniel was a prosperous farmer, militia captain, and respected citizen of the community. In 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army and called for ten rifle companies, two companies from Virginia, of which Captain Morgan was the unanimous choice of his county to raise and lead one of them. He recruited ninety-six men in ten days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them to Boston, Massachusetts in only twenty-one days, arriving on 8/6/1775. He led an outstanding group of snipers nicknamed "Morgan's Sharpshooters". They had trekked 600 miles to Boston, arriving in plenty of time for the Battle of Bunker Hill. Congress hatched a scheme to neutralize Canada as a British staging ground by taking it and making it a 14th colony.In late 1775, Benedict Arnold convinced General George Washington to send support for Richard Montgomery's invasion of Canada. Washington agreed to send 3 rifle companies if they volunteered. Morgan's company was one of the 3 and Arnold put Morgan over all 3 companies. On September 25, 1775, the Quebec expedition set off from Fort Western, Maine (near Augusta) into the howling Canadian wilderness. It was a nightmare. Their route followed the Kennebec River into Canada, where the "height of land" forced a four-mile portage of their heavy, cumbersome bateaux (oversize canoes) to the Chaudiere, or "Cauldron" River. Roads did not exist there, and bogs and fallen timber impeded almost every step of the way. Both rivers were barely navigable. Game was extremely scarce and before it was all over the soldiers were reduced to eating dogs and leather. Two and a half months after they began, the expedition had thinned from 1050 able-bodied soldiers to 675. On November 10 they camped on the St. Lawrence, within view of Quebec. General Montgomery joined them after securing the city of Montreal, and it was decided to attack Quebec during the next snowstorm. The weather did not oblige until New Year's Eve, when a blizzard blew in to mask the approach of the Americans. Montgomery was to lead a column from the south and Arnold from the north, the two columns to unite just inside the walls of the "lower city" before pressing on to storm the walls of Quebec proper. Colonel Benedict Arnold was forced into frontal assault because his cannon had been lost in a snowdrift. Leading the charge, Arnold was shot through the leg. Unable to continue, he was carried from the fight. Though he was not the highest ranking field officer present, Captain Morgan took command when the others failed to do so, rallied the men and overran the barricade on the second attempt. They continued to advance with little resistance through the streets of Lower Town. French militia eagerly surrendered to the advancing American force. By 4 A.M., the force encountered another barricade, which was unmanned. Morgan wanted to push on, but was now pursuaded by the same officers to wait for General Montgomery. Maj. General Richard Montgomery would never arrive because he had been killed shortly after he launched his assault on the north side of the city. The Americans' delay allowed the Maj. General Guy Carleton and his forces to recover and take positions. By dawn, Captain Daniel Morgan grew impatient and continued the assault, but the wait had allowed the British to take positions. Morgan and the Americans were now under constant fire from the surrounding houses. By afternoon, Morgan had to turn back, but the once abandoned barricade was now manned and the Americans were trapped in the streets of Quebec. Having been strung out along the streets, they were forced to surrender in pockets. Morgan himself refused to surrender to the British, daring them to shoot him, but his men pleaded with him. He finally handed his sword over to a French priest. Prisoners of rank generally received courteous treatment until they were exchanged with prisoners of equal rank from the other side. In Morgan's case an exchange did not occur until September 1776, when he was returned to the Continental army. He found that he had been promoted to Colonel on November 12, 1776, because of his actions at Quebec. Washington, by now well aware of Morgan's abilities, used his rifle corps throughout the following winter and spring as light infantry to harry the British foragers and rear guard. By late summer, the Americans faced a threat in New York state as British General John Burgoyne marched from Canada with the intention seizing the Hudson River, thus dividing New England from the rest of the colonies. General Horatio Gates was dispatched to organize and lead the American resistance, and Colonel Morgan with his rifle corps accompanied him by special request. On the first day, at Freeman's Farm, the Virginia riflemen attacked and drove off Burgoyne's Indian scouts. Later they cut up an entire regiment and rendered the British artillery corps useless by picking off the crew one by one. The second day, at Bemis Heights, Morgan led a flanking movement to the British right that, with Arnold's coordinating movement on the left, wrapped up the entire army and forced Burgoyne to surrender. He felt that his accomplishments had earned him a promotion and a larger command; a special brigade of light infantry was then forming, and he wanted it. The problem: he was a Virginian, and Virginia was thought by Congress to have fielded enough generals. Jealousy and rivalry among the colonies prompted Congress to offer the command to Anthony Wayne, a Pennsylvanian. The "Hero of Saratoga," deeply offended, slung his rifle over his shoulder and returned home to Winchester on indefinite furlough. He needed the rest after the Quebec campaign. He was in pain and torture with rheumatism. Over the next year Abigail treated him with cold baths and herbal remedies, but Morgan would never again be free of back problems. General Horatio Gates was appointed to command the army of the South and he urged Morgan to join him as combat commander. He couldn't at first and Gates lost the Battle of Camden. Congress made Morgan a Brigadier General.
When Morgan arrived in Charlotte, there was little Patriot Army left. General Nathanael Greene arrived early in December to take over from Horatio Gates. Greene himself retreated with the sick, halt and lame to a camp on the Cheraw, while Daniel Morgan took command of the more able-bodied men--about 600, plus a small cavalry unit under Colonel William Washington--and marched them westward along the Broad River. Morgan's orders were to keep his own little army together, draw into his force any scattered militia units that might be attracted to him, and stand ready to meet any British threat. But Banastre Tarleton was chasing him and he took a stand at Cowpens. He was victorious at the Battle of Cowpens. The General did not linger to celebrate; knowing that Lord Cornwallis would soon be after him, he was on the road by noon on the same day as the battle. Before long his rheumatism (or sciatica) and hemorrhoids prevented him from riding. He held his army together until its rendezvous with Greene's. He applied for a furlough and Greene reluctantly discharged him. Daniel headed home. The War only lasted eight more months. He recovered in time to take the field very briefly in the Virginia skirmishing that led eventually to Yorktown, but even that proved too much for him.
Daniel Morgan on the right, General Washington in the middle at the surrender at Burgoyne, by Trumbull
Daniel Morgan lived out the rest of his life in peace and prosperity at his home, "Soldier's Rest." In 1794 he organized and led a company charged with putting down the short-lived Whiskey Rebellion, an uprising of backcountry farmers incensed over a federal tax on distilled grains. In 1797 he was elected to serve one term in as a Representative in the House of Representatives. He was a staunch Federalist like his hero George Washington. He died on 7/6/1802 at his daughter's home in Winchester. Abigail died on 18 MAY 1816 in Russellville, Logan, Kentucky. Daniel's daughter Nancy married the son of Presley Neville, son of Gen. John Neville, in 1782 and they had fifteen children. She died in 1839. Nancy's sister, Betsy Morgan, married James Heard, who unfortunately was a drunkard. She bore four children. She died in 1813. Daniel Morgan did have an illegitimate son, Willoughby Morgan. According to Don Higginbotham who wrote the book Daniel Morgan, Revolutionary Rifleman, he states on page 183 that "It is not generally known that Morgan also had a son. Born in the mid-1780's, Willoughby Morgan was illegitimate, and his mothers identity remains a mystery. His birth so embarrassed Morgan that he never referred to Willoughby in his surviving letters or in his will. Apparently at a very early age, Willoughby was sent to South Carolina where he grew up and studied law. By 1811 he lived in Winchester and later raised a company of infantry in the War of 1812. Compiling an impressive combat record, he decided to make a career in the army, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. A woman who knew Willoughby declared that he possessed considerable formal education and, like his father, was tall and muscular. After serving at western posts in Indiana and Wisconsin, he died in 1832." Willoughby Morgan commanded Fort Crawford five times; as captain in 1816 when it was constructed; in 1818 as major; in 1822 and 1826 at Lt. Colonel. In 1830 Colonel Morgan was called back to replace Colonel Zachary Taylor while on personal leave. Colonel Morgan died at 2nd Fort just before the Black Hawk War in April 1832.
(9/13/1739-8/11/1817) was born in 1739 to Andrew Pickens, Sr. and Anne Davis near Paxtang in Bucks County, PA. They were originally French Huguenots who fled to Scotland and Ireland before coming to America. In 1752 they travelled the Great Wagon Road and moved to the Waxhaws of SC. It was the frontier at the time. In 1764 Andrew Pickens, Jr. and his brother sold out and moved to the Long Cane Creek area in Abbeville County, SC near the Georgia border and established Hopewell Plantation where several Indian treaties were made. The Long Cane Creek was named for the native canes that grew and formed dense canebrakes in the bottomlands. These were sustained through Native-American use of fire as a cultural tool. The Scots-Irish settlement there inherited a region full of deer and other game, including the Buffalo. Because of its proximity to the trading path to the Indian village of Keowee, Long Cane, more than any other settlement, was an intercultural settlement. Pickens served in the Cherokee War of 1760-61. In 1761, he served as an officer in a provincial regiment that accompanied British Colonel James Grant against Lower Cherokee settlements. He married Rebecca Calhoun in 1765 and had 12 children including Andrew Pickens, III who later became Governor of SC. In 1768, Pickens built a blockhouse as a defense against Indian attacks and a base for Indian trading. He was a successful farmer and was serving as a justice of the peace as the war began. In 1775, Pickens became a captain of Patriot militia. On November 19, 1775, he was at Ninety-Six, South Carolina with Major Andrew Williamson and 600 militia. A Tory force of 1,800 drove them into the fort there. After two days, a truce was negotiated. He then participated in Snow's Campaign in the winter of 1775. In Fall of 1776, as a major of the militia, Pickens joined Williamson's expedition against the Cherokee Indians who had allied themselves with the Loyalists. In 1778, Pickens joined Williamson's failed attempt to recapture Augusta, Georgia. After General Archibald Campbell captured Savannah, Georgia, Colonel Boyd raised a Tory force in Anson County, North Carolina. He then marched to join Lt. Colonel Hamilton in Georgia. Boyd's numbers grew to nearly 700 as he crossed South Carolina. Meanwhile, Lt. Colonel Hamilton had driven Patriot Colonel McGirth back into South Carolina. McGirth was then joined by Andrew Pickens, who now took command of the 350-man force. On February 10, 1779, Pickens crossed the Savannah River at Cowen's Ferry and then besieged Hamilton's force as Fort Carr. Pickens now learned of Colonel Boyd's approach and decided to go after him. Pickens crossed the Savannah River back into South Carolina near Fr. Charlotte. Boyd now headed for the river crossing at Cherokee Ford, which was ten miles norther of Fr. Charlotte. He was slowed by some skirmishing around February 12, 1779, and eventually crossed the Savannah another five miles upstream. Pickens, meanwhile, circled around on the South Carolina side of the river and crossed into Georgia upstream from Boyd and followed him south. On February 13th, unaware of Pickens' pursuit, Boyd crossed the Broad river near its junction with the Savannah and then made camp that evening on the north side of Kettle Creek. On the morning of February 14, 1779, Colonel Boyd was surprised by the rebel force. Pickens commanded the center, Colonel John Dooley the right and Elijah Clark the left. The Tory pickets fired and then retreated into camp. Boyd rallied his men who fought on for over an hour before finally being defeated. Boyd would die that evening from wounds. All the captured Tories were convicted of treason and five were hanged. Pickens' victory destroyed Tory morale in South Carolina, while bolstering the numbers of Patriot militia. On 5/12/1780 the British took Charleston, SC. The successive Continental defeats convinced militia leaders such as Pickens and Thomas Sumter to discontinue their campaigning. Pickens surrendered a fort in the Ninety-Six District. He and three hundred of his men went home to sit out the war on parole. Pickens' parole did not last however. After Tory raiders destroyed most of his property and frightened his family, he informed the British that they had violated the terms of parole and rejoined the war. Ironically, Sumter also resumed fighting under similar circumstances. Pickens was soon operating in the Ninety-Six District where he gathered his militia once again and resumed guerilla activities against the British. He was soon to play a key role in defeating British Colonel Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781. Pickens was wounded at the battle. In November 1781, he led a three week campaign against the Cherokee Indians. In September 1782, he and Elijah Clark succeeded in forces the Indians to surrender claim to all lands south of the Savannah River and east of the Chattahoochie River. In 1782, Pickens was elected to represent the Ninety-Six District in the assembly, serving there until 1793, when he went to Congress for one term. Pickens aquired frontier lands along the Keowee River and built his home named Hopewell in Oconee, Georgia. After living there a number of years, he moved to the Pendleton District of South Carolina. He served as a political middleman between the Indians and the new American nation. He died suddenly on August 11, 1817. During this period of the war, Pickens would join Francis Marion and Thomas Sumter. Andrew Pickens, Jr. died near Tamassee in the Pendleton area and is buried in Clemson, SC.
An interesting post that goes along with this subject is one I did on Walnut Grove Plantation at:
I made this Beef Pot Pie today!
Beef Pot Pie
1 lb of sirloin steak, sliced into cubes
2 large green onions
1 stalk celery, washed and sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
Some fresh fingerling carrots, washed and sliced
1 can baby peas
1 can mixed vegetables
1 can cubed potatoes
1 can beef mushroom soup
1 can water
Salt & Pepper
I used the olive oil to saute the onion and celery. I added the sirloin steak cubes to brown them. When it was browned, I rinsed to get the extra oil off. I sprayed a casserole dish with Pam. Then I began throwing in the carrots, canned vegetables, soup and water. Last I added the beef mixture and salt & pepper. Now it's time to make the biscuit dough for the top:
2 cups self rising flour
1/4 cup oil
milk to make dough
Roll out the dough on floured surface. Make it big enough to fit the top of the casserole dish. Roll into a roll and transfer to the top of the casserole. Roll it on top. Poke some holes in the top.
Bake 350F for about 45 minutes.
I love the Odd Thomas novels by Dean Koontz. Odd Thomas is a young man who lives in small Pico Mundo. He grew up there and all of his friends are there. He is "Odd" because he sees ghosts. They can't talk to him but he can see them and he communicates with them without speech. He also has psychic magnetism where he can concentrate on someone and he will eventually be drawn to them. It's a lot like the TV show, "Ghost Whisperer". He solves murders and gets in pretty sticky situations. But he and his friends are wonderful people. In the last Odd Thomas book, his girlfriend, the love of his life, is killed and he almost has a nervous breakdown. So he decides he needs a vacation and the only place he can think of to go where there won't be ghosts calling on him is a monastery. He gets 6 months of good relaxation before he falls into another mystery at the monastery. He begins to see evil spirits around the monastery's school and dorms for handicapped children. He knows this means that something tragic is going to happen and he begins trying to find out what so that he can stop it. Then there is the monk who committed suicide and still haunts the bell tower where he hanged himself. And there is a strange monk who is also a scientist and he does experiments in his own laboratory under the monastery. So, Odd Thomas gets busy!
This series is great and I like most of Koontz's other books too. So I give it an A+!
I bought this nest and bird last year at the 2007 Charlotte, NC Spring Home and Garden Show. It sits beside my birdhouse in my living room builtins.
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