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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

On the cold winter morning of 17 January 1781 in a backcountry South Carolina cow pasture, one of the most unexpected—and pivotal—battles of the American War for Independence occurred. In less than an hour of intense fighting, Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, in command of the American rebel forces, decisively trounced his opponent, British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. Known by military historians as the American Cannae, it was the only case of double envelopment in the war. Morgan, with a personal grudge to bear against the British, led a force of Continental soldiers, cavalry, and militia against one of the most feared commanders in the British Army. Morgan’s success was due in large part to his tactical expertise and personal leadership. As the British advanced, they discharged their cannon and raised three “Huizzas” to intimidate the rebels. Morgan rode through the militia lines, encouraging the men, “They give us the British halloo, boys, give them the Indian halloo, by G—.”

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