Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - 12

T H E G O O D WA L K

KEEPING HISTORY AND NATURE ALIVE

Cowpens National
Battlefield
The South Carolina site of the Revolutionary War battle makes for an easy and informative walk.
By LEONARD M. ADKINS | Photos by LEONARD M. & LAURIE ADKINS

S

everal months ago Laurie bought a National
Park Passport book at a Blue Ridge Parkway
visitor center. The idea is to get it stamped,
like a travel passport, after a visit to a national
park site. The thing is, Laurie is goal-oriented
and decided that she and I now need to visit
every one of the park service's 419 locations.
She stamped the page for the parkway and walked out
of the building declaring, "The quest is on!"

240
YEARS AGO

The observation of the 240th Anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens
is scheduled for January 16-17, 2021. Activities include living history
demonstrations, an encampment, weapons firings and lectures by
Revolutionary War historians. Information may be found at nps.
gov/cowp.

12

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

On a trip through South Carolina a week later, we
noticed that Cowpens National Battlefield is only a few
miles off I-85.
At the visitor center, park ranger William Caldwell
provided some background for us: "Brigadier General
Daniel Morgan's American forces met those of British
Lieutenant Colonel Banistre Tarleton's at Cowpens on
January 17, 1781. Morgan had wisely placed his forces in
an open woods bordered on both sides with canebrakes
(impenetrable rivercane thickets). He then split his men
into three lines. Each one in succession fired at the British, who were forced by the canebrakes to face this rifle
fire head on. Tarleton lost more than 800 killed, wounded or captured before he retreated.
"The battle lasted barely an hour, but it (along with
the Patriot victory at nearby Kings Mountains a few
months earlier) provided a morale boost for Americans
that led to the British defeat at Yorktown in November."
I imagined the sights and sounds we were experiencing on the Battlefield Trail were much the same in the
morning as those of the soldiers centuries ago. The air
was cool, birds were singing and dogs barked as roosters
crowed in the distance.
The trail follows a remaining portion of the Green


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Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020

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