Lest it be forgot, today is the 224 anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens during the American War of Independence. In a literaly ‘cow-pens’ in what is now northern Spartanburg County and near I-85, a group of American regulars, calvary and militia led by Col. Daniel Morgan routed a British loyalist and regular infantry and calvary detacment led by Col. Banastre Tarleton of the Green Dragoons.

The battle was dramatically retold in the recent Mel Gibson movie The Patriot in its climatic scene, was the end of any British attempt to control the Western Carolinas. Remarkable today that a group of militia stood rifle to rifle with British trained loyalists and regulars in the open field, the sudden defeat of the once invincible Tarleton gave the Americans every reason to believe that they had forced the British out of the lower South.

My wife and I visited the battlefield on the anniversary last year. I would highly reccommend a visit to all, especially as it makes a nice break for those travelling on I-85. It’s only 5 minutes off the interstate and a quick tour would take no more than 30 minutes.

While the war would last another ten months, the British military would only hold on to Charleston and Savannah until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783. All Americans owe a debt of gratitude to these patriots who fought on that cold, wet Southern field 224 years ago.