"The Brave Captain Kirkwood"
But, let's back up to get to the reason of this post. Today is the 17Th of January and in 1781 on this day backwoods militias and Continentals stood toe to toe with a well organized and disciplined British Legion and won. Lord Cornwallis had lost one of his flanking forces already at Kings Mountain and with Cowpens, he lost the other. Afterwards Cornwallis chased Nathanial Greene to his demise at Yorktown.
With Yorktown, the British were finally forced to admit defeat. It was something a long time coming. The Tories of New England seemed to only be with the King in spirit. The British openly talked of writing off those Colonies. The British had taken troops from where ever they could be spared and hired Germans soldiers to fight. Their Navy was stretched thin from Gilbatrar to Dominica and proving not up to the task. The French and Spanish smelled blood and were eager to help the United States. The Continental Army and Militias were becoming a more professional force and despite some humiliating defeats were managing to drain the British as they attempted to re colonize the South. It was too much for Britain. Something finally gave.
What was taking place in the backwoods of the Southern States was a brutal guerrilla warfare. South Carolina had around 800 different skirmishes. It was not pretty. Loyalists and Whigs fought bloody fights and left each others families hungry. Many of the men at Cowpens were the expendables. Young men without families to feed, widowers and the like. Many had had experience as Continental Soldiers and were serving a time in the Militia. The Continentals were far from their homes in Maryland and Delaware.
Maybe you've figured it out by now, but I went down to the Battlefield this last weekend and snapped a few pictures.
Captain Kirkwood was the Commander of the Delaware Company of Continentals. The Company was noted for their actions, as well as himself. Cpt. Kirkwood never rose further in rank and was never highly decorated. He was killed after the Revolution fighting Indians. From what I've read, he never asked for nothing.
I would say, the best book to read on the battle itself, is "A Devil Of Wipping"
Remember The Waxaws