Battle of the Cowpens

Battle of the Cowpens

The guns of the videttes, led by Capt. Inman announce the approach of the foe, and soon the red coats stream before the eyes of the militia. A column marches up in front of Brandon’s men led by a gayly dressed officer on horseback. The word passes along the line, “Who can bring him down?” John Savage looked Col. Farr full in the face and read yes in his eye. He darted a few paces in front, laid his rifle against a sapling, a blue gas streamed above his head, the sharp crack of a rifle broke the solemn stillness of the occasion and a horse without a rider wheeled from the front of the advancing column. In a few moments the fire is general. The sharpshooters fall behind Pickens and presently his line yields. Then there is a charge of the dragoons even past the line of regulars after the retreating militia. Numbers are cut down.

Two dragoons assault a large rifleman, Joseph Hughes by name. His gun was empty, but with it he parries their blows and dodges round a tree, but they still persist. At the moment the assault on Hughes began John Savage was priming his rifle. Just as they pass the tree to strike Hughes he levels his gun and one of the dragoons tumbles from his horse pierced with a bullet. The next moment the rifle carried by Hughes, now literally hacked over, slips out of his hands and inflicts such a blow upon the other dragoon that he quits the contest and retires hanging by the mane of his horse.

Soon, however, the militia are relieved from the British dragoons by a charge of the American light horse. The British cavalry are borne from the field. Meanwhile the British infantry and the regulars under Col. Howard are hotly engaged; the fight becomes desperate. Howard orders a charge, the militia come back and fall in right and left. The British line is broken, some begin to call for quarters, the voice of Howard is heard amidst the rush of men and clangor of steel: “Throw downyour arms and you shall have good quarters.”