“Push Morgan to the Utmost”
When Cornwallis was informed of Washington’s return he ordered Tarleton to turn upon Morgan and push him to the utmost. Washington, in going back to the Grindal Shoals, passed near the camp of Pickens; Major McJunkin asked and obtained leave to stop there for a time. In a short time after his arrival there Pickens received intelligence of Tarleton’s intended movement against Morgan. He accordingly despatched McJunkin and James Park to carry a verbal message to Morgan. They mounted their horses about dark, swam Fairforest and Mill Creeks and Pacolet River and reached the army in safety. When carried to Morgan’s tent the message was delivered, and Morgan’s plans immediately formed.
The world knows the result, perhaps no battle which occurred in the War of the Revolution is better known in the country than that the Cowpens. Writer after writer has tried to describe it, speech after speech has been made to celebrate it. The writer of this narrative will not try his hand at it. He will simply make a few observations in regard to it. The direction from which Tarleton approached Morgan was from where Newberry Court House now is. The plan of Lord Conwallis was to move himself with the main army and place him self in the rear of Morgan’s position on the Pacolet River. Accordingly, a few days before the battle he put his army in motion with a view of being in the vicinity of King’s Mountain at the time of the attack on Morgan.
At the same time Gen. Leslie was directed to move from Camden up the Wateree toward Charlotte. The object of these movements was to cut off the retreat of Morgan and prevent his junction with Greene. His Lordship, however, halted on the west side of Turkey Creek and remained until after the battle. Why he did not execute his own part of his plan is a question. He tarried and ordered Leslie to join him, but why? He had a number of intelligent prisoners in his camp, among them Capt. Jamieson and Samuel McJunkin. They were of opinion that while Cornwallis lay at Hillhouses’s Old Field, where he continued about a week and where he was at the time of the battle, he was sadly under the influence of fear.
His dreams seemed to be about the recent tragedy at King’s Mountain, which had so completely broken up his schemes while in North Carolina. There were some exciting causes for this. The army under his immediate view was comparatively small. His most effective troops for such a region were with Tarleton. Those under Leslie were two days march to the eastward and exposed to the enterprises of Greene and Marion, men on whose drowsiness he had not the right to presume.