The Battle of Cowpens
Back when The Dane and I first moved to the Upstate, we decided to visit the Cowpens National Battlefield. There we met the most fascinating guide. He was more than just a park ranger. He was an historian who did a LOT of research. It was obvious that he was very passionate about his job and I counted us lucky to have him for our guide.
That particular day, there were men dressed in Revolutionary War Uniforms. They were scattered around the camp and were setting up for a reenactment in the days to come. As we walked by a particularly hardy group of young men, our guide stopped and pointed toward them. We watched for a moment. It was the first time that I’d noticed that these men were doing actual chores, such as setting up tents and something in a pot nearby was cooking. These men weren’t joking around, they were really “living on the ground” even if only for the upcoming weekend.
Our guide told us that these men represented the fighting Scots-Irish known as the Ulster Scots. He told us that these men had a reputation for being the fiercest fighters. That there were those in the British Army that sincerely feared them because the Ulster Scots fought for God and believed that with Him on their side they could not lose.
As The Dane and I continued our walk with our guide, we learned a number of other things, but my mind kept coming back to the Ulster Scots. As we walked around, I kept looking back at the group of men that were representing them and I kept thinking, those men believed they couldn’t lose because God was with them.
Since that day, I often think about the Ulster Scots. They fascinate me.
This July 4th weekend, The Dane and I went back to Cowpens. Again, I started thinking about the Ulster Scots. This time, I learned a little more:
The Ulster Scots had their highest concentrations in the Carolinas. They came to America as indentured servants to escape hardship in Ireland. After completing their contracts, they were forced to migrate all over the Southern Appalachians in search of land they could settle. Eventually, a good many of them settled at Watauga, later became the state of Tennessee, and formed the first independent government. In the battles of Cowpens and King’s Mountain, these men were vital. So much so that George Washington stated, “If defeated everywhere else, I will make my stand for liberty among the Scots-Irish of my native Virginia.”
For this July 4th holiday, I took a minute to thank the Ulster Scots for their contribution to our freedom.
On our refrigerator, The Dane has a magnet that states: What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? In the case of the Ulster Scots, they helped to give us freedom and founded a new country. On a deep and profound level, I wish I had that kind of intestinal fortitude.
Oh, and an interesting aside, South Carolina has some of the most unusually named town’s: Traveler’s Rest, Bee Tree, Nine Times, Bucklick, Hurl’s Rocks, Burns Down, Pacolet, Cat Hole, Spiderweb, Climax, Dog Bluff, Fair Play, Happy Bottom, No Man’s Land, Prosperity and yep, Cowpens. The town of Cowpens got its name from the battle which occurred in a field of cowpens originally called Hannah’s cowpens – at the time of the battle, this was a well-known field for grazing cattle.
Hope all of you are staying cool out there!